Over the last 8 months, I have been working as a Virtual Student Foreign Service Intern for the US Mission to NATO. I have been working with USNATO staff in Brussels to develop a public diplomacy outreach program for students in the US and Europe. Although NATO has important operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and the African Union, it is not discussed nearly enough in the media or in the classrooms. My impression is that most students are unclear of what NATO actually does beyond their history lessons.
For those who don’t know, NATO is a political-military alliance of 28 nations around the world who come together to deal with issues of global security and defense. Founded in 1949, the NATO Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs meet regularly at the North Atlantic Council (NAC) to discuss security issues of mutual interest. Any decisions made are decided by consensus of the members. The next meeting is this month in Tallinn, Estonia. NATO Heads of Government meet at such forums-- another meeting will be held in Lisbon in November of this year. I am hoping to blog more about this month’s upcoming meeting in Tallinn. I’ll keep you posted.