Students swap studies for diplomacy
16 July 2013
For the second year, a delegation from the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) was selected to take part in the Model NATO Youth Summit, which this year took place in Brussels from 8 to 13 July 2013.
Michelle Coles, Charlotte Langridge, Tom Hoare, Ricarda Scheele, Franziska Schuhmann and Ksenia Zubacheva, who are all Masters students at SPAIS, took part in the summit held in partnership with NATO itself.
Representing Norway at the conference the University of Bristol delegation was one of only two UK universities chosen from hundreds of applications to take part in the summit, the largest simulation of NATO’s decision-making process in the world. As Norwegians, the delegation relished the role of pushing Norway’s key agenda in NATO; the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.
Throughout the six-day event, students took the part of professional diplomats, engaging in debates on the conference’s theme of ‘Defining NATO capabilities towards 2020 – Meeting Future Global Security Challenges through Cooperation, Collaboration and Crisis Management’, and received briefings from high-level officials and renowned academics.
The Bristol delegation, which received funding from the Bristol University Alumni Trust, gained plaudits for its performance in committee sessions, both informal and formal. During the closing ceremony Michelle Coles was awarded best position paper on the Deputy Permanent Representative Committee; a testament to her hard work and that of the whole Bristol team in the run up to the summit.
‘The access we were given to NATO, European Parliament, and the Belgian Navy was unprecedented,’ said student delegate Tom Hoare. ‘Being able to work and socialise with truly engaged young International Relations professionals from all corners of the globe was an honour, and fantastic preparation for the real world of international diplomacy.’
The head of the delegation from New York University representing the Czech Republic, Ryan Scadlock, was also a recent SPAIS graduate.