The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense studies at the United States National Defense University in Washington, D.C. says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The University of West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) aimed at formalizing and strengthening the “growing relationship” between the institutions.
Perry Center Director Mark Wilkins and UWI Professor Andy Knight signed on behalf Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Clement K. Sankat.
“This MOU aims to promote the continuing discussion and seek opportunities for academic cooperation between the Perry Center and The UWI,” said the Perry Center in a statement.
It said areas to be considered include the exchange of academic materials, visiting scholar exchanges, joint research and publications and the co-sponsoring of academic events.
“This future collaboration serves to further The UWI’s mission of advancing education and creating knowledge among its community, as well as supports the Perry Center’s vision of building strong, sustainable networks of security and defense leaders and institutions across the Americas,” the Perry Center said.
The Perry Center said it signed the MOU with UTT during an alumni event coordinated with the Trinidad and Tobago Alumni Association.
Perry Center Director Mark Wilkins and University President Professor Dyer Narinesingh signed the MOU, “signaling a shared commitment to the growing relationship between the two institutions,” the Perry Center said.
Professor Narinesingh addressed the gathering and spoke of UTT’s commitment to blended learning models that utilize online learning approaches, “which complement and enhance traditional classroom time.”
“This MOU provides a formal mechanism by which to pursue areas of academic cooperation between the Perry Center and UTT, utilizing these blended learning tools,” the Perry Center said.
“Future collaborations between the two institutions will serve to support UTT’s educational strategy and enhancement of academic knowledge, as well as the Perry Center’s vision of building strong, sustainable networks of security and defense leaders and institutions across the Americas,” it added.
The Perry Center said it is a U.S. Department of Defense institution for defense and security studies in the Western Hemisphere.
Through courses, seminars, outreach, strategic dialogue, and focused research in support of policy objectives, the Perry Center said it works with senior civilian and military officials from the Americas to build strong, sustainable networks of security and defense leaders and institutions.
In so doing, the Perry Center said it promotes greater understanding of U.S. policy, mutually supportive approaches to security challenges, and improved, sustainable institutional capacity.
The William J. Perry Center, originally known as the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS), was born out of the first Defense Ministerial of the Americas (DMA) in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1995, a conference established by then-US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry to convene defense ministers from around the hemisphere to discuss shared defense and security issues.
At the inaugural assembly, the Perry Center said participating officials expressed two concerns: the need to strengthen ties between civilian and military officials in hemispheric defense ministries and the need to increase the number of qualified civilian professionals trained to deal with defense issues.