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Bethlehem, Pa., December 20, 2004–Dr. Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College, recently served as facilitator for a European security conference conducted by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense of Serbian and Montenegro. The conference, “Serbia and Montenegro National Security Review: Building Capabilities,” focused on the development of an effective national security establishment in Serbia and Montenegro. Participating in the conference were leaders of the Serbian Parliament, and ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance, and Interior.
The ambitious and sweeping agenda of the week-long conference, held in Belgrade, addressed key components of national security for Serbian government leaders: assessment of the current security environment, building national consensus on pressing security issues, roles and missions of security forces, design and establishment of a defense force, and equipping and training the armed forces.
In addition to his role as a conference facilitator and leader, Rokke delivered a major presentation on transformation, global trends, and leadership in the 21st century. Drawing from his extensive military, diplomatic, and academic experience, Rokke reviewed “revolutionary events” and global trends—economic, demographic, environmental, and technological—that had dramatically altered the nature of conflict in the 21st century.
Rokke outlined the necessary qualities of strategic national leadership in the face of global change. “If we are to achieve the necessary confidence, credibility, consensus, cohesion, and common good required for success, we will need leaders with a sense of vision who can communicate with and empower their peers and subordinates to respond quickly to a very unpredictable world,” he said. “In short, they must create openness and support for change.”
Rokke also emphasized the central role of enduring values—“moral and ethical compasses capable of guiding us”—for national security leaders. Reflecting on the breadth and durability of democratic values, he noted that “our values reflect a fascinating combination of backgrounds and beliefs; equally important, they have prevailed in the face of war and peace, economic prosperity and ideologies of both left and right.”
Rokke graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1962 and holds master's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University. His 35-year military career was distinguished by operational, diplomatic, and academic leadership positions in the United States and overseas. He retired at the rank of lieutenant general in 1997 while serving as President of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Chairman’s Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace.
The Marshall Center is an international educational institution that promotes dialogue and understanding among the nations of North America, Europe and Eurasia. The mission of the Marshall Center is to create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships, especially in the field of defense; promoting active, peaceful security cooperation; and enhancing enduring partnerships among the nations of North America, Europe and Eurasia.