One hundred twenty-two military officers representing 93 nations will visit Topeka Thursday, July 21, for State Government Day. The officers are students at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth.
Each international officer class pays an annual visit to the state capital to learn about the organization and duties of the Kansas National Guard, the state’s legislative process and state judiciary system.
“These annual visits go a long way in giving these officers a better understanding of our way of life,” said Col. Nathan Drewry, director of operations, Joint Forces Headquarters, Kansas Air National Guard, “just as the relationships they foster at the Command and General Staff College help build international cooperation. Many of the officers who have attended the college have gone on to become leaders, ambassadors, chiefs of staff, and diplomats for their own nations.”
The officers will arrive at the Kansas Capitol at approximately 7:50 a.m., escorted by the Topeka Police Department motorcycle unit. They will be greeted by Drewry on the first-floor rotunda, where they will enjoy a catered breakfast.
At 9 a.m., the officers will convene in the House of Representatives Chamber where Drewry will present a brief overview on the history of the Kansas National Guard and its current structure. The officers will then hear from Jennifer Cook, deputy assistant secretary of State Business Services, Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.
Following the briefings the officers will be given a tour of the State Capitol building.
Governor Laura Kelly will read a proclamation and pose for a photo with officers at approximately 11:15 a.m. on the second-floor rotunda. *There will be a media opportunity with the International Officers after the photo with Governor Kelly.*
Following a catered lunch, the officers will receive a briefing from Representative Pat Proctor (R-District 41) on the state’s legislative process. Proctor is a retired U.S. Army colonel with service in Afghanistan and Iraq. There will be another short break at approximately 1:20 p.m., after which the officers will move to the Kansas Judicial Center to learn about the state’s judicial system from Judge Kathryn A. Gardner, Judge Amy Fellow Cline and Judge Lesley Ann Isherwood, and participate in a mock trial.
Nations represented include Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua-New Guinea, Philippines, Poland, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom
The tradition of International Officers attending the General Staff Officer College began in 1894. This year marks the 128th year International Officers have attended Fort Leavenworth.