Global Affairs Club Tries Their Hand at Solving Real-World Issues in Mock Alliance Debates
The Annual International Model North Atlantic Treaty Organization Conference is hosted by Howard University in Washington, D.C. and was held from Feb. 13-16, 2020. This year marked the 35th Annual Conference and the third annual attendance from Embry-Riddle. The ten student attendees had the chance to debate alongside prestigious teams such as the US Air Force Academy, Northeastern University, Universite Libre de Brussels, Malmö University, and the Royal Military College of Canada.
Multiple delegates represented countries across six different committees: the North Atlantic Council (NAC), Military Committee, Political Affairs Committee, Nuclear Planning Group, Committee on Emerging Security Challenges, and the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee. The school’s Model NATO team represented both Turkey and Norway. In these committees, the participants take part in a simulation of NATO debate on pre-researched topics and react to a continuously-updated mock crisis event. The discussions and debate in each committee drive the formulation of writing of resolutions. The resolutions must be passed in each committee by unanimous consensus, so it is vital an agreement between members be reached.
Taking a red-eye flight Wednesday night, the team experienced delays which resulted in a later landing in the capitol than anticipated. On the agenda for Thursday morning was a visit to the embassy of the country delegates represent, but due to this delay only those representing Norwegian had the chance to meet with actual diplomats from their represented country, gaining insight into the stances of the country and solidifying their researched positions. Later the same day, the team attended the opening session of the conference which primarily consisted of a keynote speaker, James Goldgeier, who gave insight on past NATO issues and the future of the 75-year-old organization.
On Friday morning, the first committee meetings began. The day was filled with debate and writing of draft papers on different topics across all six of the committees.The Military Committee had to deal with a humanitarian crisis focused on Turkey with impact on nearby states such as Italy, Greece, and Albania. The Embry-Riddle team had a small chance to explore the nearby areas in the evening after a long day of committee. Saturday morning saw the conclusion of committee events, except for the NAC and Military Committees, which would meet again on Sunday morning. This left Saturday afternoon open for the team members to explore more the landmarks of the nation’s capitol, from the Smithsonian museums to numerous monuments. Later that evening, the NAC met again to pass all the resolutions that had been previously passed in other committees in order to finalize a comprehensive 50-page communique.
Mackenzie Creighton represented Turkey in the Political Affairs Committee and noted that “while some countries could be extremely difficult to work with on resolving differences of opinion, the fact that in the end consensus was reached and policy passed displays the importance of practicing this type of debate rather than just majority-focused voting.”
On Sunday morning final communique in the NAC was passed and a focused humanitarian response resolved the crisis in the Military Committee. The communique will be sent to actual NATO headquarters for new ideas presented on the future of the alliance. After this, an awards ceremony commenced for both team awards and individual awards. Mackenzie Creighton won an award for Superior Delegate, as a top member in her committee.
Colin Molitor, who represented Turkey in the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee, concluded that “it was an amazing trip that offered insight into the operations of NATO and how countries can reach a consensus despite differing needs.”