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Northeastern’s Model NATO team can’t be stopped

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.”