On April 9, 2010 LATO in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia organised NATO Summit simulation game 2010. Youngsters, who represented Turkey, Albania and Czech Republic, took the first three places. The winners – Diāna Potjomkina, Ilze Neimane (Riga Stradiņš University), Jānis Supe, Aleksandrs Potaičuks (University of Latvia), Mārtiņs Vargulis, Roberts Fedosejevs (Riga Stradiņš University) – has been awarded with a trip to NATO HQ, Brussels. The 4th, 5th and 6th places were won by youngsters who represented Luxembourg, United States of America and Spain – Igors Ivanovs, Artūrs Kvesko (University of Latvia), Natālija Knaidele (Riga Technical University), Edgars Engīzers (University of Latvia), Krišjānis Ozols (Riga Stradiņš University), Mārtiņš Bratuškins (Riga Technical University). They were awarded with valuable books on diplomacy, security and foreign policy.
This is the second year LATO organises NATO Summit simulation game for Latvian youngsters. During the game 28 teams who represented heads of NATO member states had to agree on a text of the NATO New Strategic Concept. The performance of participants was evaluated by a jury composed by representatives of LATO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence of Latvia. In addition three special advisors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were assigned to assist and advise the participants.
The Simulation game started with presentations of positions on the New Strategic Concept by representatives of NATO member states. Participants had three weeks to elaborate positions of their represented NATO member states. In order to assist with this process, LATO organised briefings in the embassies as well as at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the midst of the game the session was interrupted by breaking news. The head of states were briefed about a cyber attack on the bank systems of five NATO member states. Terrorists requested the immediate withdrawal of NATO armed forces from Afghanistan in order to stop the attack. Youngsters dealt with the crisis in one hour and agreed on a joint statement, where NATO member states condemned the cyber attack organised by a terrorist group and agreed on measures to deal with the consequences of the crisis and to prevent such crisis situations in future.
During the next phase of the game all the teams were divided in four groups and given a task to elaborate a joint position on the declaration project, defining goals and tasks of the Alliance, its capacity and operations, Alliance’s approach towards disarmament and nuclear weapons as well as Alliance’s position towards enlargement and cooperation with partner countries.
In addition participants of the game had a chance to meet three Baltic Foreign ministers, who the same day held a consultation in Riga on the NATO New Strategic Concept. Youngsters were given an opportunity to ask their interested questions to the ministers during the final press conference.
After the simulation game was over, its winner shared their views and impressions on the game, its preparatory process and importance:
„I advise everyone to take part in the Simulation game next year, especially those who have a professional interest in international relations, diplomacy and security issues. I consider that the preparatory process was not less important than the simulation game itself, where in a short period of time we had make an agreement on several important issues. I was also very satisfied to have an opportunity to be briefed by diplomats of a represented country.”
Diāna Potjomkina, Representative of Turkey (1st place)
“Participation in the Simulation game had an invaluable impact on the development of my career. I invite to involve last year’s winners in the organisation of the next year’s simulation game. The game has allowed me to understand the dual nature of the democratic decision-making process. On the one hand, it allows everyone to express its position, but, from the other hand, this process is more time-consuming, and it is not clear whether someone really cares about your position among thousand others.”
Aleksandrs Potaičuks, Representative of Albania (2nd place)
In order to take part in the simulation game, applicants should be 18-26 years old, have good communication skills in Latvian and find a partner to make a team. The application procedure started on February 11, 2010. All the applicants were required to write an analytical essay on the theme „A New NATO Strategic Concept: Latvian Perspective” and send it till March 8, 2010 4:00 PM to the following addressees: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The organisers received more than 30 essay, which were evaluated by a special commission made of representatives of LATO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. Authors of 28 best essays were selected to take part in the simulation game.
On March 17 participants were invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lot their represented countries. The first six teams, which gained the highest score, had an opportunity to be the first to choose. Others defined their countries according to the drawing procedure.
For more information, please, contact Mr. Arvils Zelrins, LATO project manager – firstname.lastname@example.org