Experts examine cultural awareness and public perception in NATO operations

  • 24 Oct. 2013 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 09 Dec. 2013 15:53

More than 70 representatives from 34 Allied and partner countries gathered at a seminar entitled, "Assessing the impact and role of cultural awareness and public perceptions in NATO operations" which took place on 24 October at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

Participants engaged in an open and constructive exchange of knowledge and practical experience in overcoming cultural differences during NATO operations and missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan. They called for a systematic review of lessons learned and best practices in cultural awareness in operations and identified specific capabilities that individual Allies and partner countries have at their disposal. 

Delegates agreed that a lack of cultural awareness could have a disproportionately negative impact on NATO operations and highlighted an increased need for the Alliance to provide training in this area and to work to improve public perception. The discussion was a clear example of the two-way dialogue fostered by NATO’s partnership policy.

Ambassador Jiřί Šedivý, the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to NATO and the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy at NATO, Ambassador Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopulos opened the seminar. The guest of honour, HRH Prince Feisal of Jordan delivered the keynote speech, setting the overall context for the ensuing presentations and discussions.

Officials from the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) informed the audience about the specialised courses provided by their Peace Operation Training Center that are available to both NATO and partner countries. A representative from the JAF Directorate for Women´s Affairs introduced the gender aspects of cultural awareness in operations.

The seminar was co-organised by the Czech Republic and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in co-operation with NATO’s Political Affairs and Security Policy Division.

The Czech Republic has carried out the role of NATO Contact Point Embassy in Amman, Jordan since January 2013.