From its establishment, NATO has played a significant role both in protecting the security of its members and keeping world peace. As long as NATO members believe in the significance of NATO for their defense and security, they will be eager to make it stronger. NATO should involve itself in activities that give it visibility among the people of NATO states. One way of achieving this is to turn NATO in an alliance that is close to people of NATO members by softening its image as an alliance acting on the decisions taken by heads of state.
To become closer to the people, NATO should launch a effective communication campaign. Issues such as the role of NATO in the creation of a secure world, the achievements of NATO and the changing role of NATO in the new global order should be covered and emphasized. The first step should aim to measure the current level of information and awareness of NATO matters in each NATO member state, as well as the perception of people about NATO. Therefore, the communication campaign can be designed in accordance with the different traits of each NATO member, identified within the scope of the first step. However, undeniable power of visual media should be mobilized to promote NATO in all contexts. Thanks to these communication campaigns, the level of information and awareness about NATO will increase among the people of NATO and they will start to think more about NATO affairs.
After the launch of these communication campaigns, NATO populations should be given the opportunity to influence decisions taken at the NATO level. For example, the secretary of NATO could be elected from candidates chosen with the involvement of the people. In addition, opinion polls and surveys may be carried out in defining the agenda of NATO summits.
The secretary of NATO should be chosen from among people who make clear contributions to world peace. The secretary of NATO should act more active in promoting NATO and the interests of its members in all kinds of platforms. The secretary of NATO should also make regular visits to each NATO members, these visits should be supported by spectacular events to catch the attention of many people and have a wide coverage in media.
NATO should turn into a frequently studied topic for the academics and students. Thanks to this, creation of a literature that will increase understanding on NATO and providing different policy options for the future path of the alliance. To that end, the centres for NATO studies could be established by NATO members. In addition, academics and students in their studies related to NATO should be supported via financial support mechanisms developed by NATO. The establishment of NATO studies programs in universities of member states may be another way of increasing the number of academics or students that have an interest in NATO related topics. NATO may also provide attractive internship and job opportunities for those studying NATO related projects.
NATO has become a significant tool of guaranteeing the security of people of NATO members from its establishment. It seems as if NATO will continue to play this role in the future. However, the distance between NATO and people of NATO members should diminish in order to create a NATO which firmly embraced by the people of NATO member states.
Seven Erdoğan currently works in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Turkey and is researching her PHD in the field of EU and International Relations in Ankara University in Turkey.