On the opening day, the participants were welcomed to NATO Headquarters in Brussels where NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address about NATO’s strategic vision.
“The 21st century security must be cooperative security, teamwork among Allies, other nations and organizations with shared interest and values. Global challenges need global cooperation and I hope that your simulation of the NAC and other NATO committees will reflect that spirit,” said Mr Fogh Rasmussen.
Following the Secretary General’s remarks, participants met with the national delegations they were representing during the simulation. Because the participants were not representing delegations of their own nationalities, they had the opportunity to learn not only about NATO processes in general but also about the particular views of the countries they were representing. National delegations welcomed the opportunity to engage with the summit participants and share their experiences as members of the Alliance.
Participants agreed that the event was informative and worthwhile. Ayse Fidanci (Belgium) called MoNYS “a rewarding experience, I enjoyed every second of this whole week,” while Cecile Spanggaard Hahn-Petersen (Denmark) thanked the participating delegations, journalists and individuals of MoNYS 2012, saying they were, “inspiring and fantastic people”. “Beginners and experienced alike, everything I have learned about simulations, I have learned from you,” she added.
After their day at NATO Headquarters, the group attended a formal ceremony at the Royal Military Academy where they listened to an address by Ambassador Kolinda Grabar, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. Welcoming the MoNYS initiative, Ambassador Grabar hailed the “young, talented individuals” as “the future political and security elites”.
A unique concept in Europe, MoNYS was organised by a team of 26 students from 12 countries with the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division and other institutions such as Ministère de la Région Bruxelles Capitale, the Atlantic Treaty Association, Université Libre de Bruxelles, STAR Alliance, Ibis Hotels and Cactus Audiovisuel. The event also benefited from the visibility and communication partnerships with the Atlantic Community, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the European Geopolitical Forum, the Royal Military Academy, Bringing Europeans Together Association and Eyes on Europe.