BUCHAREST, Romania (June 30, 2014) – An overhead image of Building Trust through Transparency: the Power of Soft Power shows panel participants in the Marble Hall of the Romanian Military’s Cercul Militar National June 25 during the Partnership for Peace Consortium’s 16th annual conference in Bucharest, Romania.  The theme of this year’s conference is The Future of Euro-Atlantic Security: Education and Power. In addition to being one of the organizations which participates in the consortium, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies also hosts the consortium operations staff and the consortium's administrative center. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith W. Dayton, director of the Marshall Center, serves as the chairman of the consortium’s governing structure, the Senior Advisory Committee. The annual conference hosted by the Romanian Ministry of Defense, ended June 26. (DOD photo/Robert Talenti/Released).

By Robert Talenti
GCMC Public Affairs

BUCHAREST, Romania (June 30, 2014) – The Partnership for Peace Consortium held its  16th annual conference here June 24 to 26 to discuss the changing security landscape and the role of education and soft power in  adapting and responding to such changes.

“The world, despite the relative peace of the past 25 years, is rapidly changing, the trend seems to be toward more violent means,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith W. Dayton, director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. “Security everywhere is being challenged, and Europe and Eurasia matter now more than ever… The ‘post cold war’ era is over, something new is being born, and we are part of it,” Dayton said.

The two-day event gathered nearly 100 participants, both scholars and security practitioners, from 25 countries in the Marble Hall of the Romanian Military’s National Military Circle building, the world’s second largest government building after the Pentagon.

Included were participants from: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This year’s conference theme was The Future of Euro-Atlantic Security: Education and Power. Addressed were issues such as Building Trust through Transparency: The Power of Soft Power, Capacity Building through Defense Education in Turbulent Times, Security Implications of New Technologies and Political Accountability and Security

“These issues assume added relevance at a time when NATO is looking at its role after Afghanistan and a newly assertive Russia on the Europe’s eastern flanks, coupled with major challenges such as immigration and illicit trafficking on its southern flank” said Dr. Raphael Perl, PfPC executive director and conference organizer. “The challenge we face is how to more effectively leverage power, and education can be a potent factor here.”

Romanian State Secretary of Defense for Policy and Planning Valeriu Nicut underscored the importance of the conference theme and the need for meaningful soft power responses through vehicles such as the PfPC. “The soft power dimension of the North Atlantic alliance of which you represent appears to now more useful and more necessary than ever. Both the consortium and Partnership for Peace have a central role.”

The PfPC’s annual Athena Award for the best article published in the preceding year in the Consortium’s journal Connections was presented toDr. Denis Alexeev and Dr. Teodor Lucian Moga, for their article Post-Soviet States Between Russia and the EU: Reviving Geopolitical Competition? A Dual Perspective” (see: http://connections-qj.org/). Dr. Alexeev is an Associate Professor at the State University in Saratov, Russia, and Dr. Moga is a lecturer at the University Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Iasi, Romania.

Insights gained from the conference will help the Consortium’s nine working groups better focus their activities especially in the area of curriculum development and add vitality to the teaching content of Consortium’s expanding Defense Education Enhancement Program.

The Partnership for Peace Consortium is a multi-national volunteer based network of institutes of higher learning in defense and security affairs linking more than 800 institutions in 59 countries. The Consortium operations staff is located at the George C Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. For more information, visit www.pfp-consortium.org