Newport, RI - U.S. Naval War College (NWC) held its 20th Regional Alumni Symposium (RAS) at the Chilean Academia de Guerra Naval, in Viña del Mar, Chile, April 17-19.
The event was co-sponsored by the Armada de Chile and involved nearly 100 participants representing 19 nations, including 14 flag officers and four heads of navies, coast guards or other national services. It was also the first RAS to be held outside the United States since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Together we have created a network of trust, friendship, and an international interconnectivity,” said Capt. Sergio Gómez, director, Academia de Guerra Naval. “We are closely united by common values and principles, and the firm belief, as stated by the former Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Arleigh Burke, who said, ‘Most important among navies or among nations is friends.’”
The RAS began with keynote addresses by Ambassador to the Republic of Chile, Bernadette M. Meehan and Commander in Chief of the Armada de Chile, Admiral Juan Andrés De la Maza.
“The strong network that links all of you alumni has impressive reach, spanning the entire globe,” said Meehan. “It continues to make connections between talented and intelligent naval officers and civilians from scores of countries who might otherwise have never met each other or had the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences, and potential solutions to the challenges – and opportunities – facing us all.”
During the three-day event, attendees viewed presentations by NWC alumni, faculty, and other subject matter experts, including Rear Adm. James A. Aiken, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command.
Following these presentations, NWC alumni participated in panel discussions on important regional issues, including trans-national crime, maritime security and humanitarian aid and disaster relief. The panels facilitated an exchange of diverse perspectives toward achieving common goals shared between regional partners.
Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, president, NWC, urged attendees to reconnect with former classmates and stay connected in support of enduring relationships and effective cooperation between regional naval forces.
“Please take this chance to catch up on what has been going on with your former classmates,” Chatfield said. “And consider how we can help each other meet the challenges of the future.”
Chatfield also explained why maintaining this kind of collaborative discourse between alumni and partners is so important.
"We all share an interest in promoting security, stability and prosperity in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, so we may address the dynamic, complex challenges across the region.”
NWC RAS are events co-hosted by the President of the NWC and a regional partner navy. Participation is open to all international and U.S. graduates of the college. These academic conferences reinforce that military education continues long after graduating, as a lifelong endeavor to acquire knowledge about the profession of arms.
NWC delivers excellence in education, research, and outreach, informing today’s decision-makers and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The college provides educational experiences and learning opportunities that develop students’ ability to anticipate and prepare strategically for the future, strengthen the foundations of peace, and create a decisive warfighting advantage.