UPDATE: The competition has now concluded. Check out the winners' presentations and feedback from US Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Stefanie Babst, and other decision makers!
Atlantic-community.org invites students and young professionals to contribute their policy ideas on key issues of the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago in our new policy workshop, “Your Ideas, Your NATO”. We want to feature ideas from young people in all NATO Member and Partner countries on how the Alliance can build a sense of community, reach out to new partners in North Africa and the Middle East, and encourage participation in NATO’s Smart Defense initiative. Tell us what you’re looking for from “your NATO” and have a chance to discuss your ideas directly with decision makers, including US Ambassador Philip Murphy and a NATO representative, during the May 21 summit!
Our competition has two components: an op-ed article, where you propose your ideas in one of the three topic areas, and an online debate among the shortlisted entries, where you will work with your peers from throughout NATO Member and Partner countries to jointly develop a memorandum for policy makers. This means you’ll be actively involved in working with people from other countries to debate, compromise, and arrive at joint recommendations. As part of the next generation of decision makers, you’ll be asked to both defend your own position and arrive at a workable consensus, just like the real policy-making process.
We're open to new ideas and new perspectives. You don't have to be an expert on NATO or international security; you just need to have some good foreign policy ideas and be able to support your arguments. And when you register with atlantic-community.org, we'll help you get started with background resources, opportunities to ask questions of NATO officials, and other useful information.
All high quality submissions that meet the criteria will be published in the Your Opinion section on atlantic-community.org.
15 articles, 5 in each category, will be shortlisted and their authors invited to take part in the online debate portion of the competition. From these 15 finalists:
Three winners, one in each category, will receive a cash prize of 500 EUR each, as well as a round trip flight and four nights’ accommodation in Berlin, Germany to attend the May 21 award ceremony, where they will present their policy memos. See video of our last event, where winners of the "Ideas with Impact" competition presented their recommendations to US Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy and CDU/CSU Foreign Policy Spokesman Philipp Missfelder.
Three runners-up, one in each category, will receive a cash prize of 250 EUR each.
How to Participate
1. Register Now!
Become a member of atlantic-community.org by registering here: http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/users/register Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive continuous updates about the competition, including information resources, jury selection, policy makers appearing at the event, and the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with NATO officials before submitting your policy ideas!
2. Submit an Article
Write a 600-800 word op-ed style article addressing one of the three questions listed below. The article must be written in English and contain clear policy recommendations relating to the chosen topic. It should clearly explain your policy ideas, outline why your recommendations are useful or better than current approaches, and describe how your recommendations could be effectively implemented. It should be free of technical jargon and be accessible and understandable to a general audience.
All articles must be the sole original work of the participant. Jointly authored articles cannot be accepted.
All articles will be judged on the quality of the ideas and the construction of arguments, not on the opinions expressed. Your article will also be edited for grammar and consistency by a native English speaker. We strongly encourage anyone with interesting policy ideas to participate, even if you have little experience writing in English. See our article How to Write an Op-Ed for further suggestions and guidelines.
Please include: (1) a professional-looking, high-quality picture of yourself in your Atlantic Community profile and (2) a short author byline (1-2 sentences) at the end of the article
Please note that each category has a different deadline for submission. See below.
Submit your article through atlantic-community.org by logging in and clicking the “Submit Article” button on the front page or following this link: http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/articles/add
If you encounter technical difficulties with your submission or have any other questions regarding the competition, please contact Jason Naselli, Managing Editor, at "naselli(at)atlantic-community.org"
If you've previously registered but have forgotten your password, click here.
3. Be Part of the Online Debate
In each category, five articles will be shortlisted and put up for discussion in the Open Think Tank at atlantic-community.org. During the week, the five shortlisted authors will be invited to make constructive comments and criticisms of each other’s articles and defend their own arguments. The shortlisted authors will then come together in an online workshop to construct a joint policy paper, the Atlantic Memo, out of the best ideas, with moderating and assistance from the Atlantic Community editorial team.
Our expert jury of academics and think tankers will then judge the five shortlisted articles, with their assessment counting for 2/3 of the final tally. The other 1/3 will be based on the authors' online collaboration. The jury includes Prof. Colette Mazzucelli from New York University, Dr. Christian Mölling from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Mr. Giuseppe Belardetti from the Atlantic Treaty Association, and Dr. Jorge Benitez from the Atlantic Council (USA).
Category 1: Values and Community
NATO's New Strategic Concept "reconfirms the bond between our nations," not only as a group of nations committed to collective security, but as "a unique community of values, committed to individual liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law." Yet while the Alliance is functioning and the values which bind it are fundamental to each of its members, NATO is too often seen by the people of its member nations as "they" rather than "we." Many Americans tend to think of NATO as a primarily European organization, decreasingly relevant to American interests, while many Europeans view NATO as an embodiment of American presence in Europe, rather than a true alliance.
Question: How can NATO encourage ownership and identification among its member nations and their publics? How can it turn “they” into “we”?
Category 2: Partnerships after the Arab Spring
NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue aims to contribute to regional security and stability, achieve better mutual understanding, and dispel misconceptions. In 2011, unprecedented changes occurred in the Middle East with people demanding better living conditions, the protection of human rights, and more accountable and democratic governments. The Arab public awakening has demonstrated that the political landscape in the Mediterranean and the Middle East is fundamentally changing with new electoral processes in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The crisis that erupted in Libya in early 2011, at NATO's door step, is just one example of how the security of NATO countries and the security of the Mediterranean and the Middle East are so closely linked.
Question: How should NATO support the long-term transition process underway in regional partner countries and how should NATO work in these changed environments in order to further the goal of regional security and stability?
Category 3: Smart Defense
In February 2011, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen introduced the concept of Smart Defense - "ensuring greater security, for less money, by working together with more flexibility." To accomplish this, he said NATO "must prioritize... must specialize... and must seek multinational solutions." However, the European Union, much of its membership overlapping with that of NATO, has endeavored to accomplish a similar task through pooling and sharing, but shrinking defense budgets and concerns over sovereignty have severly limited progress. The United States, which recently released a review of its own defense strategy, has highlighted the need to spend wisely, and with significant cuts to its defense budget, "smart" spending will necessarily be more than a catch phrase. Yet even in this time of austerity when defense spending is certain to decline, nations have reservations about the multinational efforts required to make smart defense effective.
Question: How might NATO encourage nations, concerned about diminished sovereignty, to invest in Smart Defense? What mechanisms would make this kind of cooperation efficient and effective?
February 23: Deadline for Category 1
February 27 – March 2: Shortlisted articles for Category 1 published on atlantic-community.org
March 3 – 8: Category 1 shortlisted authors collaborate on Atlantic Memo
March 9: Atlantic Memo published for Category 1
March 12: Category 1 winner and runner-up chosen
March 15: Deadline for Category 2
March 19 – 23: Shortlisted articles for Category 2 published on atlantic-community.org
March 24 – 29: Category 2 shortlisted authors collaborate on Atlantic Memo
March 30: Atlantic Memo published for Category 2
April 2: Category 2 winner and runner-up chosen
April 5: Deadline for Category 3
April 9 – 13: Shortlisted articles for Category 3 published on atlantic-community.org
April 14 – 19: Category 3 shortlisted authors collaborate on Atlantic Memo
April 20: Atlantic Memo published for Category 3
April 23: Category 3 winner and runner-up chosen
May 21: Presentation of your ideas to decision makers at award ceremony in Berlin, Germany
If you think you’ve got some ideas but need to read more about some of the issues, check out some of our helpful resources here. Remember to register and you’ll receive updates when new resources and information are posted.
Atlantic-community.org is the first online foreign policy think tank. With over 6000 members, our mission is to encourage open, independent, and democratic dialogue on the challenges facing Europe and North America. We especially want to provide a voice for a new generation of thinkers and young leaders, giving them the opportunity to publish and debate side by side with established experts and to have their policy ideas considered by senior officials. This gives our members real political influence, while decision makers benefit from the next generation’s fresh ideas.
Our main section is Your Opinion, where op-eds written by members and edited by our staff are published on a daily basis. Readers comment on the ideas and suggestions presented in the articles, and we periodically condense these debates into Atlantic Memos – executive summaries that harness the collective intelligence of the community, and present the best solutions and policy recommendations. These memos are sent to policy-makers in over 27 countries in Europe and North America.
Atlantic-community.org is a project of Atlantische Initiative e.V., a German non-profit organization dedicated to building and strengthening a strong transatlantic community and a culture of constructive foreign policy debate.
See our About Us page for more information.
If you are interested in helping promote the competition or for any media inquiries, please contact Joerg Wolf at "wolf(at)atlantic-community.org"