The 31st International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference (IMCCC) met in Berlin, Jan. 27-30, bringing together more than 100 senior military religious leaders from 35 countries. As the U.S. Army chief of chaplains, leading the world's largest Chaplain Corps, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Thomas Solhjem was a key participant in this year's conference, along with Sgt. Maj. Ralph Martinez, regimental sergeant major of the Army Chaplain Corps.
The IMCCC began meeting in 1990, in order to provide a forum for dialogue and discussion to enhance interoperability and foster cooperation and communication among national element chaplains during combined NATO operations. It later expanded its participation to include chiefs of chaplains outside NATO. This year's IMCCC was co-hosted by the German Military Chaplaincies and the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM).
The annual four-day conference provides an excellent opportunity for chaplains from different countries and religious backgrounds to share lessons learned in providing military religious support, and to develop mutual understanding, respect and friendship. The topic of this year's conference was "Comprehensive Approach -- Just War Tradition -- Just Peace Concept in Modern Times and Current Challenges for Military Chaplaincy."
"Whilst we come from different countries, military forces and religions, we are all united by the devotion we share to the service for our countries and our commitment to helping others," said Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, the Catholic bishop of the German armed forces. "We are deeply unified by our shared human connection of faith and yearning for peace."