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April 25, 2012 |  Print  Your Opinion  

Editorial Team

Your Ideas, Your NATO: Insights from the Next Generation

Editorial Team: You are cordially invited to a discussion in Berlin between Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt, US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy, and the winners of our policy workshop competition. The dialogue will focus on unity in the Alliance, NATO’s partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense.

The Atlantic Initiative, the publisher of, will be hosting a policy exchange in Berlin on Monday, May 21, 2012 from 4:00-6:00 PM, where the winners of's policy workshop competition "Your Ideas, Your NATO" will present their team’s policy recommendations to Philip D. Murphy, the US Ambassador, and Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense and President of the German Atlantic Association. The event will be held in English. Please register either via Facebook or via email, if you would like to attend this event at Wilhelmstr. 67, 10117 Berlin. You may also download an invitation.

This exchange between members and transatlantic decision makers is the culmination of an innovative policy formulation process that represents our think tank’s unique approach to generating new ideas. The competition questions were developed in coordination with NATO and reflect NATO's agenda for the upcoming Chicago Summit. The questions were then put to our community in the form of an op-ed competition. Our members responded with over 200 submissions from 47 NATO Member and Partner countries.

In each category, five articles were shortlisted and put up for discussion for one week in our Open Think Tank. During this week, the five shortlisted authors were tasked with making constructive comments on each other's articles and defending their arguments. Our editorial team then created interactive wikis from these debates and hosted conference calls through which the participants reached a consensus and refined their arguments. These online policy workshops resulted in three Atlantic Memos:

The five shortlisted authors from "Category 1: Values and Community" produced Atlantic Memo 38, One NATO: Strengthening Unity through Transparency and Engagement.

The shortlisted writers from "Category 2: Partnerships after the Arab Spring" collaborated to create Atlantic Memo 39, Partners in Democracy, Partners in Security: NATO and the Arab Spring.

The shortlisted authors from "Category 3: Smart Defense" jointly wrote Atlantic Memo 40, Get "Smart": Paving the Way to a More Efficient Alliance.

The first memo has already received feedback from members of the Canadian and Norwegian assemblies and a Policy Advisor for the Dutch House of Representatives.

The winners in each of the three categories will receive a cash award of EUR 500, while the runner up from each category will receive EUR 250. Stephanie Baulig of the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich was the winner of "Category 1: Values and Community" and wrote the article, NATO Academies: Learning Together, Training Together, Feeling Together. Geoffrey Levin of the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Bologna Center won "Category 2: Partnerships after the Arab Spring" and wrote the piece, Endowing the Arab Spring Generation with the Skills to Govern. Samuel Eamon Erickson of New York University won "Category 3: Smart Defense" and wrote the article, NATO's Smart Sales: Smart Defense as a Product.

We would like to thank our international expert jury of academics and think tankers for their time and substanital work on the competition. The jury included Prof. Colette Mazzucelli from New York University, Dr. Christian Mölling from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Mr. Giuseppe Belardetti from the Atlantic Treaty Association, and Dr. Jorge Benitez from the Atlantic Council (USA).

The goal of the competition was to encourage the next generation of decision-makers and opinion leaders to consider the future of NATO and develop innovative solution-oriented approaches to contribute to NATO's mission. This is in line with's focus on issues affecting transatlantic relations. Founded in 2007 as the first online foreign policy think tank, aims to promote open and constructive debate and encourage people of diverse backgrounds, not only from Europe and North America, to participate in developing solutions online. We especially want to make a new generation of thinkers and young leaders heard by giving them the opportunity to publish and debate side by side with established experts. We encourage you to join and contribute to the Open Think Tank.


The competition has been made possible by generous contributions from the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the US Mission to Germany, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation

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