This is the second year that the graduate program of National Security Studies visits the NATO headquartered in Brussels. They used this opportunity to ask, learn and expand their knowledge about NATO and the EU with leading experts.
Blog post written by Fanella Ollimo, graduate student in the international National Security master’s program, class of 2015-2016.
As a class we got an official invitation to visit the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels. This is a trip we had been planning for months. Before we left Israel we had to go through a security check. Travelling as a group to NATO, one of our security measures was to make sure that we did not advertise where we were on social media.
At the NATO HQ, the security scrutiny to get into the vicinity was not anything new to anybody living in Israel but it is of great measures. We had several speakers talking to us on the function of NATO, military roles it plays globally and the threats and challenges that NATO has to deal with currently.
I noticed that most speakers if not all focused on Russia as the biggest threat NATO has to deal with and this situation seemed to be much more difficult to handle because Russia was a friend to NATO for several years before she turned against the same organization.
My highlight at NATO was coming face to face with Jamie Shea “the face of NATO” NATO spokesman during the 1999 Kosovo War. He is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO but he answered most of the questions on the Kosovo war especially from a Serbian classmate.
We also had the chance to meet the Israeli Ambassador to the EU and NATO. He came to our hotel and had an hour of lively chat with him.
The EU also had invitations for us, first of all, we were at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and we meet with Mr. Raul Fuentes who is in charge of the Israeli-Palestine Relations. He was quiet interesting and immediately after our meeting with him we proceeded to the European Parliament meeting with the UK representative. He gave us reasons why the UK wants to leave the EU.
The three-day trip had so much for us to learn from. Talking to people with a career in National Security made us see a bigger picture of what is required of us as National Security students and how important it is to have people in this area of specialty. I realized how much potential I have after my MA program at University of Haifa.