You've probably heard about a Model NATO conference, or better yet, been a part of one. I want to tell though you about the first annual 2012 Model NATO Youth Summit, which will take place July 8-13 in Brussels, Belgium.
This conference is the first ever of its kind to take place with participants from all over the world. The summit simulates NATO's actual decision-making process and addresses topics such as smart defense, military capabilities, and missile defense. It offers an unprecedented level of interaction among the students who will be leaders for the next generation.
Nearly all of NATO's members will be represented, as well as an extensive assortment of PfP countries. Students have formed delegations of six, with each person representing a NATO committee: the North Atlantic Council, the Defense Policy and Planning Committee, the Political and Partnership Committee, the Operation Policy Committee, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the NATO-Russia Council.
Each committee will have two contemporary security issues that the delegates will have to address. The participants will come prepared with a position paper, describing their respective country's position on every question. They will simulate the foreign policies of their countries and use the same rules and procedures employed by actual NATO committee sessions. Over the six days in Brussels, the students are going to convene in several sessions and reach a consensus on each issue, emulating the real-life process of reaching agreement on policy.
The best delegates will be recognized and distinguished, based on how well prepared they were in advance, their performance in committee, and the evaluation of their peers. The main goal is to teach these students about the issues NATO is facing, how it approaches them, and how they are resolved.
My responsibility as appointed Secretary General is to manage twelve committee chairs in helping them develop their topic issues, assist them in dealing with their delegates, and train them for the event itself. In my experience with Model NATO, as a delegate, a chair and a project manager for the conference in Canada, there has never been anything of this scale. I want to do all I can to create an unforgettable experience for everyone involved and pass on what I know about NATO, how it works, and its potential future, to the next generation of leaders
In the end, this summit will generate new ideas and ways of thinking about NATO’s role in the world and how the Alliance should respond to developing security issues. In an interdependent world like ours, communication between actors from every part of the globe becomes a necessity. This summit embodies that principle of communication, which will be fundamental in shaping our future.
Georgi Ivanov is a graduate student in political science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He is among the organizers of the 2012 Model NATO Youth Summit. For more information on the summit, click here. If you wish to help with fundraising for the event, please click here.