180328mnc400Hampton Roads students practice diplomacy and seek consensus.

On March 28th, students from the Hampton Roads community in the Eastern United States participated in the annual Model NATO Challenge: A forum to practice diplomacy and seek consensus through a role-playing exercise that simulates real-world issues faced by the Alliance.

The goal of the Model NATO Challenge is to give students the opportunity to learn about the political, military and cultural character of a NATO country while working towards building consensus as a member of the NATO Alliance.

Twenty-nine student ambassadors, mentored by NATO military advisors, represented a NATO member nation in a real-life simulation challenge affecting the Alliance. Participants also included five alternates as well as members of a Press Corps.

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation’s Representative to the Pentagon, Brigadier General Imre Porkolab, a former professor at Virginia Wesleyan University, opened the proceedings with robust remarks where he noted, “we are moving from a complicated to a complex environment and we need to embrace unpredictability.”

The Model NATO Challenge raises awareness about NATO’s role and challenges in the world, encourages analytical thinking, and offers the opportunity to develop insight into a member country’s political, military and cultural background. Students are tested on their capacity to discuss, engage, argument and resolve complex security matters.

Since its inception, the goal of NATO has remained the same: to preserve peace. At the heart of this forum, and of NATO, are the shared values that bind NATO member nations together; freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. These values shape the manner in which democratic leaders and democratic countries contribute to international security and stability.

The Model NATO Challenge is a collaboration between NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, Virginia Wesleyan University, and the Norfolk NATO Festival.

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