Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Karadzic arrested in Belgrade

  • Former Bosnian Serb leader in Belgrade cell on war crime charges
  • Radovan Karadzic's lawyer says he will appeal against extradition to The Hague
  • Lawyer also alleges Karadzic arrested Friday and held in secret for three days
  • Karadzic charged with genocide in connection with the Srebrenica massacre

The new Serbian government has been working hard on finding Karadzic and will as soon as possible have him extradited to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Experts agree that this will help Serbias wish of joining the EU. What other consequenses will this have for the Balkans and what is your personal opinion?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

YATA Newsletter vol. III - Call for Contributions!

Dear friends,

The YATA Board is working on the third edition of the YATA Newsletter.

Several Initiatives have taken place in the recent months, both on a national and international level.

We encourage you all to submit your reports, articles, and comments on the interesting initiatives or activities you have done or participated in.

We are also eadger to receive national or personal contributions on"Technology and Security", which is the topic of the first YATA Future Forum, which will be an excellent opportunity for YATAs to develop a comprehensive approach to international security and its developments.

How has technology impacted our current security situation? Is technology itself the threat or the solution? National YATA associations can choose to focus on any subtopic under this heading, for instance:

  • Energy Security: Can synthetic fuels and technologies help overcome the oil shortage?
  • Environmental Security: How have industrial processes impacted our climate? Can new innovations ‘engineer’ our climate?
  • Cybersecurity: How do terrorist networks use the internet for strategic communications? Are governments and militaries keeping pace?
  • Nuclear proliferation: Will new nuclear technologies introduce a new ‘arms race’?

These are just suggestions. All YATA associations can choose a topic that fits their group or region. What can your YATA do? The world is yours! Any contribution, particularly creative ones, are welcome! You might choose to organize a national position paper, a blog post, interview an expert, organize a ‘roundtable discussion’, a seminar, create a video for Youtube… it’s up to you! All contributions will be featured on the YATA Blog.

As usual, the newsletter will have space for each chapter to provide info and pictures on: articles on international politics and secuirty,events attended by members,book reviews,movie reviews Please send contribution in word format. Deadline for providing meterial is August 39th.

Best regards,

Giuseppe Belardetti
YATA President

South-East European Summer School for Democracy - Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy in the Balkans

The Anglo Serbian Society is glad to announce: South-East European Summer School for Democracy- Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy in the Balkans

The to be held in Belgrade, Serbia from September 15 to 21, 2008

The main target group of participants are junior faculty, young political and NGO activists. There will be up to 30 participants altogether. Fifteen participants are to be selected from Serbia and an equal number will come from elsewhere in the region of South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hellenic Republic, (F.Y.R.) Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Slovenia). Participants should have at the very least a BA degree, and preferably an MA degree in the social sciences or humanities. All other nationals are welcome to apply but the organisers can contribute only partially to their transportation costs.


Zlatimira Colova

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Introducing the YATA Future Forum v1.0: Technology and Security

What is your vision for a more secure future and how can the Atlantic Community achieve it? Living in an increasingly complex world, everyday we find new opportunities and new challenges. The bi-polar world of the Cold War has long passed, yet governments and international organizations seem unprepared for emerging threats. These challenges will be met by future leaders, like you.

To help overcome these challenges, the YATA Board announces the YATA Future Forum. Organized each three months, The Future Forum will introduce new topics based on emerging threats and themes in international security. All YATA Chapters will be able to contribute to the collective thinking on a topic by bringing together experts and ideas through an array of formats, including writing and events.

The first Future Forum topic will be Technology and Security. How has technology impacted our current security situation? Is technology itself the threat or the solution? National YATA associations can choose to focus on any subtopic under this heading, for instance:
● Energy Security: Can synthetic fuels and technologies help overcome the oil shortage?
● Environmental Security: How have industrial processes impacted our climate? Can new innovations ‘engineer’ our climate?
● Cyber-security: How do terrorist networks use the internet for strategic communications? Are governments and militaries keeping pace?
● Nuclear proliferation: Will new nuclear technologies introduce a new ‘arms race’?

These are just suggestions. All YATA associations can choose a topic that fits their group or region. What can your YATA do? The world is yours! Any contribution, particularly creative ones, are welcome! You might choose to organize a national position paper, a blog post, interview an expert, organize a ‘roundtable discussion’, a seminar, create a video for Youtube… it’s up to you! All contributions will be featured on the YATA Blog and the upcoming YATA newsletter! Outstanding contributions might also be featured through partner organizations.

We are sure you will have questions or input on this matter and encourage you to contact Mads Søndergaard Thomsen, Secretary General of the YATA Board at mads@atlant.dk We look forward to your contributions!

Mend the Gap! Making Up After the Atlantic ‘Breakup’

By Brooke Heaton,
Assistant Dir
ector of Young Atlanticist Programs, Atlantic Council of the United States

As the Atlantic community steps into an uncertain and increasingly complex 21st century, we face a set of challenges that can be tackled only through collective action. But a quick glance at our community reveals such deep polarization and mistrust, that one wonders how a rebirth of Atlanticism could possibly be shaped. Opinion polls of Americans and Europeans are not encouraging, and reveal a growth of misperception and mistrust across the pond in the past few years. According to a 2007 BBC poll, 57 percent of the British, 74 percent of Germans and 69 percent of the French see the United States as having a mainly negative influence in the world. Something has clearly gone wrong.

Why has the US become so unpopular? Unsurprisingly, it seems America’s might is working against its popularity. In one poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the top reason why Europeans dislike the US is their resentment of U.S. power. A unilateralist approach in Iraq, coupled with European objections over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, US reticence on climate change, and a US military presence in the Middle East have clearly paved a road to ‘splittsville’ across the Atlantic. Oh, and of course there’s o now infamous ‘Decider’ in Chief whose brash verbiage on ‘freedom’ and American exceptionalism has perhaps done as much to undue confidence in US leadership as any administration this side of the industrial revolution. But beyond the headline issues, Europeans are also critical of the US economic model, resenting the power of America’s multinational corporations and blaming the US for causing income inequality between the rich and the poor. Key European leaders have also done their part, championing a hard anti-American stance to energize electorates at the polls and inspiring further division ‘from above’.

Is there light at the end of this tunnel? It appears so. At a time when enhanced cooperation has never been more needed, it appears that it is equally wanted. In fact, a vast majority of Americans and Europeans would like to see closer ties reaching across the Atlantic, according to a March 2008 British Council poll. Americans overwhelmingly favor closer relations with Europe (91 percent) and, among all European countries polled, 62 percent favor closer European -American relations. This includes large majorities of Poles (77 percent), Germans (75 percent), Irish (70 percent), and Spaniards (67percent). A BBC World Service poll from last April shows the pendulum may also be swinging the other way for European views of US foreign policy, even in France, where those who see the US as having a mainly negative influence in the world have dropped from 74 percent last January to just 59 percent. In Britain and Germany, the numbers have also dropped, though modestly, to 53 and 72 percent respectively. Combine this with U.S. Presidential candidates elbowing for room on the stage of multilateralism and partnerships, and the future looks bright enough to wear shades.

With new leadership in Europe and a new American administration just around the corner, there is a ready supply of hope for Atlanticists. But as the evidence above testifies, much work is to be done to heal the division and to foster a greater sense of purpose in the transatlantic partnership. It will take time to renew this partnership and much work will be done by the emerging generation of leaders in the US and Europe - a generation that has grown up in an increasingly globalized world very different from their elders.

Fortunately, young leaders across the Atlantic have never been better poised to engage each other. As the world shrinks in scale through globalization and the reach of technology, the growing ‘cohesion’ of youth culture has become an important means to strengthen the Atlantic community. Widespread zeal for Facebook, Youtube, popular music, Wikipedia and ecommunication provides immense common ground for interaction and understanding. Increased educational exchanges between young Americans and Europeans can also contribute greatly to softening divisionism. Though these shifts seem incremental and subtle now, the results could prove monumental.

The Youth Atlantic Treaty Association and the Young Atlanicist Network play a central role in this effort. With a shared mission to build a new generation of Euro-Atlantic leaders who embrace our common values and promote closer ties, we can help forge a new path by promoting policies and practices that look beyond the division of the status quo to take on the challenges that we will face in our lives. With a network expanding from Canada to Kazakhstan, we understand that today’s global challenges cannot be addressed without widespread support and leadership from the US and Europe and we have more tools than ever before to take on this task. The folks on my side of the pond are certainly ready for the change.

For more information visit:

Afghanistan and the Globe: A Young Afghan’s View

By Noorullah Ahmadzai
University of Kabul, YATA Afghanistan

Everyone knows that Afghanistan has been in war for the last three decades. During this time, different governments have come and they have ruled over the Afghan community. These rulers have taken the Afghan community to the current situation which now exists in the country and in the globe. The security challenge of how to bring peace in the country and region was a big threat to all the governments, but some governments during this time created instability not only in Afghanistan but in the globe.

During this time, the international community realized that Afghanistan is in a serious situation and constantly under terrorist attacks, which is not only threat to Afghan society but to the world also. Due to this the international community with assistance from the UN came to Afghanistan to launch an operation against the insurgents in Afghanistan territory and in the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the current arena Afghanistan is on the frontline of the global sphere, and its future is is now important for the Afghan government and the international community because we need to have a peaceful Afghanistan in the region to tackle down the insurgents in the region that are a threat not only to Afghanistan but to the world.

Many programs and operations have been conducted during this period of time in Afghanistan, and it is still going on. At the commencement of NATO in Afghanistan, there was hope that the Afghan government and international community could bring peace and stability to the country and lead the development process of the country, which is still hanging. Today, there is less government intervention in the security and development process of the country. The Afghan government is still struggling to strengthen the National Police and Army to give a hand to NATO and ISAF forces to lead operations in Afghanistan.

Up to now, the international community has hardly worked on the training of National Police and Army in order to be in a position to combat against terrorism in the long run. A lack of assistance from the neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan, is a problem for the Afghan government because they are not positively assisting operations in the region. Still there is a joint commission between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, but they did not reach the root cause of the problems. The government is in a very serious situation in the security and development processes. The development process is not going as the international community planned.

Still, though, NATO and the international community are working hard to quicken the process of reconstruction in the country that will bring some changes in the area. However, due to the security problems, all of the programs are hanging. Most of the programs that are under the strategic plan in the southern part of the country are in bad condition. There is much less improvement in the life of ordinary Afghans there. Due to this insecure environment, international assistance cannot reach the region effectively. Insurgents are active in the southern part of the country, and they are conducting their operations not only against NATO, ISAF, and Afghan Police, but also against humanitarian assistance organizations and civilians. In such attacks, there are huge casualties and the tactics that they are using include suicide bombings which cannot be stopped.

Concern about security is very important to NATO and the Peace Keeping troops because without security, the NATO reconstruction team cannot work actively in the development process of the country. Unemployment of the community is another issue for the Afghan government, but the question is how to provide such programs that can engage the unemployed community. As of now, the Afghan government realizes that unemployment will also create a path for the terrorists to engage these people in such activities.

Huge poverty in the country is a challenging part for the government and international community as they try to find how to eradicate this hazard from the country. This needs well-managed programs and policies that can be implemented efficiently. The government and NATO forces have to involve the community in the development process. Once they engage in this process, they can easily offer helping hands to the government institutions and the international community, and develop ways on how to lead these programs and how to keep them secure from insurgents.

Public awareness and the involvement of society in the peace and stability of the country is very important because Afghanistan is a combination of societies that can accept support based on their involvement. This involvement is very missing at the moment in government institutions. Government is still not in a position to link the community with government institutions, but once this coordination occurs then it will be very easy for the government to tackle issues with the assistance from the community.

We and the international community understand that in some parts of the country, the community of people are involved in terrorist activities and provide assistance to insurgents. We and the international community need to find out where these insurgents are getting their support and how they are managing their operations inside of Afghanistan. If NATO, ISAF, the international community and the Afghan government do not take serious action against this, then there will be a continuous war against terrorism in the region, and there will be huge losses not only to the Afghan government, but to the international community as well. By not dealing with these issues, soon the terrorist attacks against the rest world will increase quickly.

Public awareness is another challenging part to the government of Afghanistan. There are few awareness campaigns that can motivate the society against illegal activities and fight against them. One part of the international community assistance has to be public awareness. This is very important in tackling the security issue. This public awareness can work in very important sectors including security, eradication of illegal narcotics, and development projects.

These concentrated areas are interrelated and have to be managed in such a way that the government and the international community can provide an end solution to it. Coming to the point of the reconstruction area, the US government and NATO are actively involved in the reconstruction process of the country, especially NATO Provincial Reconstruction Teams, which are operating in most provinces of the country. But, they are not present in all provinces of the country, especially the southern part of the country that needs reconstruction and stability more than the other parts of the country.

Education is another challenging issue to government, mostly because insurgents are against the construction of schools. Through international community assistance, the Afghan government constructed thousands of schools. But due to the security issues, most of them in the southern part of the country were ruined by the terrorists and insurgents. Afghanistan needs a well-educated society to combat all of these challenges and to find solutions to these problems themselves. We suffer a great deal from the missmanagement of programs and do not have the capacity to handle such a crisis in the country.

To come up with solutions there is a need for strong assistance from the international community and outside organizations (like NISA, ATA, YATA, NATO, UN, USAID, DFID, etc) and with the Afghan community to provide guidance and help in finding the solutions for such problems. It will be a great opportunity for the young Afghan leaders to learn about the international community and their assistance and seek help from them in the management of these crises. These young Afghans will be the future leaders of the country that need the assistance of you people. Give a hand to Afghans and shape their lives. This is possible if you can give a helping hand to us.

Bucharest Recap: The Young Atlanticist Summit 2008

As world leaders met this April for the largest NATO summit in Alliance history, YATA representatives from across the Euro-Atlantic region and Afghanistan convened in Bucharest to grapple with the major security issues facing the Atlantic Community today and to launch an innovative on-line community – the Young Atlanticist Network. The Young Atlanticist Summit, held in conjunction with the official NATO Summit, brought together over 120 students and young professionals from YATA chapters, as well as top students from the University of Kabul. They had an extraordinary opportunity to meet directly with national and Alliance decision-makers and to build consensus on critical issues in the Alliance. Delegates at the Young Atlanticist Summit issued statements addressing the Alliance role in energy security , the controversy over the Macedonian name , and mechanisms for building closer relations between
Alliance and Afghan publics.

The Young Atlanticists discussed current Alliance priorities and challenges with a wide range of leaders, including Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Supreme Allied Commander General John Craddock, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, U.S. President George W. Bush, Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende, Albanian PM Sali Berisha, Estonian President Toomas Ilves, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and U.S. First Lady Laura Bush. Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and President Traian Basescu also met with the group, the latter at the official summit's North Atlantic Council table.

Reaching out through the first ever videoconference link with the University of Kabul, the Young Atlanticists learned about the many challenges affecting the security of that country and heard Afghan perspectives on the type of assistance most needed by Kabul. At the end of the Young Atlanticist Summit, a joint declaration was issued calling for the creation of a network of Afghan youth that could be linked to the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association network in order to strengthen links between civil societies.

When the official NATO summit failed to invite FYR Macedonia to join the Alliance because of Greek objections to the name Republic of Macedonia, the Young Atlanticist delegates rallied to find a solution. During a day of intensive talks, Greek and Macedonian delegates stressed the common Euro-Atlantic perspective shared by their countries and announced their plans to initiate a combined working group of the Greek and Macedonian YATAs to promote joint activities, including further discussion of the name issue.

The Young Atlanticists also participated in a model NATO simulation, each acting as their national delegation as NATO struggled to define its policy toward energy security in the midst of a crisis. The lively debates brought together the different perspectives of 35 nations, but also led to a forwardlooking communiqué that identified NATO's role in key areas.

Driven by a dynamic website featuring live-blogging and videos by young journalists, the Young Atlanticist Summit laid the groundwork for the launch of a major new initiative – the Young Atlanticist Network. Designed to promote consensus and leadership, this network will provide a permanent on-line forum for Summit participants and other future leaders to exchange views, engage with world leaders, and stay in contact for years to come.

With this powerful launch of the Young Atlanticist Network, the YATA family continues to grow in size and breadth. With new outreach to Kazakhstan as well as Afghanistan, YATA will continue to engage young leaders in these critical nations and to utilize state of the art technologies to bring together representatives from across the globe. Planning is currently in the works for a future Young Atlanticist Summit in 2009 and the Atlantic Council of the United States very much looks forward to working with its partners on yet another successful endeavour. See you next year!

By Brooke Heaton

Bucharest: A Fusion of Fresh Ideas, New Friends, and Mysterious Hosts

By George Turner, UK YATA Member

For participants such as myself, the run up to the Young Atlanticists’ Summit in Bucharest was filled with curious anticipation. Who would be the final speakers addressing us? and who exactly were our hosts? the secretive Romanian Intelligence Service.

My arrival in Bucharest, a day earlier than the majority of the participants, added to the mystery. I was met at the airport by two men who informed me that they were taking me to my accommodation, but whose English extended little further than that. Our final destination ended up being the student residence of the faculty of economics, where the early arrivals were staying until our transfer to the Romanian Intelligence Service Academy the next day.

As we sped through the streets of Bucharest, I was immediately struck by the overwhelming security presence, there were groups of policemen standing on every street corner throughout the city. Romania had brought in 10,000 extra police from around the country to Bucharest that week. Lining the security corridor through which the worlds leaders whizzed through the city, were armored and armed men who bore a resemblance to judge dread. Teams of marksmen and special forces roamed the rooftops and helicopters hummed in the air.

The NATO summit had taken over the city, and its presence was felt everywhere. Every lamp post flew the triptych of Romanian, EU, and NATO flags, and billboards around the city carried images of Saakashvili, reminding the west of Georgia’s firm commitment to joining NATO. The type of advertisement that could only appear during a NATO summit. That Romania was taking the hosting of the NATO summit so seriously was of course no surprise. However what was a surprise was the almost equal regard in which our Young Atlanticists’ Summit was held.

From the two addresses from the Romanian President, the prestigious lineup of speakers that included George Bush and and a parade of other presidents and foreign ministers, to the enthusiasm of our mysterious hosts, The Romanian Intelligence Service, the Young Atlanticists were certainly not neglected in Bucharest. Our hosts went to every effort to make us feel welcome. The staff were always friendly and helpful and made sure we were amply supplied with toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and other amenities to make our stay as comfortable as possible. This all went a long way to help us ignore the certain idiosyncrasies of staying in an intelligence service academy, such as the curtain-less windows and the armed guards patrolling the perimeter.

There was a great eagerness on the part of the speakers to speak to us. Perhaps they simply enjoyed the more casual atmosphere that our Summit offered, like Thomas Lives, who encouraged us to stop being such Marxists, Groucho Marx that was, or DavidMiliband who threw off his jacket and shirked the podium to stroll to the floor of the auditorium and address us from the front of the stage. Or perhaps like Mikhael Saakashvili, they genuinely appreciated the opportunity to speak to a younger audience. Saakashvili commented to us how happy he was to be able to escape from the “old guys” for a moment, and sadly reflected that he was beginning to look less like us and more like them. At the end of the NATO summit, it was the Young Atlanticists’ Summit, that was chosen as the venue by the Romanian President to broadcast live to nation his report the events of the preceding days.

From all of these things one could only take away the great feeling of pride that the Romanian government had in holding the NATO summit and an avid desire to show the world the great progress that their country was making. It was clear that our hosts wanted the Young Atlanticists to travel back to their home countries and tell the world about Romania.

In the end the great efforts that the Intelligence Service made to engender a positive view of their country, with their many gifts of DVDs, coffee table books and literature, were superfluous. The grand symbolism of the event was enough to demonstrate the vast progress of Romania and Eastern Europe. The Young Atlanticist’s summit was held in the Romanian Intelligence Service Headquarters, the former Headquarters of the Securitate, one of the most repressive secret police forces of the former Eastern bloc. A building within which former spy-masters would have plotted the surveillance of enemy NATO summits was now facilitating a dialogue between allied youth. The NATO Summit itself was being held in the Parliament building, the former Presidential palace of Nicolai Ceausescu, and a building whose gargantuan size once stood for totalitarian rule.

Aside from promoting Romania, the Summit was also a success in connecting many bright and talented young people from around the world. I personally felt in awe of the achievements of my fellow Atlanticists, whether it was as an embedded reporter in Afghanistan or organizing a study abroad in Thailand. Friendships and perhaps some even closer relationships were formed, aided at all times by the Romanian Intelligence Service’s generous provision of alcohol. With the commitment made to found a YATA chapter in Afghanistan, this young people’s network will expand even further afield helping facilitate a cultural and intellectual dialogue that can only be of benefit to all involved.

Looking forward we can hope that the many friendships made and cross-cultural bonds formed will remain strong, and that the Young Atlanticists will help to promote a greater understanding between countries and cultures, and contribute to an international system that is fair, free and open for years to come.

Reconstruction Missions in Conflict Territory

By Netherlands Atlantic Youth Board Member Sophie Bijloos

On May 15th the Netherlands Atlantic Youth (Jonge Atlantici) co-organised a meeting with the student organisation of the Royal Military on reconstruction operations. This meeting provided insight on academic discussions about reconstruction and on practical problems arising in the field.

Prof. Dr. Ruud Janssens spoke about the historical context of reconstruction missions. He began by analysing the American perspective. In his opinion the military is unwilling to engage in reconstruction missions, because their training focuses on winning a war, not on reconstruction. Politicians are also unwilling to engage in reconstruction. George W. Bush has made a shift from being unfavourable to reconstruction in 2000 to being moderate in 2003, even comparing the potential of reconstruction in Iraq with the successes of reconstruction in Europe after the Second World War. This comparison however is, according to Dr. Janssens, false because Germany had a democratic past and Iraq has not.

The purpose of reconstruction to the Americans is creating a democratic country. Moreover, Iraq did not provide an instant threat to the national security of the countries now present there, while Germany did, making it difficult for politicians in the present day to gain support from their citizens. Concluding, Dr. Janssens stated that the greatest challenges to reconstruction are not on the military level, but on the political level, since reconstruction is not possible without the political will to stay for a long time and the readiness to pay for the mission.

Drs. Dick Leurdijk continued in this line with a statement by Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer that NATO should engage more in strategic messaging, in order to convince citizens of the importance of a mission. Politicians should also communicate more with the military. He urged the students of the Military Academy to view the letters of the present cabinet to understand the reasoning behind the mission. Soldiers should ask themselves what the goal and purpose of their mission is, he continued.

This is especially important since soldiers from the same country are sent to a war zone with different mandates. The government has a responsibility to make these mandates as clear as possible. Drs. Leurdijk discussed the mandate structure in the context of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan. He praised the model of KFOR in Kosovo because of its flexibility. He did raise doubts about the legal basis for intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Captain Jos Verdonschot spoke about his first-hand experience in Uruzgan, a province in the south of Afghanistan. He gave some examples of his experiences in the first months that he was stationed in Afghanistan showing that our western perspective in every way is very different from that of the Afghan people. He explained that the only way to work with the Afghan people is by providing them with security because otherwise they are too afraid to cooperate. He tried to understand the needs of the people in Afghanistan. While western politicians talk about the importance of roads in Afghanistan, the Afghan people have another list of priorities, such as water, power, Mosques and education. Politicians should listen to these wishes, if they want to win the trust of the Afghan people. Cap. Verdonschot praised the Dutch method in this context, of providing money for projects set up by the Afghan people to help them in their own reconstruction process. This provides them with the opportunity to work on their own priorities and it creates job opportunities for the local population.

The conclusion of the evening was that the communication between the soldiers in the field, the politicians and the citizens at home should improve in order to enable the two key elements of reconstruction; money and a long stay. The Netherlands Youth Atlantic could look back on a successful event in which many young participants were informed about an issue that has been very important to the trans-Atlantic community for more than 50 years.

Armenian Atlantic Youth Association: Continued Engagement after Bucharest

By Shakeh Badalyan, Head of the Armenian Youth Atlantic Association

At the Young Atlanticist Summit in Bucharest this year, two of the YATA participants were from the Armenian Youth Atlantic Association (AYAA). Just after their arrival back to Armenia, the AYAA board decided to organize a one-day event that would be devoted to the Bucharest Summit entitled “Bucharest NATO Summit: New Enlargement, New Challenges, New Opportunities”. The event took place on April 22, 2008 with the financial support of the US Embassy in Armenia. The event targeted mostly young people, who are the most dynamic part of society. They usually are not limited within historical, traditional, ethnical and other restrictions, which means that young people are more flexible for creating a free space for communication. The workshop hosted more than 40 students and young leaders from different NGOs. During the workshop, the participants expressed their opinions and heard from others on important issues such as regional identification, NATO’s roles in international affairs, NATO’s new enlargement and development, and the challenges it faces today. Some representatives from the Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries were invited as speakers. They particularly provided information to the youth on the activities that the Armenian government has already done within the IPAP, especially concerning the reforms done in the framework of civilianization process. The speakers from Armenian Youth Atlantic Association, who had already participated in the Young Atlanticist Summit, presented the main issues and topics discussed in the Summit, and during the second session they provided detailed information on the Young Atlanticist Summit and the Bucharest Summit in general.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Model NATO in Lithuania

The annual simulation game “How does NATO work?” was held on 3 – 4 of April, 2008 in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. The seminar was organized by Lithuanian Atlantic Treaty Association Youth Council (Lithuanian YATA) in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commission for NATO Affairs of the Parliament. This event, intended for the students of high schools, became a tradition since it is organized the third year in row to commemorate the establishment of NATO and Lithuania’s membership in NATO anniversaries. It provides a unique opportunity for students to study the role, structure and activities of NATO, as well as the military, political-security, economic, and social issues facing the Alliance.

It is symbolic that at the same time as the NATO summit in Bucharest was held, Lithuanian students simulated the North Atlantic Council and had discussions on the same issues – Membership Action Plan for Georgia and Ukraine. Fifty-two students from different parts of Lithuania took part in the simulation game. They were divided into two committees where they had to offer their recommendations and suggestions for the part of “MAP for Georgia and Ukraine” question of communiqué. Later students had to imitate the most important part of NATO decision-making process – the North Atlantic Council meeting, to represent allocated NATO member countries.

The chairperson of Commission for NATO Affairs, Mr. Jonas Cekuolis, made an opening speech. He illustrated the advantages of Lithuania‘s membership in NATO and the integration process to the Alliance. The chairperson was proud to emphasize that taking part in international operations, especially in Afghanistan, highly contributes to the good standing of Lithuania.

The seminar was held in the historical March 11th plenary chamber, where Lithuania’s independence was re-established in 1990. Students were impressed by the excursion to the new plenary chamber where the discussions of the interpellation for Lithuania’s Prime Minister Mr. Gediminas Kirkilas were also being held.

The second day started with a speech of the Second Secretary of United States embassy in Vilnius, Mr. Douglas Matthew Hoyt. He overlooked the establishment of NATO, NATO values, the situation of 1940s, the end of the Cold war and the most important issues nowadays. The Member of Parliament Dr. Egidijus Vareikis presented the main problems of post-soviet countries, security challenges in South Caucasus and “frozen” conflicts in the Eastern Europe. The third presentation about the situation in the province of Ghor in Afghanistan was illustrated with pictures from Afghanistan as mjr. Albertas Dusevičius took part in the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Students had many questions to the speakers, there were many interesting discussions.

Although there were hot debates in the committee meetings and North Atlantic Council because of different points of view of the countries students did not manage to decree of inviting Georgia and Ukraine in the MAP. France even had threatened to withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan unless USA changed its position. The decision of Georgia was delayed till the next summit and the decision of Ukraine was postponed till the referendum of membership in NATO will be held.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to the Beginning: The Origins of NATO

By Andrea Frontini, Italian Youth Atlantic Treaty Association

Report on YATA Gorizia 2008 Lecture: “The Vandenberg Resolution and the Origins of the North Atlantic Treaty” On April 22nd 2008, the Gorizia Branch of the Italian Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, in partnership with the Political Science Student Association of the University of Trieste, organized an academic lecture on the 60th Anniversary of the Vandenberg Resolution, which represented the first step towards the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty and the subsequent birth of NATO itself.

The event, which took place at the Gorizia Branch of the University of Trieste, saw the kind participation of Mr. Fabrizio W. Luciolli, Secretary General of the Italian Atlantic Treaty Association, Mr. Georg Meyr, President of the local chapter of the Italian Atlantic Treaty Association and Professor of History of International Relations at the University of Trieste, and Mr. Stefano Pilotto, Professor of International Politics and European Integration at the University of Trieste and senior member of the Italian Atlantic Committee.

The lecture, which was followed by several graduate and undergraduate students of diplomacy and international relations of the University of Trieste, first focused on an indepth analysis of the historical and geopolitical background of the Vandenberg Resolution, including a comprehensive examination of the premises of the Cold War, and it eventually evolved in a broader reflection on NATO’s transformation throughout the twentieth century, and the crucial challenges faced by the Alliance nowadays.

The first session of the lecture was inaugurated by Professor Georg Meyr, who provided the audience with a remarkable introduction of the security environment in Europe after the end of the Second World War. During his intervention, Professor Georg Meyr drew a masterful scenario of the chronological evolution of European politics from the Peace Conferences of Yalta and Potsdam (1945-1946) to the creation of the Brussels Treaty in March 1948 – just a few months before the approval of the Vandenberg Resolution by the US Senate – by highlighting the rise of the bipolar competition and its impacts on Western Europe.

Eventually, Professor Stefano Pilotto held a speech on the creation of the Vandenberg Resolution in June 1948, and skillfully examined the crucial reappraisal of American foreign policy between 1947 and 1949, which set off with the so-called Truman Doctrine and later culminated in the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in April 1949. After analyzing the main features of the Vandenberg Resolution - which officially allowed the American Government to settle bilateral and collective agreements for purposes of security and mutual defense – Professor Pilotto devoted a key portion of his intervention to an extensive report on the diplomatic negotiations for the creation of a new system of multilateral security in Western Europe. These negotiations took place between 1948 and 1949 and ultimately led to the creation of the Atlantic Alliance.

Finally, Mr. Fabrizio W. Luciolli concluded the lecture by summing up the main features of NATO’s transformation in the last decades, and accurately pointed out the main topics linked to NATO’s future perspectives. In his final remarks, Mr. Luciolli highlighted NATO’s inherent capacity to rapidly adapt to the current strategic environment, especially with regard to the major threats of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and emphasized the Alliance’s continuing commitment to liberty, democracy and stability.

The lecture, which ended with a general debate over transatlantic security, also marked a crucial step in the creation of a local chapter of the Italian Youth Atlantic Treaty Association in Gorizia, which has been operating since February 2008 in order to build up a solid group of students committed to the aims and objectives of NATO. Since then, the YATA chapter of Gorizia has been working to implement the abovementioned goals, through a wide range of tools, such as a local newsletter, public presentations, debates and other educational activities.

Moreover, the creation of a YATA branch in Gorizia, on the borderline between Italy and the Republic of Slovenia, could also represent a significant contribution to thereinforcement, and even the expansion, of the process of Euro-Atlantic integration: a brand new community of common security and shared prosperity.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Danish Delight

Oh, I'm alive! Yesterday, before finishing up on our Afghanistan theme, we all had the chance to break a great barrier (I know I did!): Jumping from the parachute training tower at the special forces. What you need: A tall, tall, tall tower (at least 100 meters high), some strong ropes and a special forces soldier. And of course, NO FEAR! I believe the entire group felt revived after the jump and ready for yet another day of lectures. Later on we went to the Nothernmost point of Denmark, where the Atlantic and the Baltic seas collide.
Today the programme is concentrating on South Caucasus. The lecture by Per Carlsen, the danish ambassador to Russia, inspired great debate in the group and Vladimir Socor, managed to guide us through the pitfalls of energy security. Ib Faurby gave a general introduction to the problems and conflicts in the South Caucasus region, making sure that we're all equipped for the crisis simulation that will begin tomorrow. I will get back to you when the simulation is over. Hopefully we will manage to save the Caucasus -and the world - as future leaders we should be able to do so!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Back at DAYS

The scene: Aalborg, the northern part of Denmark. At a military airbase 40-50 young people from the YATA network is gathered for a week of the well-known seminar, DAYS (Danish Atlantic Youth Seminar). I have the pleasure of being here for the second time as part of the staff. I know some of you have been here - those who have not is probably eager to go.
The participant arrived yesterday and after a night of traditional danish (heavy!) food and some good exercise (Danish folk dance) the participant went to bed to be ready for the first lectures today.
The topic of the first lectures: Afghanistan. The most important NATO operation and a topic that has been and will be on the lips of everybody for a long time.
Setting the standard was Professor Christopher Coker from LSE, as always entertaining and highly polemic.
Following a short coffee-break Thierry Legendre from the private office of the Sec Gen, Japp de Hopp Scheffer, gave a presentation of the official views of NATO on Afghanistan. Mark Draper from the US Embassy in Copenhagen gave an american perspective on the developments in the area, and now, it is time for a guided tour of Aalborg Old Town, by our house entertainer Mogens, who have been at DAYS since the beginning 23 years ago.
We'll be back for BBQ in the yard tonight and the famous dancing contest "GREASE-style".