At the invitation of Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), students of the “Diplomacy Today: Theory and Practice” course and academic assistants in the department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe visited Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons on Friday, 22 October 2010.
Arranged by Fulbright Professor Alan Henrikson in coordination with Colonel Kevin Rhoades at SHAPE, the meeting focused on “military diplomacy” in its various aspects and at different levels—strategic, operational, and tactical. Following opening comments by General Manfred Lange, Chief of Staff of SHAPE, LtCol Guenther Schellmann, Public Affairs Officer, presented an overview of SHAPE and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Relations between the European Union and NATO were discussed by Col Michael Kennedy, Chief of the EU Liaison Cell at SHAPE, followed by remarks by Major Tommaso Magistretti of the EU Staff Group J5-Plans and Policy. An international affairs overview, in question-and-answer format, was given by Rainer Sulzer, the International Affairs Advisor to SACEUR. LtCol Werner Racky, from the SHAPE Strategic Operations Centre, described operations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The role of the military attaché at a national embassy was described by Colonel Michael McLaughlin, Air Attaché at the Embassy of the United States of America in Brussels. All the speakers generously engaged in discussion with the College of Europe participants in the meeting, held in the Eisenhower Conference Centre at SHAPE.