Kirsten Calmus, United States Military Academy, Class of 2018
Working at the CCOE in The Hague for the last three weeks has been an experience I will never forget. I was given the opportunity to learn about the importance of CIMIC on an international scale as well as explore The Netherlands. During the work day, two other cadets and I edited a short book on the development of the CCOE for the 10th Anniversary Celebration. This text allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of why CCOE is important and how past conflicts have caused the increased need for CIMIC throughout the world. Working at the CCOE also allowed me to interact with officers from other countries Military’s which was enlightening and educational to gain a better understanding of how their Army’s function and their differences from the U.S. Army.
Our time away from work gave us time to learn to about The Netherlands and experience some of the tourist experiences it has to offer. After work, the other cadets and I would take the bikes provided to us by the CCOE and ride to the city center of Delft, a nearby town. The bike system in The Netherlands was unlike anything I have seen in the United States. It seemed as though biking was the best and quickest way to get around because where there is a road, there is a bike path with less traffic. In the city center we would get dinner and check out surrounding shops.
After a week of working on editing the first couple chapters of the book, we went to Amsterdam for the weekend. We had the chance to rent bikes, visit the Anne Frank House and Van Gough museum, and go on a boat tour through the canals. The Anne Frank house was a very eye opening experience into the life that many had to endure throughout the war and the lengths that many families went to to survive. The tour through the house was a walking audio tour that guided you from room to room. While walking through the house filled with people, there were hardly any words spoken from anyone due to their fascination and respect for the stories being told on the tour. Even though the rest of our adventures did not have the impact that the Anne Frank house did, they were all fun and created memories that I will never forget.
The second work week, we had the opportunity to participate in IO/ NGO day which allowed International Organizations and Non-Government organizations to come to The CCOE and hear about the classes it can offer their organization and what its purpose it. Here we met with representatives from the German Red Cross and other organizations to hear about what they do and more about CIV-MIL Corporation. From the event we met a local representative of one of the NGOs who offered to take us to the windmills and explore more of the area that we would have trouble seeing without a car. This type of hospitality and kindness was offered by those who worked in the CCOE and those living in The Hague throughout our time here.
I am beyond thankful for my three weeks in The Hague and the opportunity to learn more about CIMIC and the CCOE. I will be able to apply what I have learned to my career in the military and hopefully educate others on these topics. I hope to one day return to the CCOE to develop CIMIC further while working with the welcoming personnel who reside here.
Cadet Hannah Keely from the United States Military Academy (USMA), at West Point, New York. Originally, I am from Ashburn Virginia, and am working to finish my degree in Human Geography. This summer, I had the pleasure of working at the Civil-Military Cooperation Center of Excellence (CCOE) in The Hague, The Netherlands for 3 weeks. The summer of 2017, USMA sent 3 cadets, along with myself, on this unforgettable internship, and I am so happy to have had this experience.
I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed “Holland”, the CCOE, the people that work there, and the hospitality they showed my colleagues and me. During the work week, the cadets and I edited a book that was to be published at the end of July. The book is an explanation of Civil-Military relations and the creation of the CCOE. By working on the book, I was able to grasp a greater knowledge of what civil-military relations are and their importance on the battle field.
We met many interesting people, both military and civilian, all of which welcomed us warmly. The CCOE is located between the cities of Delft and The Hague. Therefore, after work, my colleagues from West Point and I would bike to Delft or The Hague, both of which are around a 15 minute bike ride. There are many things to do in both of these cities. In Delft, there are many amazing restaurants, a market place, an old church with great views, and more! In The Hague, they have a beautiful beach, great shops, and good restaurants as well.
During our time at CCOE there was an International Organization (IO)/ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) day, where we met many different civilian NGOs, such as the German Red Cross. After meeting several fascinating people, one woman we were introduced to, offered to bring us to see a few giant windmills in the Netherlands. She also brought us to places were you can see the city of Rotterdam, The Hague, and Delft at the same time.
On the weekends, we were able to travel to wherever we could afford. Two weekends in a row, my colleagues and I went to Amsterdam, and on the last weekend, we flew to Munich (Germany). Amsterdam was incredibly eclectic, with years of history, and beautiful canals. We saw the Anne Frank house, the Van Gough Museum, took a tour of the canals, walked by the Red Light District, took a bike tour, and explored many different restaurants and snack stands. The Anne Frank house and Van Gough Museum were both indescribable, and I would suggest that anyone in Amsterdam attend these attractions. The tours were very fun and informative, plus the boat tour served burgers and pizza. Lastly, Amsterdam is known for its fries and pancakes, both of which are delicious, and I highly recommend trying them.
The last weekend we were here, the other cadets and I went to Munich. While in Munich, we were able to see many different sites, such as the Englischer Garten, St. Peter’s Church, Nymphenburg Palace, the German Museum, and the Dachau Concentration camp. All of these places were incredible, informative, and filled with history. One of the most interesting places we attended was the Dachau Concentration camp. In the United States, it is sometimes easy to forget the impact WWII had on Europe without the hard evidence in front of you. However, the Dachau camp made it very real, and it was an interesting and chilling experience. We had a great time becoming immersed in bavarian culture, and I recommend it to anyone traveling nearby Germany.
Interning with the CCOE was a life changing experience. The culture, history, food, and scenic views are enough to make me recommend this internship to anyone. However, what will truly stay with me are the friendships I made at the CCOE, and the relentless hospitality of the multinational personnel that was shown to my fellow cadets and me. In closing, I would like to thank the people at the CCOE, wish the CCOE a happy 10th anniversary, and aspire to someday return to the Netherlands and CCOE.
My name is Francis Williams III, and I am a fourth-year cadet at the United States Military Academy, majoring in Environmental Science. Though I serve in the US Army, I was born and raised in Boucherville, Québec. Prior to my time in West Point, NY, I served in the Virginia Army National Guard as a Bridge Crewmember, while attending the College of William & Mary for two and a half years, and majoring in Geology with a focus in Vertebrate Paleontology. After my time at the Academy, I hope to serve as a Combat Engineer officer, and then as a Foreign Area Officer later on in my career. I came to The Hague with three other cadets as a part of our Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD), which is a graduation requirement for all cadets. I spent the majority of my time at the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence (CCOE) working with the Public Affairs Office (PAO) on a book that will be published in conjunction with the 10th anniversary celebrations. In addition to the work done on the book, I had the opportunity to learn more about Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) through interactions I have had with members of the German, Dutch, and Polish militaries. While we spend time at the Academy discussing topics related to CIMIC, I have never been afforded the opportunity to deal with the subject in much detail. Additionally, the ability to interact with soldiers from other countries is extremely valuable. I find it is always interesting to see how different people can come together to solve problems.
During the weekends, I was able to venture outside of CCOE. The ability to use a bike easily, as well as the public transportation in the Netherlands made it easy to go to nearby Delft, or The Hague’s town center, or even Amsterdam. My three weeks here afforded me the opportunity to go to Amsterdam for the first weekend, the province of Zeeland during the second weekend, and then Geneva during last weekend. In Amsterdam, I enjoyed a typical tour of the major canals, tasted a variety of foods, learned from several museums, including the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum, and experienced some of Amsterdam’s nightlife. In Zeeland I gained an appreciation for the Netherlands’ maritime history, saw some beautiful small towns, and got to taste some of the region’s famous seafood. Finally, in Geneva, I was able to experience a part of Switzerland I had not been able to visit the last time I was there. I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Lac Léman, the UN Headquarters, the Red Cross Museum, as well as several other famous, and scenic, parts of the city. While my time at the CCOE was short, it is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and carry on as I move forward in my military career. I could have never expected that I would be able to experience so much in only three weeks. The professionalism and expertise of everyone I had the chance to work with was incredibly impressive as well.
I would like to thank Major Joel Radunzel (US Army) for the opportunity to attend this AIAD, Lieutenant Colonel Tilman Engel (German Army) for his guidance throughout this project, as well as Lieutenant Colonel André Werres (German Army), Captain Normen Schneider, Corporal Michael Rein (German Army), and Monica De Astis for their support throughout my stay in The Hague. » read more