The Berlin based Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF) runs the first training course under the German Presidency by conducting the second virtual Pre-Deployment Training (PDT)This PDT course conducted by the ESDC in cooperation with the German Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF) was the second PDT course run in a virtual format. It had 47 participants – including 11 military officers, 23 police officers and 13 civilian experts – from 17 EU Member States deployed in 10 CSDP missions and operations and was the largest PDT course conducted so far under the ESDC. In order to adapt the programme to the new format the course was extended from 4 to 7 days, the sequence was reshuffled, some more AKUs (Autonomous Knowledge Units) were added and the course structure on the ILIAS learning platform was reorganised. Taking into account the lessons learnt from the first virtual PDT course in June, further fine tuning was made to the programme by adding more live sessions and longer panel discussions. Despite a number of technical challenges to be overcome and the lack of direct contact between participants and lecturers, the PDT course turned out to be highly successful. However, the essence of the ESDC PDT course is that future mission/operation staff meet the subject-matter experts responsible for planning and managing the CSDP missions and operations and their respective mission/operation Points of Contact (PoCs). Furthermore, the course offers a unique opportunity to participants to network and to meet future fellow colleagues in the Brussels HQ environment, thereby contributing to the creation of an esprit de corps before deploying to the field. These characteristics make the ESDC PDT course unequalled in its genre and provide additional value added in comparison with pre-deployment training courses offered at national level. However, these stand-alone attributes cannot be maintained in a distance learning format. Therefore, virtual PDT courses will remain an emergency response measure for times of crisis. On those terms, in order to process the large number of applications, ESDC agreed to a special request by the CPCC COS to run an extra virtual PDT course in addition to the usual nine annual iterations. This extraordinary iteration will be conducted from 31 August to 4 September 2020 in cooperation with CPCC.
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