YP Day gave a group of young professionals and academics, who are knowledgeable in the fields of foreign policy, security and defence, a unique opportunity to impact policy, enhance their understanding of modern global security, engage with senior leaders and expand their networks.
Building on the success of the three previous years, this year's young professionals participated in a full-day of working group discussions to produce a list of recommendations for NATO decision makers to discuss during the NATO Transformation Seminar (NTS), which is being held alongside YP Day. Working group topics focused on the broad theme of assurance and adaptation for the future in a fluid security environment.
ACT Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policy, United States Army Brigadier General Matthew L. Brand opened with some welcoming remarks.
"Innovative solutions," said General Brand. "That's what we are looking for from you, something realistic and applicable. We'll take your best ideas and compare them to what you older colleagues come up with and at the end of it all we will have a cross generational product."
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros gave some inspiring words during the keynote speech.
"Your generation and future generations not only need NATO but you deserve a NATO that is strong, relevant, fit for purpose and ready to face the challenges of the twenty-first century and centuries to come," said General Paloméros.
More than 60 young professionals participated in the solutions-oriented exercise with the intent of finding creative, but practical solutions to key NATO challenges.
"It's a privilege to be here with so many people from so many different backgrounds," said Joe Moyer, a young professional from Pennsylvania. "It's a great opportunity to get to hear from NATO leadership and get to discuss issues that are very current and pressing not only for the United States but for its partners in NATO."
The experience of the young professionals ranged from having a few years working in the field of global perspectives to the ambitious interns looking to make a difference in NATO.
"I'm completely new in this field so I felt a bit underprepared before I came," said Teuta Ismaili, a young professional from Croatia. "But now that I'm here, and everyone is so nice, it's a great opportunity to express my opinion about NATO."
Some select young professionals ended their day by preparing to join their older colleagues at the NATO Transformation seminar the following day.