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

The symposium is co-led 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 Norwich University’s Facebook page.

“Their time abroad should prove to be a powerful experience,” said Travis Morris, Ph.D., an assistant professor of criminal justice and Criminology.

Morris, who directs Norwich University’s new Peace and War Center, 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 partly on radicalization and counterterrorism.

Norwich senior James Verderico is a computer security and information assurance major and member of Norwich’s Corps of Cadets from Boston. He will work for the U.S. Defense Department in Washington, D.C., after graduation.

His classmate Sam DeLong is a Corps of Cadets lieutenant colonel and criminal justice major from Barnstable, Massachusetts, who plans to attend law school after graduation.

Norwich junior Kendall Manning is a construction management major and a Corps of Cadets staff sergeant from Jacksonville, Florida. Senior Olivia DeSpirito is a biology major with a focus on biological forensics and a Corps of Cadets captain from East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

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.

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