25th Anniversary of YATA

Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) with the support of NATO PDD and Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), organized a successful Hybrid 2 days conference at NATO HQ for the 25th anniversary of YATA, on the 26th and 27th of November.

YATA and ATA during all these years managed to promote NATO and transatlantic values to the next generation. YATA by organizing this conference gave to interested people and especially young people, the opportunity to discuss and understand NATO’s values and core principles. NATO, as an Alliance and military-political organization, will continue to play a key role as an effective crisis manager and as a framework for security cooperation across the Euro-Atlantic area, public opinion should help reshape the alliance to meet future challenges.

During the first day of the event the youth had the opportunity to be briefed by high officials of NATO such as the DSG, the DASG and other NATO Officials which shared some of their thoughts about what kind of future we will be living in by 2030, and about what kind of NATO we want.

The second day, YATA had internal meetings among its national chapters with distinguished speakers such as the Secretary General at NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and the Head, Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary General at NATO and organized a real platform for new programs and developments.

During these two days our participants had also the opportunity to make questions to our distinguished speakers.

The mission of this event was to set the table for discussion and to bridge the gap between those active chapters and the one that are struggling with existing. The mission of the young representatives during this event was to communicate messages with youth, to talk about the importance of NATO, taking into account opinion of youth and their vision of NATO’s future mission, and the future of YATA.

With the organization of these two days conference YATA aimed to encourage the participants to actively supply their ideas on what should be done to ensure that our vision of ‘NATO 2030’ becomes reality. For YATA was also a unique opportunity to take a few days to assess and debate the current status of their association and its future outlook. The number of participants was 24 young representatives, one from each YATA national chapter and the EB.

More specifically During the first day at NATO HQ,

Opening session:

The president of YATA, Juxhina Gjoni, on her opening remarks said that: “YATA has played in years and continue to play an important role in the dissemination of the transatlantic values. In an era of fast changing threats and challenges to security, and raising strategic competition, we as YATA remain focused in informing and developing educational and communication strategies throughout our network of young professionals and experts’’.

In the same line The Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Ms. Carmen Romero, in its remarks, has expressed gratitude for the work done by YATA over these 25 years and for have bring NATO closer to its people, helping NATO to understand the youth audience better. NATO and YATA have evolved together during this quarter of a century of changes in the security environment. We look forward to continuing our journey of cooperation together for the future of the alliance.

Prof. Fabrizio Luciolli, Founder of YATA, President of the Comitato Atlantico Italiano and former president of Atlantic Treaty Association, retraced the milestones that led to the creation of YATA and its growth over these 25 years. President Luciolli invite us in continuing our action in the years to come to reinforce and promote the Atlantic values. According to Prof. Luciolli, YATA’s daily works represent an extraordinary added value to the work made by NATO, and the hope is that the collaboration will continue to intensify and strengthen YATA.

Reflecting on today’s security challenges such as Russia, China, cyber and hybrid attacks, terrorist threats and threats to democratic values, the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Mircea Geoana, said that these are not short-term problems with easy fixes, but multi-generational challenges, which no country can face alone. He said that in a dangerous world, solidarity is strength, underscoring the important role that YATA and its young members can play.

I Session

Mr. Nicola de Santis, Head of the Engagement section of NATO PDD and one of the original members of YATA, in his remarks, has underlined the importance of investing in the new generations as multipliers of the voice of NATO and transatlantic values within a contemporary civil society born and rose in a period of peace. At the end of his speech, Mr. de Santis received a plaque from the President of YATA in the name of the YATA to commemorate these 25 years of cooperation.

II Session

Mr. Bruno Lété, from The German Marshall Fund of the United States, has identified three primary issues on which NATO needs to concentrate in the next decade: power, tech, and politics; and keep open the dialogue on defense and security with the EU. Mr. Benjamin Haddad, from the Atlantic Council, gave us an overview of the perceptions about the alliance and its needs from the United States perspective

III Session

Mr. Gabriele Cascone, Head of Counter-terrorism Section at NATO, gave us the sense of how the topic of countering terrorism is relevant. NATO developed a set of principles and parameters for its commitment:

  1. NATO sees itself as part of a broader effort by the international community
  2. Helping in counterterrorism in areas in which it has expertise
  3. Countering terrorism is firstly a national responsibility
  4. Cooperating with international partners
  5. 3 main pillars “ACE” Awareness, capabilities, engagement

Ms. Chelsey Slack, Deputy Head of the Cyber Security Section, in her remarks, has introduced us to the strategic components that characterize cyberspace and how NATO has adapted its Strategic approach over the years. From a technical issue, cyberspace being recognized as forth domain in 2016, allowing the Alliance to apply art 5 in case of cyberattack. Furthermore, Mr. Daniel Black, Senior cyber threat analyst, provided us with an overview of the concept of “cyber-Threat”, defining #cyberspace not only as a domain, but also as a medium for all the other domains

Closing remarks

The president of the ATA, Mr. James Townsend, pointed that YATA is the engine of ATA. YATA is becoming important, addressing all of these current issues such as Russia and China. He also thanked YATA for the hard work it has done all those past 25 years.

Day two:

I Session

In celebrating #YATA25, we had the honor of hosting Ms Ruxandra Popa, Secretary-General of NATO Parliamentary Assembly / Assemblée parlementaire de l’OTAN. Ms Popa explained the NATO PA perspective on the New Strategic Concept and how the Parliamentary Assembly support NATO in its strategic revision.

Ms. Benedetta Berti, Head of Policy Planning at NATO, guided us in an in-depth explanation of NATO’s New Strategic Concept, allowing us to understand its mechanisms, evolutions and concretely the work behind the definition of the new NATO strategy.

II Session

During the 25th anniversary celebration, we had the pleasure to hear the inspiring words of Ms Aliki Mitsakos, founding member and Secretary-General of GAAEC and President / WIIS-Hellas, about the role of women in Peace and Security.

The event would not have been achieved without the participation and involvement of our speakers’, participants and the Support of NATO, YATA and ATA. The engagement of young in the life of the YATA is the only recipe for our success. We would like to give a special thanks to all those amongst you who contribute with suggestions proposals and comments on how to improve YATA. So, we are looking forward to welcoming you to our future events.