As we begin moving into 2019, we are looking forward to a great year ahead. Much of 2018 has been an internal development period for us and one where we spent time researching, analyzing, discussing, and verifying our assumptions with regards to our portfolio. We’re happy to say that all the work behind the scenes has not only validated our assumptions but now allows us to move swiftly ahead and make great strides in 2019. We are truly excited about what we will be launching this year and the impact we will make.
First, let’s recap what the highlights of 2018 real quick. As we designed our engagement portfolio in 2018 we diversified into four distinct yet complementary areas.
In terms of our educational portfolio, we have continued to build out and expand our NATO focused and mission-oriented study abroad program and have continued to build our international network with support from NATO School Oberammergau, various COE’s and unique international organizations which have provided us with preliminary support and unique access to educational opportunities.
Complementary and yet distinctly different from our formal educational program support is providing university students with the opportunity to attend an experiential learning program. Through 2018, this concept was further refined and solidified and we have identified at least 20 opportunities for university students to study post-conflict and international studies.
CBI supported the Commons Observatory in the deployment of new technologies for a counter UAV detection capability. We provided operations and governance support to this program as well as participated as a consortium in the NATO Innovation Hub Challenge for 2018/2. This program will continue into 2019 and will not only validate the use of the system, but has a dual use application in terms of capacity building, citizen science, and data science.
While looking inwards for most of 2018, we did work with local partners in Kosovo to develop strategies, provide assessment, analysis, and organizational development expertise. This included working with local non-profits with regards to engagement strategy and stakeholder management, assessing public safety and security programs, as well as reviewing data science capacities in Kosovo.
In 2019, we see that our time invested in internal development, discussions, and outreach will have led to major developments this year. A core issue for our team is not the lack of opportunities, but what can we do in terms of how best to invest our time and efforts. In the last 20 years of capacity building, we have learned that a focused effort is far better than random acts of development and investment. Creating sustainable change is something that we are passionate about and one of the many reasons we are excited for the year to come.