Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Trip to NATO: Enhancing what you know

SAIS prides itself on the practical application of academic coursework. The Bologna Center is no exception.

Instead of a walk down Massachusetts Avenue to a nearby think thank or a short metro ride to Capitol South to meet legislators, a dozen Bologna Center students recently traveled to Brussels for a day of personalized meetings at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The objective of the April 23 trip, organized by the student-run Defense and Intelligence Club, was to obtain a first-hand perspective of NATO’s mission and operations through briefings with key personnel from a variety of areas.

Our introduction began with a meeting with a fellow SAIS Bologna alum who works within NATO’s Public Diplomacy division. We discussed the history and structure of NATO and major items on NATO’s agenda, particularly the upcoming Chicago Summit and NATO’s strategic framework. Subsequent speakers discussed NATO’s partnerships with non-NATO members, the methodology of NATO’s military operations and the concept of Smart Defense.

At our final meeting of the day, we were given an insider’s view of NATO’s political arm as we met with a diplomat from the U.S. Mission to NATO.

Because the number of participants was limited to our small group and one speaker, we were able to tailor the visit to our personal interests.

In the video below, Elizabeth Alonso-Halifax, Luke Burns and Carolyn Warren share their thoughts on the trip.

If you are reading this via email, you can see the video here.

Dominique Mack (BC12)

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