A team of North­eastern stu­dents placed first at the 31st annual Inter­na­tional Model NATO Con­fer­ence in Wash­ington, D.C., ear­lier this month, besting more than two dozen del­e­ga­tions from higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions from Bel­gium, Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

At the con­fer­ence, each stu­dent team rep­re­sented a pre-​​​​assigned member state of NATO or the Euro-​​​​Atlantic Part­ner­ship Council. The pro­ceed­ings mir­rored those of the 67-​​​​year-​​​​old inter­gov­ern­mental mil­i­tary alliance, with stu­dents sit­ting on com­mit­tees and dis­cussing, debating, and writing res­o­lu­tions on today’s most pressing global issues.

North­eastern, which rep­re­sented Albania and Norway, has a long his­tory of con­fer­ence suc­cess. This year, the university’s Norway del­e­ga­tion placed first, marking the fifth con­sec­u­tive con­fer­ence in which a North­eastern team has been named the winner. The Albania del­e­ga­tion placed third. Of the 21 North­eastern stu­dents who com­peted, 20 won best del­e­ga­tion, com­mittee lead­er­ship, or out­standing chair awards.

 

I entered col­lege with U.S.-centric inter­ests, but Model NATO has opened my eyes to the inter­na­tional world.”
— Shane Godek, SSH’19

Philip D’Agati, Model NATO team advisor and asso­ciate teaching pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence, attrib­uted the impres­sive per­for­mance to months of intense training. To pre­pare for the com­pe­ti­tion, stu­dents spend sev­eral hours per week reading policy state­ments, writing mock res­o­lu­tions, and debating the issues in the university’s Model NATO class or club.

It is about men­tor­ship and ded­i­ca­tion and being part of a uni­ver­sity that truly values expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion with a global focus,” D’Agati said, explaining the long-​​running win­ning streak. “Put all of that together and you have a well-​​oiled machine that can foster great del­e­gates year after year.”

The Model NATO team is one com­po­nent of the university’s Inter­na­tional Rela­tions Council, a stu­dent group for those inter­ested in for­eign policy, inter­na­tional affairs, and effec­tive debate. Through par­tic­i­pa­tion in inter­ac­tive sim­u­la­tions of NATO as well as the United Nations and the League of Arab States, IRC mem­bers dis­cover the chal­lenges of inter­na­tional diplo­macy while devel­oping strong public speaking and negotiation skills.

Zach Badore, SSH’18, is a prime example. The third-​​year polit­ical sci­ence major joined the Model NATO club in his freshman year with an eye toward applying to law school and entering the Judge Advo­cate General’s Corps. Now he’s the pres­i­dent of the club, a prac­ticed public speaker with a pas­sion for inter­na­tional law and a much improved for­eign policy acumen.

Model NATO forces you to think on your feet and adapt to other people,” said Badore, who was named best del­e­gate on Norway’s mil­i­tary com­mittee, where he led a dis­cus­sion of NATO’s Readi­ness Action Plan. “It hasn’t changed what I want to do with my career, but it has improved my capacity to get ready for prac­ticing U.S. law in another country.”

 

It is about men­tor­ship and ded­i­ca­tion and being part of a uni­ver­sity that truly values expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion with a global focus.”
— Model NATO team advisor Philip D’Agati

Shane Godek, SSH’19, marked his first appear­ance at the con­fer­ence by win­ning a com­mittee lead­er­ship award for his work as Norway’s del­e­gate on the North Atlantic Council. In an inter­view a few days later, he noted that his expe­ri­ence in the Model NATO club has expanded his career ambitions.

I entered col­lege with U.S.-centric inter­ests, but Model NATO has opened my eyes to the inter­na­tional world,” said Godek, a second-​​year polit­ical sci­ence and eco­nomics com­bined major. “Now I’m more recep­tive to a career with an inter­na­tional scope.”