On July 12th 15 best performers of the NATO Summit Simulation Game 2013 for the Baltic and Russian young leaders visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Youngsters had an opportunity to discuss many currently important topics such as NATO’s current political agenda and defence capabilities, NATO’s implementation of UNSCR 1325, NATO’s partnerships and NATO – Russia cooperation. Students were interested in other relevant topics as NATO and Middle East issues, China as emerging power etc. It was a great experience for young students from Baltic States and Russia to meet NATO experts face to face and to find out things what they can not read in newspapers or find online.
Here are some comments from the youngsters after the visit:
Laura Nacyte, Vytautus Magnus University, Lithuania: The visit to NATO HQ and the impressions gotten there were outstanding! It gave us a unique opportunity to widen our knowledge by discussing the issues that were the most debatable during the simulation held in Riga — the institutionalization of NATO’s partnerships; the future of the missile defense project; the consequences of reducing military spending, etc. However, we were able to improve our understanding on new and the most relevant topics as well, such as potential candidates to become next NATO Secretary General; Afghan women’s involvement in the military and government bodies, and what implications Alliance’s efforts to struggle against stereotypes could have on the Kabul’s security. I would like to express my gratitude to LATO and NATO Public Diplomacy Division for a perfect organization, and given answers during our visit — even to the most provocative questions! In conclusion, I strongly recommend all young professionals to participate in the next NATO Summit Simulation Game!
Tatiana Glazyrina, Russian Academy of Government service under President of Russia, Russia: Our trip to Belgium was great, the visit to NATO was organized perfect, we met a lot of very interesting people, who really love what they are doing and could explain everything to 15 curious people from Baltic countries and Russia. And also could answer all our questions. We had a chance to have lunch with all staff of HQ. It would be great to go there once again. Thank you everybody who organized the trip!
Otto Tabuns, Riga Graduate School of Law, Latvia: Having won the competition, the Baltic and Russian youth met with representatives of NATO Public Diplomacy Department and the Latvian Permanent mission to NATO. Experts delivered presentations on NATO Partnerships and Gender Issues. Following the exclusive welcome the youth used the possibility to enjoy the hospitality and cuisine of the colourful Belgian capital.
Ernst Armin Tonisson, Estonia : ”LATO has done incredible task of bringing NATO closer to its citizens and offering an academic, yet practical look into the workings of the alliance. As an Estonian citizen, I earned the visit by representing the United Kingdom in the memorable NATO Summit Simulation Game in Riga, June, 2013. This granted me a visit to Brussels and a visit to the actual NATO Headquarters to supplement the simulation and offer an even better insight into NATO. The visit has left me inspired to join the many young interns in the organisation and a feeling of empowerment after having discussed military matters with the actual NATO decision makers. All that is now left is to apply and use the contacts and knowledge learned from the Simulation Game and the visit.”