On March 27, 2009 Latvian Transatlantic organisation (LATO) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia with the support of NATO and Ministry of Defence of Latvia organised a NATO summit simulation game „NATO 60 years experience – quo vadis?” which was one of the activities dedicated to the Latvia’s five years of NATO membership and NATO 60th anniversary.
The simulation game was the second and final round of a competition where 18-
26 years old students and active youngsters in the teams of two had to write an essay „NATO 60 years experience – quo vadis?” and analyse the political and military aspects of NATO (NATO partnerships, further enlargement, NATO military role – Article 5 and out-of-area operations), as well as in their context – to evaluate Latvia’s experience as a NATO member.
The goal of the competition was to assess and enhance the knowledge and interest among Latvia’s students about NATO and international and Latvia’s security issues, thus encouraging political involvement of young people, independent research work, improvement of analytical skills and erudition as well as understanding of the decision making processes.
The best 26 teams (52 youngsters) were invited to participate in the NATO summit simulation game and represent one of the NATO member countries.
During the simulation game teams had to present their “country position” and come to an agreement about the declaration which included issues like future challenges of NATO and new threats, the prospects of further enlargement, in particular look on Georgia, Ukraine, Balkan countries, involvement and contribution to the peace keeping missions, as well as further relations with Russia and importance of energy and cyber security. The debates were very intensive and tough in particular on further NATO enlargement and relations with Russia.
An evaluation commission with representatives of LATO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Latvian Institute of International Affairs assessed the activity, argumentation, knowledge and cooperation skills of each of the “country” and chose three best teams:
1) United Kingdom (represented by the students of University of Latvia, Social Science Faculty – Igors Ivanovs and Artūrs Kvesko);
2) United States of America (represented by the students of Rīga Stradiņš university, Faculty oif the European Studies – Oskars Ceļmalnieks and Edgars Milaškēvičs;
3) France (represented by the students of Rīga Stradiņš university, Faculty oif the European Studies Linda Jaunarāja- Janvāre and Ilze Grava from the University of Latvia, Social Science Faculty).
These six students were awarded with the main prize – a trip to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium!
Another three teams who also showed great knowledge about the represented countries, NATO and security/defence issues received gift tokens of the book store “Valters un Rapa”:
– Portugal (University of Latvia, Social Science Faculty, students Evija Goluba and Agnese Lāce);
– Germany (University of Latvia, Social Science Faculty, students Anda Bergmane and Benita Aržanova);
– Latvia (Rīga Stradiņš university, Faculty oif the European Studies, students Madara Uburģe and Mārtiņš Vargulis).
As the evaluation commission reported, it was pleasantly surprised about the high level of knowledge of the participants and their ability to adopt themselves so good in the roles of each country.
LATO representative in the commission Ms. Irina Ivaškina commented: „This was very interesting and truly unique opportunity for the youngsters to test their theoretical knowledge and use it in practice, as well as learn so much new about each one of the NATO member state and the real decision making processes – how hard it is to reach a compromise and common position.” And exactly this was also the main goal of LATO and all the partners of the project.
Photos from the event are available here