The University of National Defense in Argentina has become the seventh military academy and 60th international institution to partner with the University of North Georgia.
Bonita Jacobs, the president of Georgia’s military college, signed an agreement with her counterpart, UNDEF’s Gonzalo Álvarez, during a ceremony Feb. 5 in Dahlonega.
The pact provides for student and cadet exchange, enabling the UNG Corps of Cadets to take classes at UNDEF on military education, leadership and other subjects. It also allows for opportunities in mountaineering and tactical training, according to a UNG news release.
The relationship has blossomed quickly: In December 2016 Georgia beat out other states to earn a congressional designation as a “State Partner” with Argentina. The program pairs a state’s National Guard branch with another country’s national military to further defense and security collaborations. (Georgia also won a partnership with the Republic of Georgia in 1994, one of 73 such ties so far).
The first UNDEF delegation visited the University of North Georgia in March 2017, laying the groundwork for the recent signing.
It comes at an opportune time for U.S.-Argentina relations. The U.S. this month announced that it would build a new military base in northern Argentina near its borders with Brazil and Paraguay, and Argentina said it would allow more U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel into the country to study the flow of narcotics.
Dr. Jacobs said the pact would help with cross-cultural understanding.
“The one thing our two institutions have in common is academic excellence with a strong focus on the military,” Dr. Jacobs said in the release. “It’s especially important for our military students to learn different languages and different cultures, because that’s the only way we can begin to understand each other.”
The University of North Georgia prides itself on such instruction, offering courses in a wide variety of languages including Spanish, as well as some languages deemed strategic by the U.S. military like Arabic, Korean, Chinese and Russian.
The signing was attended by administrators, faculty and Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard.