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By James E. Brooks,
George C. Marshall Public Affairs

Trust, a better appreciation of international and interagency cooperation on security issues and a better understanding of security points of views of other nations are what alumni say about what they take with them after attending resident courses at the George C. Marshall European Center for Strategic Studies in Garmisch, Germany. 

The findings were part of a recent survey conducted by Dr. Eliza Markley of the Georgia Institute of Technology, conducted for the Marshall Center Alumni Programs.  The survey follows up on previous surveys done to measure the attitudes of alumni regarding their experiences here. 

“A survey was emailed to approximately 9000 alumni who attended a Marshall Center course since the center’s inception in 1994.  From those, 1120 responses were received.  The response rate was good and I think it gave researchers enough data to draw some reasonable conclusions,” said Marshall Center Alumni Affairs Director Dean Reed. 

According to Reed, the survey was important in understanding what participants take from their experiences here. 

“The results of the survey confirms what many already perceive: trust is the main component to sustain personal and professional networks formed here.  Alumni are more likely to use the Marshall Center alumni network and become an agent of change in their respective nations,” said Reed. 

The Marshall Center alumni network continues to grow with more than 11,000 alumni from 151 countries.  Reflecting the Center’s new transnational mission, seven new countries joined the network in 2015; Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Fiji Islands, Japan, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

In response to a request by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Partnership

Strategy and Stability Operations, the RAND Corporation completed a 2014 study of U.S. Department of Defense regional study centers to assess the centers’ missions and objectives, the contributions they make to DoD goals, and the ways in which the programs achieve their intent.  The report indicated regional study centers were achieving success through what they were doing but there wasn’t a way to collect relevant data for evaluation that could be used to improve center initiatives and the impacts on strategic objectives.

“One of the biggest challenges will always be finding the best way to measure and evaluate the outcomes what we do here at the George C. Marshall Center.  I think every official connected to the Marshall Center agrees we add great value to U.S. interests.  This survey provides an objective, quantifiable measurement of Marshall Center alumni attitudes which was a recommendation from the RAND study,” said Reed. 

“I think the survey results show that we’ve been very successful in creating a vibrant, active and relevant network of international professionals that is well suited to advance U.S. and German interests.” 

A copy of “The Impact Analysis of the Marshall Center Courses and Experience on Alumni Professional Development” survey can be found online here.