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Stirling politics students win place on NATO simulation

5 mins read

The two students are participating in the event which takes place today, after winning the opportunity to exercise their negotiating skills at model NATO

4th year politics students Elizabeth Dryburgh, and Alex Johnson have been chosen to represent Latvia and Luxembourg respectively at the model NATO simulation.

The event is hosted by the British International Studies Association (BISA), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the UK Delegation to NATO.

The event, taking place virtually today for obvious reasons aims to mimic the scenarios NATO faces by having chosen participants respond to a simulated crisis; how would they act, and what decisions would they take?

Fifteen universities from across the UK are taking part, with Stirling the only Scottish institution represented. 

A fantastic achievement for the two politics students.

Prior to the event, students participating are randomly allocated a country from NATO’s member. They are then given a specific briefings pertaining to their allocated country, receiving information concerning key facts and figures about their allocated country.

They are then tasked with carrying out their own research on their country’s national assets, existing emergency plans and important allies, to help them prepare for a crisis and how they would respond in a NATO setting.

The flag of NATO. Image Credit: NATO

For this year’s exercise, delegates have been warned the full-day online simulation will involve a series of major seismic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tidal surges in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

Dr Megan Dee, Lecturer in International Politics at Stirling said: “We are really proud of Elizabeth and Alex, who fought off stiff competition from our third and fourth year students in order to secure a place at this year’s event. In doing so, they become the only students from a Scottish institution to participate.

“Model NATO is deliberately designed to increase awareness of the role and activities of NATO as well as the major security, political and social issues facing it and member nations. The exercise provides a unique opportunity for students to develop their critical thinking, leadership and diplomacy skills.”

When speaking to the University of Stirling, the students discussed a bit about their preperation for the event, and what they expect from their experience, including honing their skills and putting their knowledge into practice.

Elizabeth, 23, who is originally from Scotland but grew up in Dubai, said: “I’m really interested in working in international relations in the future and Model NATO will give me great experience and a unique insight into this sector.

“It has been really interesting to learn more about NATO and the role it plays in world politics. As part of my preparations, I have done a lot of reading to get to grips with who Latvia’s allies are and what sort of stance they take on certain issues, so I can best replicate how their real-life delegate would react in a major crisis.”

Alex, 22, who is from the Isle of Man, said: “I am most looking forward to the dynamics that emerge from the negotiation process. As I am representing Luxembourg – a nation which has limited military capabilities but a unique and historical role within the alliance – it will be interesting to see how much I can utilise my country’s interests and diplomatic position within the unpredictable scenario the agenda presents.

“The event will be an excellent opportunity for me to develop my knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and hopefully act as a stepping stone towards working in a career involving foreign policy.”

The event takes place today, with Brig aiming to follow up with the students on their experiences- stay tuned!

Featured Image Credit: The Atlantic Forum

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