On Oct. 4, the CGSC Foundation hosted the fifth annual “Celebration of International Friendship” to welcome and celebration the 2019 class of international military students at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City.
This was the fifth year of the event and as is typical, the highlight for everyone was the on-stage introductions of the 110 officers and spouses representing 87 countries by Jim Fain, director of the International Military Student Division of CGSC. The Grammy Award-winning Kansas City Chorale, led by director Charles Bruffy, provided the musical performance for the evening.
“The introductions and the musical performance are great ways to honor our international military students and make them feel welcome in the greater KC community,” said CGSC Foundation President/CEO Col. (Ret.) Doug Tystad. “We were pleased to be able to help put it all together and we hope their evening was memorable.”
The Foundation was the host and was assisted by planning partners from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of People to People and Operation International from the Leavenworth/Lansing (KS) Area Chamber of Commerce. Tystad opened the event with welcoming remarks, which were followed by the introductions by Fain. Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.) Randy Pace, president of the Kansas City Chapter of People to People, then provided welcoming remarks, followed by Maj. Gen. Douglas C. Crissman, director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center/Fort Leavenworth, who also delivered remarks during the event to welcome the officers and their families.
After a brief intermission, the Grammy Award-winning Kansas City Chorale, led by director Charles Bruffy, provided the musical performance for the evening, regaling the attendees with selections of music from around the world. In a bit of a surprise move, the Chorale also performed a special version of “Over the Rainbow” as a tribute to Foundation Chair Emeritus Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Miller and his wife Joan in recognition of their 50th wedding anniversary.
Since 1895, international military officers from around the world have come to Fort Leavenworth to study military art and science at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC).
“There is no other event like this where military officers from the U.S. and its allies from around the world come together to celebrate,” Tystad said. “This event offers the public a chance to meet and mingle some of these officers, both U.S. and international, and familiarize themselves with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, which is widely considered to be the intellectual center of the Army.”
A popular element of the event each year is the “red carpet” where the officers, their spouses, sponsors and friends always gather to get their photos taken. The Foundation provides the service and has uploaded all the photos to its Facebook page and online photo gallery. Links to all the photos on the Foundation’s Flickr site are below.
Watch the highlight video below or on the Foundation YouTube site.