Political Science students visit NATO headquarters in Brussels

26 November 2019 Faculty of Mass Communications, Philology and Political Science
In September, 4th year students majoring in Political Science Valeria Alekseeva and Daniil Logushkin won an essay competition on the architecture of European security and the prospects for its formation in the context of relations between Russia, NATO and EU, which enabled them to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The essay competition was organized by the Information Centre for International Security (ICIS), the expert research study team for the issues of international politics and security. In total, the organizing committee received 101 applications for participation from students and postgraduates from Russia, Armenia and Georgia. Works were received from 68 participants from 32 universities in 24 cities of Russia. According to the results of the expert assessment, 20 participants from 18 Russian universities were recognized as winners of the competition, including the students of Altai State University.

They shared their impressions of the trip.

Daniil Logushkin:

“On the first day, we visited NATO headquarters. We were allowed into the building for visitors, the conference was held in the room created for such meetings. Students from Spain were sitting next to us. First, we talked with one of the organizers of the meetings from NATO, Tomasz Chlon from Poland. He was quite fluent in Russian and was engaged in a section on public diplomacy. We met, he asked everyone a few questions about the biography that we wrote and sent before the meeting. Further, we listened to several speakers from NATO. Mostly they were Americans. Each report took about 30-60 minutes, and then we had 20-30 minutes to ask our questions and discuss the report. Somewhere around 70% of all questions were somehow related to the personal scientific interests of the participants: most of them were international students who studied European political organizations and their individual representatives. On the second day, we visited SHAPE, the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). The meeting was shorter than the first one, but the format was the same. This time there were more formalities, they talked about what the organization’s functions and structure. They also touched upon the relations with Russia. In addition to SHAPE, on the second day we got to visit the European, where three Russian-speaking members delivered their reports. Most of all I liked the frankness of the organizations’ members, their willingness to carry on an open dialogue, not only on the formal, but also on the informal level. We noticed that they showed great interest in establishing and building relationships with our country. The visits were organized at a very high level, the organizers were very punctual, and excellent conditions were created for comfortable living, pastime and sightseeing trips of all participants. In my opinion, the best lectures were devoted to cyber security and the history of disarmament after the Cold War. Both lecturers were active members of the relevant NATO units, so they spoke about the problems from the point of view of professionals. The main advice I can give is: do not be afraid to participate in all interesting events, including those organized by foreign partners. Everyone has a chance to go somewhere and take part in very interesting events.”

Valeria Alekseeva:

“We had an excursion to NATO headquarters and to the European Commission. We talked with different speakers and experts on European security. There was not so much free time, but we managed to explore Brussels. I can’t even say what I liked more. Probably, I enjoyed every single thing. Brussels is a beautiful, clean city. Thanks to this trip, I reconsidered many things. The trip motivated me to dedicate more time to learning English and participating in competitions. I recommend everyone to participate in such events, because this is a real chance to see Europe, to form their opinion about foreign countries. It gives tremendous motivation, especially to creative people.”

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