by: April Karnette S. Maniacup
From July 8th-13th a group of Willy Brandt School students went to Brussels to participate in the Model NATO Youth Summit 2nd Edition. Our delegation, comprised of Maria Sheviakova (Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council), April Karnette Maniacup (Deputies Committee), Adriana Henriquez (Operations Policy Committee), Adalgiza Anamaria Pascovici (NATO-Russia Council), Juan David Rivera (Political and Partnership Committee), and Martin Meyer (Defence Policy and Planning Committee) represented the Republic of Poland and put forward its national interests on the simulation of decision-making table. This year’s theme, “Defining NATO capabilities towards 2020 – Meeting Future Global Security Challenges through Cooperation, Collaboration and Crisis Management,” has proven to be crucial in outlining the relevance of the organization in the coming years.
Our delegation has a very interesting mix; not only are we the most multi-cultural group in the whole summit, most of us are also coming from non-NATO member states and are newbies in doing a simulation model.
Prior to the five-day conference, we held weekly meetings in order to beef-up our presentation and deepen our understanding of the foreign policies of Poland. Each of us was assigned to write a position paper on topics that fall under the committee we are in. The topics encompass issues on woman empowerment, fight against terrorism, open-door policy, non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), post-ISAF engagement in Afghanistan, KFOR, missile defense, cyber security, future prospects of practical cooperation with Russia and other international organizations, and defining the capabilities of NATO in 2030.
As aspiring future world shapers and leaders in our respective countries, the event served as an avenue that provided us with new insights and perspectives in addressing world problems and security issues. It was challenging yet very rewarding for us to have learnt how to detach one’s opinions from that of the country we represented. Through the simulation, debates and heated discussions, we were able to enhance our ability to negotiate Poland’s stance on several global issues that are currently at stake. The experience gave us a chance to apply our theoretical knowledge and expertise in a practical model of decision-making that provided us with a wider horizon and prepared us in becoming effective future policy makers.
Participating in the MoNYS in Brussels has been a great opportunity for us to be exposed with the work of NATO. In fact, we were lucky enough to have a privileged access to the headquarters and be welcomed by non other than Mr. Jamie Shea, the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. We also had the chance to meet the Permanent Delegation of Poland to NATO, where we addressed our questions and further solidified our position in the aforementioned topics.
The MoNYS staff organized committee meetings and academic panels that gathered representatives of NGOs and members of the academe that gave an in-depth overview of the issues at hand. Gaining experts’ perspectives on these topics has been crucial in providing a backbone in our arguments and claims during the simulation.
Our delegation was also able to experience how it is to be at the seat of the European decision-making capital. On the fourth day of the summit, a conference was held at the European Parliament where a debate was staged between the EP and NATO—where both sides discussed their differences and points of cooperation. The five days of the seminar gave us an impression of how it is to be in the shoes of leaders who make-up and run the institutions that greatly affect the world order.
The model provided us with insights on the constraints and advantages of decision-making, whereas the debates exposed us on the different interests of other member-countries while defending that of Poland’s. The lively discussions throughout the week have stimulated our commitment in taking part in the solution of the current global security threats.
Analyzing world problems through the simulation in both macro and micro approaches pushed an outcome to the closest possible resolution in tackling the given problems. The summit was a great platform in synthesizing ideas from high-level discussions coming from different people of different backgrounds. The discussions that emerged from the seminar have set a cornerstone for us, aspiring future leaders, in broadening our understanding of the world and of the interconnectedness of issues that surround it.
But that is not only what the summit is about—some of us also participated in a study visit at the Belgium Navy where we got the chance to tour its facilities and be briefed on the current operations that are done in partnership with NATO.
Lastly, the event gave us the opportunity to socialize and meet like-minded and passionate people from all other parts of the world, whom we have built connections and networks with.
Overall, the summit has been a success and this sure was an experience worth sharing!