National History

17 Mar 2007


by NATO Deputy Secretary General,
Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero,
at the opening of the NATO multimedia exhibition,
National History Museum, Bucharest

Minister Melescanu,
Mr. Olaru,
Director Museteanu,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be in Bucharest today to open this exhibition.  It is a key part of a series of initiatives in the run-up to another major event here in Bucharest in just two weeks’ time: the 2008 NATO Summit.

Our Bucharest Summit will be the first ever NATO Summit here in this country.  We expect – in the different events - some sixty Heads of State and Government, as well as senior representatives from several other leading international institutions, including the Secretary General of the United Nations.  This will make the Bucharest Summit a clear demonstration that NATO is determined to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow – and to meet them together with the entire International Community.

Before I say a few words about this exhibition, let me highlight what I believe to be the central issues on our Summit agenda.  To my mind, four issues stand out: 

First, our Bucharest Summit will reaffirm that NATO’s operations are vital to our security – and that they are successful.  We will make it very clear that NATO’s military presence in Kosovo will continue throughout the current critical phase.  We will reaffirm our determination to help ensure that Afghanistan will never again be a threat to global security.  But the solution in Afghanistan certainly cannot be a military one only. So the Summit will also emphasise the need for a Comprehensive Approach by the entire International Community.  Afghanistan is a common endeavour; we can only succeed if we act in common.

Second, our Summit will demonstrate that consolidating stability and security in Europe remains a major task for NATO.  I hope – and indeed expect – that the Bucharest Summit will open NATO’s door to new members from Southeast Europe, and that we will also strengthen our ties with other countries throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.  This will be another step in completing the unfinished business of Europe.  And that will be to everyone’s benefit.

Third, Bucharest will demonstrate that partnership with other nations and institutions is essential for NATO’s success.  NATO’s Euro-Atlantic partners have been invited to take part in our Summit in Bucharest.  We want to further engage them in meeting today’s security challenges together with us.  But we also want to think creatively about NATO’s network of partnership relations outside the Euro-Atlantic area.  We live in an age of globalisation, and our partnerships must reflect this.

Finally, Bucharest will demonstrate that NATO is working to address new risks and threats, XXI century challenges, such as cyber attacks, weapons of mass destruction, the vulnerability of our energy infrastructure.  We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to these dangers just because they don’t occur every day.  And there is simply no better venue for developing a common approach to these challenges than NATO.

This is a fairly substantial agenda.  It underlines how NATO has changed – and continues to change.  A static Cold War Alliance is turning into a security provider across Europe and far beyond.  How can we ensure that this complex transition is fully understood – and supported – by our publics?

One important way to explain the new, transforming NATO is precisely through exhibitions like this one.  This exhibition is fittingly titled “Securing our Future”.  It provides a broad overview of NATO – what it is, and what it does.  That is why it focuses not just on well-known aspects of NATO, such crisis management or our response to terrorism.  It also covers areas that are less well known, yet no less important, such as civil emergency planning, scientific collaboration and much more.  The exhibition shows that "securing our future" is the collective effort of many, aimed at ensuring the security of many more.

The exhibition is also NATO’s first ever multimedia display.   As such it aims to engage visitors not by exposing them to long pieces of text – but in a much more direct fashion.  Of course, I am here in an international capacity; but a famous European who happens to be a fellow countryman of mine, Leonardo Da Vinci, once said that man was in essence a visual creature, relying on images more than anything else.  This exhibit follows exactly that timeless logic.  It features powerful imagery: interesting photos and short video clips.  Some of the displays that you see here are even “interactive”.  They feature “touch screens”, including interactive stories related to Afghanistan, and a quiz. 

Another core part of this exhibition is the “NATO Cinema”.  There, you can watch short documentary films on our Afghanistan operation, on NATO’s response against terrorism, and so on.  Of course, there is also an opportunity for visitors to stop at the distribution unit and take home various brochures and multimedia products, such as DVDs.

The National History Museum will host this exhibition until the end of this month, and we are most grateful to its Director, Mr. Museteanu, for his generous hospitality.  The exhibition will then be transferred to the Summit venue, where it will be combined with even more displays.  Who knows – perhaps even some of NATO’s Heads of State and Government will find the time to explore what is on offer.  But it is you, Ladies and Gentlemen, who have the opportunity to see it first.

NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.  For an Alliance that brings together sovereign nation states from North America and Europe, that is a very respectable age indeed.  But, as both this exhibition and our upcoming Summit will demonstrate, NATO is going to last many, many more years.  The Alliance is a crucial instrument for safeguarding our security in an insecure world.  And with countries like Romania in our midst, we can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow even more effectively. 

Thank you.