Please see the following update from Air Commodore Steve Kilvington, UK NMR.
AUTUMN TERM UPDATE 30 September 2022
I’m delighted to have taken over the role of UK National Military Representative (NMR) having arrived over the summer with my family. As you will all know only too well, it’s taken a few weeks to settle ourselves in, not least getting our two children into schools, clubs and a new way of life. In that time, I’ve been impressed by the huge array of activity that the UK Community at SHAPE is involved in. From helping to pull together large events such as SHAPE Fest to contributing to the myriad smaller activities that support daily life here, it is obvious that the British contribution is significant, valuable and appreciated.
So, I would like to start by thanking you for those efforts. Almost 200 people from the UK community were directly involved in putting together our contribution to SHAPE Fest. Whether making plans for each stall, setting up the site or serving our visitors on the day, each input was outstanding and allowed us to showcase some of our national culture. Numerous international guests I spoke with commented on how great the UK set-up was and how welcoming we were – the crowds reinforced this and we were certainly still busy serving at 10pm! I hope you all had the chance to explore the wider event and to experience the fantastic sights, smells and sounds coming from other National stands. Thanks also to everyone involved in the range of other activities at SHAPE; whether delivering welfare support, working at the school, running youth groups or delivering other vital work – your contribution to the fabric of our community is critical in helping to sustain life at SHAPE. Having said that, I do also know that life here is not without challenges and so will take this opportunity to assure you that I am working closely with the team to tackle, highlight and elevate key issues. I will keep you informed of how we are progressing.
In our core business, the main effort of delivering NATO output continues apace with UK personnel engaged across Alliance activity. The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine will continue to focus attention in the coming months, paralleling the broad modernisation and transformation work that many of you are involved in. During my initial office calls across the Headquarters, it was clear that UK personnel are held in high regard – time and again, the intellectual rigour, impressive work ethic and great humour that you bring to your work was highlighted and this is something to be rightfully proud of.
Finally, a word on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In what was a historic and sad moment for our nation there was perhaps a risk that we might have felt distant from events by being overseas. But many of you I spoke to felt a closeness through the bond of friendships out here and through the tremendous response we saw from the International Community. As I said at our Commemoration event, I was moved and humbled by the number of messages, letters and cards we received from Allies, all with personal reflections about our late Monarch’s incredible life. Whatever your perspective, I hope you found time to reflect on what the Queen meant to you and for you to get a sense of what she meant to others. For me, it seems clear that her enormous contribution to the world was truly unique and that her constant presence on the international stage will be sorely missed.
As we head into the Autumn, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible, to understand more about the work you do, and to support your efforts in the wider community. It’s great to be here.
Air Commodore Steve Kilvington, UK NMR