Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Panel of experts


South African Navy (Ret)

​Rear Admiral Derek Christian, a qualified submariner, served in a variety of seagoing and shore-based posts in the South African Navy and broader South African National Defence Force throughout his 42 years of service, until his retirement in February 2017.

Some of his more senior appointments included being the Naval and Assistant Defence Attaché in Washington, DC, the Commandant of the Military Academy in Saldanha, and the Director of Naval Logistics at Navy Headquarters in Pretoria.  He was promoted to Rear Admiral in early 2016 and appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Joint Operations Division, and then as the Acting Chief of Joint Operations, until his retirement.

His qualifications include a B.Mil (B.Sc) from Stellenbosch University, an MBA from the University of Cape Town, and an MA (International Relations) from Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island.  He is also a graduate of the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

He was the recipient of several academic and service-oriented awards throughout his career.  Amongst others, these include the Military Merit Medal (MMM), the Legion of Merit Medal (US Navy), and the Tamandaré Medal of Merit (Brazilian Navy).

Bio and photo


Captain John M. Holmes, USCG (ret.)

Capt. Holmes is a Marine Consultant and port and maritime security specialist with 30 years of experience in positions that include a Chief Operating Officer, Fortune 500 executive, senior level Coast Guard officer.  His positions include serving as Deputy Executive Director for the Port of Los Angeles, where he was responsible for managing the day to day operations at the largest port in North America. Capt. Holmes retired from the United States Coast Guard in 2003 following 27 years of service in posts that included Captain of the Port for the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.  During his Coast Guard Career, Captain Holmes also served as Deputy Chief of the Office of Congressional Affairs, and as Committee Chairman at the International Maritime Organization in London.

Capt. Holmes has been an active consultant for the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.  He was a member of the National Academies Committee on Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (2010), The Committee on Performance Metrics for the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (2013) and the India – US Workshop on Science and technology for Countering Terrorism (2014).  He is currently a member of the International CBRN Resilience Exercise Planning Committee.

Captain Holmes is an expert in course development, course instruction and exercise planning, and is certified as an instructor by the Department of Defense and the Department of State, with over ten years' experience advising foreign governments on port, border and maritime security, and providing instruction to governments around the globe. He holds bachelor's degrees in English and Education from Boston College, in Boston, Massachusetts and a Master's Degree in business administration from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.  Captain Holmes is currently a co-principal investigator on a MacArthur Grant project titled “Bolstering Counter-Proliferation Efforts within the Gl​obal Supply System".

Bio and photo