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Participants in this year's Seminar on Regional Security from Albania, Lithuania, Turkey and Macedonia participate in the hands-on, crisis management exercise based on an artificial scenario Feb. 12 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. (DOD Photo by Karlheinz Wedhorn/RELEASED)

By Christine June
GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – About 90 percent of the graduates from this year’s Seminar on Regional Security at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies would “strongly recommend” it to future participants, said the course’s director.

“I think this is a very good statement concerning not only how this course was perceived by our participants, but also that this concept of the course is really working,” said German Air Force Col. Heinz-Joachim Henseler, who added this percentage was collected from an internal questionnaire.

The seminar’s concept is to study and compare the conflicts and subsequent international crisis management conducted in the Western Balkans and Southern Caucasus to find general patterns that can be applied in the future, anywhere in the world.

Spotlighting the German-American partnership of the center, the seminar was the first with German leadership. The Seminar on Regional Security is a new course for the Marshall Center, debuting last year.

Focused on solving international crises, the 45 participants from 29 countries used the “comprehensive approach” during course, which started Jan. 27 and ended Feb. 14.

Participants were mid-level military and civilian professionals, and about 60 percent of them were from the region and surrounding areas.

“That was key in this seminar to have people who are in those areas benefiting or maybe suffering from external help, telling us very openly how those regions perceive international crisis management,” said Henseler, who added that it was also important to have 40 percent of the class coming from elsewhere, like Australia, Bahamas, South Korea and other areas of responsibility covered by the center.

“This mixture led to excellent results and remarkable engagement by all the students,” Henseler said, “We had a very harmonious group with very good spirit, high motivation, eagerness and openness, which lead to ideas on how to do crisis management.”

Over the course of three weeks, participants analyzed the efforts of major international organizations and regional actors like the United Nations, European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, and Russia in the two above mentioned regional crises. Henseler said the participants’ efforts led to generalized conclusions concerning the capabilities and limitations of those organizations in supporting regional security.

Tangible results were identified, said Henseler, from the comparative assessment of the two conflict areas by using comparative case studies based on these considerations: self-determination versus territorial integrity; external intervention versus local ownership; and, reconciliation versus divided societies.

“The intention was not to criticize international organizations or regional actors, but to provide food for thought for those involved in future regional crisis management initiatives and planning,” Henseler said.