A new school year has begun at the Command and General Staff College on Fort Leavenworth.

Representatives of 87 nations posted their national colors during the International Flag Ceremony on Monday morning in the Eisenhower Auditorium, marking the official start of the 2019 academic year at the CGSC.

The international class includes 110 students, most of whom were in attendance Monday morning, along with their international families and local sponsors.

“This is always a big deal,” said Harry Sarles, Army University public affairs officer. “This is always the official start of the new year.”

Sarles said many of the students have been in Leavenworth for weeks preparing for the start of the 10-month training program.

“Together they will study alongside our officers, build relationships that will last longer than this brief time together and advance together our shared interests,” said Brig. Gen Scott Efflandt, deputy commandant of the CGSC in his opening remarks. “And it is partly through the relationships forged this year that we will contribute to a shared responsibility.”

Efflandt thanked sponsors of the international students.

“Over the past 60 years, Fort Leavenworth and our partners in the Leavenworth, Lansing and greater Kansas City metropolitan area have shown the world the very best of America through their committed friendship and service,” he said. “The impact of their efforts is real and lasting and this is understood and greatly appreciated by all.”

This year’s international class includes the first officer from Timor-Leste to attend the course. Known as East Timor, the country is located on the eastern half of the island of Timor north of Australia.

International military education at Fort Leavenworth began in 1894. More than 8,000 military students from 165 countries have attended classes at the CGSC.

This year’s class of international students will join U.S. military students from all branches, including 775 Army, 38 Army National Guard, 38 Army Reserve, 79 Air Force, 27 Navy, 25 Marines and one Coast Guard. There are also 26 senior civilian employees and other U.S. government agencies attending the CGSC.