Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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CIOR/CIOMR/NRFC 2014 congress opening ceremony at Fulda’s Cathedral Square

In the afternoon of 4th August, 2014, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hesse’s Minister of State for Justice, NRFC chairman General Georges Lebel (France), CIOR president Commander Richard Roll (France), CIOMR president Colonel Olaf C.K.M. Penn (Netherlands), as well as General Peter Schelzig, Germany‘s Vice Chief of Defence opened the 67th CIOR / CIOMR / NRFC summer congress in Fulda, Germany.

Although this is a meeting of military personnel only, one can identify a truly colourful variety among attendees: some 500 participants from 34 partner countries show many different uniforms signalling not only their home country but also their military specialization. “I’m a veterinary,” says a British female reserve officer, “and this is what I do as a civilian, too. My colleagues here are with the artillery, intelligence, engineers, and the marines, too.” So each participant represents his or her civilian occupation as well. Readiness of reserve forces is achieved through education, training and exercises based on the military and civilian skills and abilities of all reservists. This will be a focal point of this year’s annual symposium with a view to exploring crisis management.
Besides CIOR’s regular reserve officers as well as CIOMR’s medical reserve officers, members of the National Reserve Forces charge of reserve affairs at the Military Committee of the Alliance also convened.
The congress, however, began at noon with a remembrance of the dead of world war one: a wreath laying ceremony at Fulda’s Central Cemetery by CIOR’s, CIOMR’s, and NRFC’s heads and an ecumenical service with 150 reserve officers besides regular church goers at Fulda Cathedral.
Later, in the afternoon, Cathedral Square witnessed an opening ceremony open to the general public: honour guards presented the participating nations flags, a German military band played military marches including the “CIOR March”, Minister of State Kühne-Hörmann, General Schelzig, and CIOR’s and CIOMR’s presidents as well as NRFC’s chairman welcomed the congress participants. Paraphrasing the 2006 World Cup Slogan General Schelzig remarked: “Die Welt ist zu Gast bei Kameraden – the world’s a guest for fellow soldiers.”
Taking place on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, the congress and its ceremonies are a powerful symbol of enduring peace in Europe and of strong friendship bonding erstwhile enemies today.
Finally, on the evening of 4th August, the congress participants gathered for a reception by the State of Hesse and the City of Fulda. Fulda’s Lord Mayor Gerhard Möller welcomed German and allied soldiers so well known to his city and the region: NATO military personnel had indeed been present in Hesse since the alliance’s foundation during the Cold War.

The German Armed Forces’ Reservists‘ Association (GAFRA) organized this year’s congress. This association advocates and preserves the free and democratic constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Germany. More than 115,000 reservists and our members continuously work on building a bridge between the Bundeswehr and German society – and they do so on a voluntary basis and by order of the Bundestag, the German parliament.

CIOR meets on an annual basis in the summer, alternating locations among member countries. Previous CIOR Summer Congresses took place in Brno, Czech Republic in 2013, in Copenhagen in 2012, and in Warsaw in 2011. This year’s congress takes place in Fulda, Germany, from 3rd/4th to 8th August, 2014. Next year’s edition of CIOR summer congress will take place in Washington D.C. (USA).

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers