With more than 25 years of educating, empowering, and connecting security practitioners around the world, we’re now seeing participants whose parents or even grandparents attended a course at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Claret Chongum recently graduated from the Comprehensive Security Cooperation (CSC) course 23-2 on June 29. Hailing from the Marshall Islands, she works as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her grandmother, Rosalie Konou, is also an alumna of the Center, having graduated from the Advanced Security Cooperation course in 2014.

Claret’s grandmother attended the course when Claret was in high school. When she was invited to participate in a course at the same institution, she was thrilled to share the news with her retired grandmother, the first female lawyer in the Marshall Islands. “She was so excited,” said Claret.

“She couldn’t stop talking about her experiences and the friends she made from other countries.”

When Claret took the course, she and her grandmother spoke every night, discussing lectures, activities, and critical issues affecting their homeland, such as climate change and illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. Claret shared what she was learning from Fellows from various countries like Palau, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Mongolia. Her grandmother helped to focus her Fellows’ Project. Her project aims to enhance the exit strategy for Marshall Islands nationals living in Taiwan in the event of an armed conflict.

Claret’s grandmother remained in touch with her friends from the Center even after almost a decade, and Claret plans to do the same. She feels grateful for the shared experience with her grandmother and values the friendships and knowledge gained during the course. For Claret, the connections made during this 5-week experience have enriched her life.

Said Claret, “[From this course] I feel fortunate to now have more friends, an even greater network, and even greater knowledge on very important and relevant issues.