Massey University lecturer and soldier Major Josh Wineera has been invited by the United States State Department to participate in a high-profile study programme examining US national security policy and current threats facing the United States.
Major Wineera was chosen by the United States Embassy in Wellington as the sole New Zealand nomination from a very competitive national pool. He went on to be selected by the State Department in Washington from a range of worldwide candidates whose areas of expertise included foreign affairs and international relations.
The intensive postgraduate level programme begins later this month in Amherst, Massachusetts, and brings together about 20 international participants. It includes study sessions at Harvard University as well as study tours to the University of California in San Diego and Washington D.C.
The six-week programme will examine such issues as energy policy, economic stability, cyber-security, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons and infectious diseases. The United States Government will meet all costs of the programme.
Major Wineera says he feels humbled to be representing New Zealand, the Defence Force, and Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies.
“This will be an excellent opportunity to deepen our understanding of the way the US formulates its national security policy,” he says. “I think this is especially relevant for us in New Zealand given the recent announcement by President Barack Obama that America will renew its focus in the Asia Pacific region.”
In addition to lecturing at Massey University, Major Wineera speaks to many Defence Force contingents preparing for overseas deployments, particularly to Afghanistan. His extensive operational experience includes missions to Bosnia, Bougainville, East Timor and more recently Iraq. He is also a member of the New Zealand forum of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific.
“2012 will be a big year for me,” Major Wineera says. “I start with this incredible invitation to deepen my understanding of US national security policy and it will continue as I embark on a PhD. By total coincidence my doctorate will examine New Zealand’s approach to international security and will compare it to other nations, including the US.”