Shnorakalutyun — Thank you for that warm welcome.
First Deputy Minister Tonoyan, distinguished guests, and future military medical instructors, it is an honor to join you all here this afternoon to celebrate this milestone, the completion of this valuable training.
You have endured three months of challenging coursework, not only learning new medical techniques and procedures, but also learning how to teach these skills to future medics in the Armenian military. Your resilience, determination, and dedication to your military profession were displayed time and again, as you respectfully conducted these procedures, using them in progressively difficult conditions with full military gear, and at times, I hear, in temperatures in excess of 40 degrees. Sadly, these challenges will likely pale in comparison to those that you might face in actual combat situations, but that’s an indication of how much your job matters. You will save lives — because of you, more of your brothers and sisters in arms will return home from places where others fear to tread; dangerous places where you agree to go to in the name of peace.
As you know, the partnership between the American military and the Armenian Peacekeeping Brigade is a long and important one. In 2004, for the first time ever, a platoon of the Armenian Peacekeeping Brigade deployed as part of a NATO force to maintain stability and peace in Kosovo. Since that time, Armenia has deployed soldiers to support NATO peacekeeping operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In November of last year, Armenia sent troops to Lebanon as part of a UN International Peacekeeping Force. Today’s graduates will ensure more Armenian soldiers will safely return from such peacekeeping efforts. Please, join me in congratulating today’s graduates with a round of applause.
We must also thank Captain Chris Hudson and the outstanding professional non-commissioned officers of the United States Army, who organized and led this class. Not only did this teaching team train these future military medical instructors, but they also created this program. They facilitated the translation of U.S. Army medic manuals into Armenian, something that has never been done before by the U.S. military. As a result of this successful partnership, other nations are requesting the U.S. military conduct similar courses in their native languages. The strong American-Armenian partnership is once again demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together. I am very proud of the work that the U.S. instructors have done over the last three months, and I hope that everyone will join me in thanking the entire training team with a round of applause.
Today’s graduation is, indeed, just the latest illustration of a bilateral relationship that continues to strengthen and grow. This training is one more example of our nations’ mutual progress, our joint friendship, and our strong trust and belief in one another. I know our partnership will strengthen as we continue to face international challenges to security and stability that cannot be solved by any one country alone. The challenges of today’s world require strong international cooperation between like-minded countries and this ceremony is evidence that that U.S.-Armenian cooperation is alive and well.
Thank you and congratulations once again, graduates. Please stay safe.