At the beginning of a warm and delightful May, our National Security Studies class set off on a three-day trip to Brussels, paid for none other than the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)! Our first day was spent sightseeing in Bruges with a private tour guide. Colin Farrell was not to be found, but it was a great day and I enjoyed taking in the European charm (a new experience, being Bostonian).
The next day we started early. After a hearty breakfast we went to the NATO buildings in Brussels. We spent the whole day listening to speakers from the organisation; we heard about how the organisation is run, its aims and its strategic vision, and gained some valuable insight into the various different NATO departments and how they work together. Meeting with influential people from the organisation and hearing some of its decision makers open up about how NATO operates was truly a privilege to have experienced!
The third day started off with a quick trip back to the NATO headquarters for a few more discussions and presentations. Afterwards we were paid visits to the European Parliament building, the German embassy and the Israeli embassy. The most memorable part was witnessing Professor Dan Schueftan, Director of the National Security Studies centre at the University of Haifa, addressing the European Parliament and watching the reception that followed. His Q&A session was very lively and watching its apparent effect on EU Parliament decision makers was enlightening.
Another defining moment of the trip for me was having further opportunity to get to know my classmates and cementing bonds that I hope will only grow as the class goes on.
Led by great trip leaders, Prof. Dan Schueftan and our program coordinator Einat Hakim, taking part in great discussions and hearing presentations from people at NATO, bonding with my classmates and teachers, what could have been better? Oh, yeah, and the Belgian chocolate!
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