“Seminar on NATO for Students” held in Babe from September 6-9, 2010

The ISAC Fund, in cooperation with the Embassy of the United States of America in Belgrade and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Belgrade, organized, for the first time, a three-day intensive seminar and model workshop on NATO for 25 university students, from September 6 to 9, 2010.

The seminar aimed to provide clear and informative education about NATO and its functioning, the role of individual member states within NATO and an exploration of how their foreign policy interests are served through membership in the Alliance. In addition, the Seminar stimulated discussion on Serbia’s potential interests and benefits in participating in the PfP (of which Serbia is a member since 2006), thus examining the opportunities and challenges facing Serbia in defining its relationship with NATO.

Students had an opportunity to hear both national and foreign lecturers who are experts in NATO subject matter and political and military issues which it encompasses. The lectures were be held by speakers such as those from NATO’s international staff, government representatives, military representatives and academics. Below you can find the lecturers and the themes covered:

Opening Speech
Mr. Earle Litzenberger, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Belgrade

“What is NATO? Overview, Background and History”
Mr. Jan Vlkovsky, Political Officer, Czech Embassy

“21st Century Challenges and the New Strategic Concept” and “Becoming a Member of NATO – from PfP to full membership”
Mr. Uroš Zver, Information Officer for the Western Balkans, Public Diplomacy, NATO HQ

“Decision Making in NATO”
H.E. Branislav Milinković, Head of Serbian Mission to NATO

“Serbia and NATO – current situation and next steps”
Major đorđe Petrović, Department for International Military Cooperation, Serbian Ministry of Defence

“EU – NATO Relations”
Mr. Srđan Gligorijević, Senior Political Officer, British Embassy

“NATO in Afghanistan – Political and Military Briefing”
Mr. Dragan Bisenić, Journalist and Lecturer at the Centre for US Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Belgrade

An important part of the Seminar also consisted of a day-long simulation model of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) which allowed the participants to role-play as heads of NATO member states, endeavouring to incorporate their countries’ specific foreign policy interests to impact the decisions which the simulated NAC debated and adopted. The main topic for debate was NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan, with participants creating and agreeing on an updated strategy for dealing with securing Afghanistan. At the same time participants also had to deal with several crises created by ISAC staff, forcing them to employ and, throughout the simulation, practice a variety of communication and critical thinking skills – such as public speaking, group communication, policy analysis, negotiation, and technical writing.