Military officers from over 90 countries visit Statehouse
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – More than 120 military officers from more than 90 nations toured the Statehouse on Thursday, receiving a tour of Kansas’ historic seat of government and a visit from Governor Laura Kelly.
Officers attend the year-long United States Army Command and General Staff College, based at Fort Leavenworth.
College officials said 122 military officers representing 93 nations were in attendance for the 61st annual Statehouse tour on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Amy Hill, director of state partnership with the Kansas National Guard, said military officers were “the cream of the crop” and were selected for the Command and Staff College by leaders of their respective countries.
The officers met for breakfast before meeting in the chambers of the Kansas House of Representatives.
The officers then toured the Statehouse before seeing Kelly sign a proclamation commemorating International Officers Day in Kansas on Thursday.
Officials said each class of international officers makes an annual visit to the Statehouse to learn about the organization and functions of the Kansas National Guard, the state’s legislative process and the Kansas judicial system. State.
“These annual visits go a long way in giving these officers a better understanding of our way of life, just as the relationships they have at the Command and Staff College help to strengthen international cooperation,” Col. Nathan Drewry, director of operations for the Kansas Air National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, “Many of the officers who attended college went on to become leaders, ambassadors, chiefs of staff and diplomats for their own country.”
Officers were expected to arrive at the Statehouse around 7:50 a.m. Thursday after being escorted by the Topeka Police Department’s motorcycle unit.
At 9 a.m., the officers gathered in the House of Representatives chamber, where Drewry presented a brief overview of the history of the Kansas National Guard and its current structure. Officers were scheduled to hear from Jennifer Cook, deputy assistant secretary for state business services in the office of the Kansas secretary of state.
After the briefings, the officers were given a tour of the State Capitol building.
After a catered lunch, the officers were to receive a briefing from State Representative Pat Proctor, R-Leavenworth, on the state’s legislative process.
Proctor is a retired US Army colonel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Officers were also scheduled to travel to the Kansas Judicial Center to learn about the state’s legal system from Judge Kathryn A. Gardner, Judge Amy Fellow Cline and Judge Lesley Ann Isherwood, and participate in a mock trial .
Among the military officers who were on hand for the Statehouse tour was Major Kostiantun Chursin, of the Ukrainian National Guard.
Attending the Command and General Staff College provided an opportunity to learn “best practices” and “techniques” that will come in handy as he continues to serve in the Ukrainian military, he said. -he declares.
“The situation in my country is unfortunately – I can’t use ‘unpleasant’ – it’s a very terrible situation,” Chursin said, referring to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. “But in this case, when I carry my flag on my shoulder, of my country, I am very honored. I am a representative of my great country.
Chursin said he appreciated the support he received from Kansas residents who told him of their support for Ukraine.
Although military officers come from a wide range of countries, they share some things in common, said Major Ian Van Dyke of the Canadian Army.
“The one thing we share in common, I think, is the motivation to be in the military — to improve the lives of our families and our children,” Van Dyke said. “It’s definitely a thing. Beneath the surface of politics or something, we’re all pretty much the same – people just trying to take care of our families and make the world, the future world, a better place for everyone.
The nations represented at the Statehouse on Thursday are: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt and El Salvador.
Also, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia , Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania and Mexico.
Other nations included Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Poland, the Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Senegal. , Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.
Officials said the tradition of international officers attending the General Staff Officers College began in 1894. This year marks the 128th year that international officers have attended Fort Leavenworth.
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