What's a Defense Attaché? Webster Athens Students Learn from the Experts
April 19, 2018
Thanks to a new international relations course at Webster University Athens led by John M. Nomikos, students from four continents now know what the two words, "Defense Attache," literally mean.
The Athens campus initiated “The Defense Attaché Lecture Series” course in the History, International Relations & Political Science Department to provide students insight into high-ranking military experts’ world of diplomatic advisement and intelligence gathering.
But students came away surprised by how much they really learned about different countries and cultures, and how much more there is to experience in a global world.
Over the eight-week course, defense attaché’s from France, Germany, Poland, Israel, Italy, Romania, Russia, Serbia and the United States each delivered lectures, participated in discussions and answered students’ questions. The military attachés briefly touched on national security issues – without giving away vital security intelligence – presented in very unique styles reflecting the diversity of how each attaché gathered, analyzed and disseminated information.
It was an incredible mutual multi-cultural, multi-national experience for both the attachés and students, who hailed from Afghanistan, Congo, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Jordan, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Libya, Serbia, and the United States. The sharing of students' cultures and geopolitical strategies was also equally rewarding, as everyone engaged in open discussions and asking questions of the presenters.
Students were given the chance in class to act as ambassadors and represent their countries by providing enlightening information to their fellow classmates, and thereby building new bonds. This experience also helped build a high level of pride and satisfaction as they discovered new personal strengths.
With so many cultures and national strategies present, a few awkward moments were inevitable, but students smoothed away differences of opinion with wit and understanding. This course helped students maintain composure during uncomfortable moments as they learned to be attentive listeners before voicing their viewpoints.
And in the process, they gained a greater complexity of understanding the role of the Defense Attaché. Judging by many positive responses and applauses, the students knew the course had accomplished its goal—to do anything and everything to enhance their analytical thinking abilities and public speaking skills, a necessary attribute in forging alliances in the world of international relations.
As one student noted, "having the Defense Attaché as an international relations course was a great experience and raises the bar in my pursuit of an international relations degree.”