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Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

Article Date:
Alumni Spotlight, CAE

Devin Jenkins

Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

We have spent the past six days of our European excursion in Brussels, Belgium, at the 2012 Model NATO Youth Summit. We are serving as representatives of The Netherlands in the simulation, and Miles College quickly became one of the most distinguished delegations present. We received several compliments on our appearance and our performance in committee sessions throughout the week. Other students were also fascinated by our southern dialects and enjoyed trying to imitate our accents as we did the same with them. As we walked back to the hotel from NATO Headquarters, I had a very memorable moment with Cat, a delegate from Scotland, who imitated me in a stereotypical southern voice saying, “I didn’t know I had an accent!” Several other participants often asked me why I look so serious and formal all the time and I explained to them that my demeanor runs in the family. I also told them that I have a great sense of humor once you get to know me, but I’m about business when I need to be. Aside from debating political issues with students all over the world, I enjoyed a culturally enriching experience at the Model NATO Youth Summit in Brussels.  Next stop…Paris!


Audriauna Davis

Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

Brussels, Belgium is a beautiful country to tour. It has so much history with buildings almost 1,000 years old.  Our first tour of the city was by bus where we came across some Americans that saw our Miles College t-shirts and stated “What is the pride of Alabama doing here in Brussels”? We were poised and we responded with confidence and they were very impressed.  After a day of touring and taking in the rich history that Brussels had to offer, we had to depart from our professors and go to the Model NATO Youth Summit.

Upon our arrival to the hotel , we met several delegates from Brussels, Poland, Greece, Serbia, and London to name a few. We had the opportunity to mingle and get acquainted with other delegations from all over the world. We represented the Netherlands, at The Model NATO Youth Summit (MoNYS) for the NATO Conference. Before the conference, we heard a speech from the Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen of NATO. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, spoke on the purpose of NATO and the decision making procedure.  It was such an honor to be able to hear the Secretary General speak being that just a few weeks ago he had been in Chicago running the NATO meeting for ambassadors from all over the world. 

 Serving as a delegate for the Netherlands, I was on the Defense Policy and Planning Committee. In my committee we discussed the topics of Smart Defense and Military Defense Missiles. As a delegate representing the Netherlands, I formed alliances with Estonia, Norway, Germany, Denmark, and the United States.  The reasoning behind this is that the Netherlands is a small country and we cannot take on other countries on its own. As my committee and I finalized our drafts, we were able to deliberate and get a communiqué passed.  We visited the European Parliament on Thursday where we were able to ask questions concerning our topics to see whether the decision we made were precise and something that the NATO members would realistically do.

 My experience here at the NATO conference was an experience of a lifetime. We toured some more of the city with other delegates who were from Brussels and we had an awesome time. My colleagues and I formed lifetime friendships with other delegates from all over the world. The food in Brussels is wonderful. We tasted Brussels famous waffles (The Belgian Waffle). Brussels waffles were so delicious that some of us went back for seconds. In addition, the restaurants had fine dining and the food was absolutely delicious. My experience so far has been an awesome experience.

Kacey Webb

Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

As a pioneer to the Model NATO Youth Simulation (MoNYS), not only for my respected institution but also for students all around the world, I am ecstatic to have to opportunity in which I am afforded. The MoNYS is an experience of a lifetime. The simulation is not only an educational experience but a cultural one. The simulation is helping to better explain the role of NATO to many of the different types of students pursuing different degrees.

The most important and appealing thing to me about MoNYS is the cultural diversity. I have met people from all around the world: Greece, France, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Scotland, and more. The MoNYS is a way for students to not only learn how 28 distinctive countries are protected by the world's strongest defense alliance, but the exercise also teaches you about foreign policy. The foreign policy is taught by allowing your delegation to represent a foreign country, which forces you to learn about other nations’ views.

As I greet my peers each day, I begin to notice just how many different cultures are represented here.  Sometimes I even began to feel like I am a real NATO Ambassador or Representative. Then, before the world's largest NATO simulation in Brussels, we were able to hear the Secretary General himself, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speak, and we met official delegates to NATO such as Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives. After hearing the Secretary General a few were allowed to ask questions, which included me. I actually spoke with one of the most influential men in the world! After this, we headed to our respective delegation wing of NATO.

Now, let me remind you that I have met members of the Foreign Ministry in The Netherlands, the Ambassador for the Netherlands from NATO, and had a question and answer session with the Secretariat General of NATO. In addition to this, we met a lot of people from all over Europe. I became best buddy to Petro Terzis from Greece after heated discussions of his country’s current situation. We, the students, enjoyed a variety of social events which included attending the opening ceremony at the Royal Military Academy, a gala at Prins Albert Club, and more.

During the MoNYS I was very engaged in a heated debate within my committee, NATO-Russian Council (NRC). My committee is faced with the topics of Russia and NATO finding a common defense system and NATO's role in the Arctic region. As representatives of The Netherlands, we believe there is no role for NATO in the Arctic, and that Russia should not be a member of NATO and should not have any control to our missile defense system.  

Amanda Vaughn

Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

Brussels, Belgium is an amazing place to visit. Since I’m here for the Model NATO conference, I am seeing most of it by bus. Before the conference started, we toured the city by foot and discovered La Grande Place. Its grandeur left me speechless for a while because the buildings are artistically built and have intricate details. I learned they date back to the 16th century. Seeing things like this (and tasting an authentic Belgian waffle) was an excellent precursor to the  NATO simulation.

 At the 2012 Model NATO Youth Summit (MoNYS), I served on the Political and Partnership Committee (PPC). During the committee sessions, I debated with other delegates on the topics of drug trafficking and non-state actors. Although speaking a different language from everyone in the room, I’m enjoying this chance to step outside of my comfort zone and learn more about NATO and foreign policy. When we visited NATO Headquarters, we met with two more official Netherlands representatives. Our interactions strengthened the debate material for the whole delegation. At the closing ceremony, the PPC successfully passed two communiqués! I feel great about our accomplishment because I worked and fought hard for the Netherlands with fellow committee members to achieve a good end product.

I will forever value the friendships I’ve made at the Summit. In the midst of hard work, early mornings, and taxing sessions, we are able to bond and learn a lot about each other. I believe we all look forward to the coffee breaks and social events so we can download and upload new information. I’m learning some Polish, French, Flemish, Serbian, and Dutch words which inspire me to study the languages even more. Meeting new people and making international friends has been fun. Being here has opened my eyes and made me more aware of the world around me. Reading books about NATO issues and different cultures is good, but having this personal experience is AMAZING.

Donald Jackson

Model NATO Youth Summit Travel Blog

Today marks the first time ever that collegiate students from different corners of the globe will take place in a brief simulation, along with question & answers from our guest speakers at the European Parliament (EU), we also had the privilege to sit in the actuall delegates seats from the EU Parliament. The topics that were presented to my colleagues and I ranged from Cyber defense, Security threats, and NATO economic reform. I along with everyone else were deeply engaged in each topic, today was surely one not to forget. This marks another day that I am amazed and truly asking is this REAL!!!   

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