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.

1 comment:

Brad said...

My name is Brad Borougerdi and I am involved in a Model NATO conference in Washington this Feb. 19-22. I was wondering if you have any information for me that might be useful while preparing for this Model NATO Conference. We are representing Lithuania.