Norwich Students Attend NATO Counterterrorism Training in Europe

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Logo of Norwich University Peace and War Center
Norwich University Office of Communications

February 12, 2016

Four Norwich undergraduates flew to Macedonia today to attend a week-long NATO-sponsored advanced training course on counterterrorism in southeastern Europe.

The symposium is co-lead by Norwich University’s Peace and War Center and the Macedonia Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski in Skopje.

The participating NU students were also named Spring 2016 Norwich University Peace and War Fellows. They are James Verderico ‘16, Olivia DeSpirito ‘16, Sam DeLong ‘16 and Kendall Manning ’17.

They will assist during the training course and document their experience on the Norwich University Facebook page.

“Their time abroad should prove to be a powerful experience,” said Travis Morris, PhD, an assistant professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Morris directs Norwich University’s new Peace and War Center (PAWC). He developed the grant awarded by NATO to PAWC to help craft the counterterrorism advanced training course.

“The training course … bring[s] together leading terrorism scholars and experts to strategize the best methods for countering the terrorists threat to the southeastern region and its neighboring NATO members,” Morris notes.

Southeast Europe comprises the NATO member countries Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, and Bulgaria, as well as the Partnership for Peace countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Morris is a former U.S. Army and police officer, who has lived and traveled in the Middle East extensively. His scholarship focuses in part, on radicalization and counterterrorism.

Norwich senior James Verderico is a Computer Security and Information Assurance major and member of the NU Corps of Cadets (NUCC) from Boston, Mass.

His classmate Sam DeLong is a NUCC Lieutenant Colonel and Criminal Justice major from Barnstable, Mass., who plans to attend law school after graduation.

Norwich junior Kendall Manning is a Construction Management major and a Staff Sergeant in the NU Corps of Cadets from Jacksonville, Fla.

Senior Olivia DeSpirito is a biology major with a focus on biological forensics and a Captain in the NU Corps of Cadets from East Greenwich, R.I.

The NATO advanced training course will provide in-depth analysis on how to prevent radicalization and offer best practices for building resilient southeastern Europe societies. The program also seeks to boost understanding and cooperation among NATO and Partner countries in the region.

The training is a joint effort by Norwich University and United States and the Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski in Skopje, Macedonia.

About Norwich University’s Peace and War Center

The Norwich University’s Peace and War Center (PAWC) advances scholarship and deliberation on warfare and its mitigation, processes, and conditions of peace. The center’s work emphasizes research and discussion on the precipitating factors and preconditions of war and peace. In order to understand the cycles of war and peace, it is critical to examine the role of culture and language, analyze the ideological roots of turmoil and stability, and the evolving role of technology. The Center is designed to be a multi and interdisciplinary mix of international scholars and practitioners.

About the Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski–Skopje

The Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski–Skopje is an associate member of the University Goce Delcev-Stip. It functions as a high educational and research institution in defense, military and military-technical sciences, crisis management, protection, and rescue. It also serves as a defense educational hub for the region; cadets from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo study alongside Macedonian Cadets. The Military Academy has seven accredited programs for graduate studies, three programs for postgraduate studies, and a PhD program. The Military Academy curriculum is designed to enable students and cadets to acquire skills, knowledge, and capacities necessary to professionally respond to modern security challenges.