Officials from the UK Joint Delegation to NATO met yesterday with university students representing the UK in a week-long NATO youth summit. The meeting provided the students with an invaluable opportunity to learn about the work of the UK Delegation, NATO and the big issues in defence and security policy from Delegation staff members working very closely in these areas.
The students from the College of Europe in Bruges were participating in a “Model NATO Youth Summit”, which brings together young people from across the Alliance and its partner countries to simulate the work which goes on within NATO HQ, mainly within the Alliance’s many committees.
At the meeting, UK Delegation officials briefed the youth participants on a number of different issues and policy areas which are of importance to the work of the UK and NATO currently. These included an overview of the partnerships which NATO has with non-member countries, such as the Mediterranean Dialogue, which deals with relations between NATO members and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Other issues discussed included Afghanistan, NATO-Russia relations and the Connected Forces Initiative.
Speaking after the meeting, the UK Delegation’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Patrick Turner, stressed the importance of engaging with young people on defence and security issues, saying:
Engagement with young people, both from the UK and other nations, is an important part of what we - both the UK Delegation, other Allies and the NATO staff – do here: for the future we need a new generation which is engaged with and knowledgeable about defence and security issues, and about NATO.
Turner, who chaired the meeting with the youth delegates, also commented that:
It was especially enjoyable to spend time with the group representing the UK at the NATO Youth Summit – apart from the UK, the group came from France, Turkey and Belgium. They were well-informed and well-prepared and engaged in a very lively debate as they prepared themselves for roles representing the UK in discussions on a variety of current NATO issues. I am sure they will have done an excellent job – and we will look forward to seeing them back at NATO in the future!
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