Each year, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions advancing mutually supportive approaches to security and fostering transparent and capable defense and security governance institutions. On September 22, Daniel P. Erikson, U.S. deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere, and U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Andrew A. Croft, military deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command, welcomed and honored the recipients of the institution’s Awards for Excellence in Security and Defense Education in Washington, D.C.
The honorees were Ecuadorian Army General (ret.) Raúl Oswaldo Jarrín Román, former Ecuadorian Defense Minister, Commodore Errington Ricardo Shurland, chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, and the National Defense College of Honduras, represented by Honduran Army Colonel Sergio Portillo.
“On July 24, 1995, defense ministers from across the hemisphere met for the very first conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas… Much has changed since then… In this age of crosscutting multi-domain threats, environmental hazards, the principles that those delegates signed years ago are as important as ever. We must renew our commitment to democracy; our belief in military and security forces play a critical role,” said Gen. Croft during his keynote remarks.
Named after the Center’s founder, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. William J. Perry, the Perry Award is presented to individuals and institutions that have made significant and sustained contributions in the fields of security and defense education. From the many nominations received, awardees are selected for achievements in promoting education, research, and knowledge sharing on defense and security issues in the Western Hemisphere. Awardees’ contributions to their respective fields further democratic security and defense in the Americas and, in so doing, embody the Center’s highest ideals and the Perry Award’s values.
During the ceremony, Dr. Paul Angelo, Director of the Perry Center, shared congratulatory notes from former Secretary of Defense Dr. William J. Perry. Dr. Perry applauded Gen. (Ret.) Jarrín Román and Commodore Shurland for their “commitment to the vision of preparing the next generation to achieve the goals of peace, prosperity, and cooperation that we in this hemisphere hold dear.” And to the National Defense College of Honduras, Dr. Perry conveyed his “sincere congratulations to the entire community — faculty, staff and students. It is institutions such as yours that will carry our work and aspirations forward into the future — long past the life of any individual.”
Former Ecuadorian Defense Minister Gen. Jarrín Román recognized the Perry Center as an institution that helps to promote democratic development in the region. “In these first 25 years, I believe that it is the most honest and most beneficial thing for society to continue celebrating and promoting the work of organizations as grand as the Center,” Gen. Jarrín Román said, alluding to the institution’s 25th anniversary, celebrated this year.
A hemispheric leader in defense governance
Currently, the Perry Center partners with 38 regional institutes, covering North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, as well as Spain with more than 20 formal cooperation agreements. Since the Perry Center’s creation in 1997, the institution has engaged more than 30,000 participants in more than 1,700 forums. All Perry Center programs support strategic imperatives set by the Office of the Secretary of Defense — such as combating transnational threats, advancing cybersecurity policy, and supporting human rights and the rule of law — and respond to the evolving needs of civilian and military professionals from security and defense sectors.
“The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defence Studies is a fine establishment and one which makes me proud to be associated with having first attended the Defense Planning or Resource Management Forum in 2003 and participated thereafter in several conferences and seminars… I look forward to continued relationship-building with the United States and all of our partners, and the tremendous advances we can make in addressing the security challenges of the region. It is an honor to receive the William Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education,” concluded Commodore Shurland.