Partnership with NATO

The Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) is an independent organisation designed to support the values enshrined in the North Atlantic Treaty. Created on 18 June 1954, it is an umbrella organisation for the separate national associations, voluntary organisations and non-governmental organisations that formed to uphold the values of the Alliance after its creation in 1949. The Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) is the youth branch of the ATA and was formed in 1996.

The ATA’s role is to educate and inform the public of NATO’s activities and responsibilities, to promote democracy and, more generally, to uphold the values of the North Atlantic Treaty.
The ATA’s flagship events facilitate networking and policy debates among political leaders, academics, diplomats and journalists from the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.
The YATA – the youth branch of the ATA – has a similar role, helping to bridge the gap between policy and younger generations in civil society in the areas of international security and defence.
The ATA was created in June 1954, becoming the umbrella organisation for existing national associations, while the YATA was formed in 1996.
Since the end of the Cold War, the activities of the ATA and YATA have increased significantly to include new NATO member states and countries that are engaged in partnership with the Alliance.


The role of the ATA and YATA

The ATA is a community of policy-makers, think tankers, diplomats, academics and representatives from industry. It seeks to inform the public of NATO's role in international peace and security and promote democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law through debate and dialogue.

To achieve this goal, it holds international seminars and conferences and launches initiatives, such as the Central and South Eastern European Security Forum and the Ukrainian Dialogue and Crisis Management Simulations. The ATA is also active in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, launching conferences, seminars and multi-year research programmes. As a result, the ATA's geographical scope has increased since the end of the Cold War, i.e. since the early 1990s, mirroring NATO's enlargement and its engagement with an ever-broader number of partner countries in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.

The ATA also cooperates with various organisations connected with Euro-Atlantic security, such as member associations of the ATA, the governments of member associations, the European Union, NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. It also promotes the development of civil society in, for instance, the Black Sea and Caucasus regions, and engages in dialogue with Middle Eastern countries.

More generally, the ATA fosters debate and dialogue in an effort to create a solid understanding of Alliance issues and current security issues such as hybrid warfare, cyber security and terrorism. In addition, it works to develop relations between organisations in different countries by connecting with civil society groups that support the basic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty. Furthermore, it seeks to develop relations between its members in an effort to achieve common goals.



YATA, the youth division of ATA, was established in 1996 during the ATA's General Assembly in Rome. Its mission is to engage with younger or "successor" generations, fostering collaboration among national youth sections affiliated with ATA's Associations and Councils. YATA encompasses young students and professionals dedicated to the fields of security and defense, providing a platform for networking with peers and senior-level officials from diverse countries.
Operating under the guidance of ATA, YATA actively supports and aligns with ATA's overarching goals. These objectives include educating and informing the successor generation on matters related to international security, promoting research into NATO's global role, and inspiring young leaders to contribute to the future of the transatlantic security relationship.
Additionally, YATA strives to facilitate cooperation among the youth of NATO member countries and partner nations, encouraging substantive debate on the role of security institutions. While officially a part of ATA, YATA conducts independent activities to realize its objectives, exemplified by annual events such as the Atlantic Youth Seminars in Denmark (DAYS) and Portugal (PAYS). Furthermore, YATA organizes crisis management simulations and regional conferences as part of its multifaceted approach to achieving its overarching mission.


Working mechanisms


The statutory bodies governing the ATA are the Assembly and the Board.
A Committee of Patrons and the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) collaborate to contribute to the general objectives and goals of the ATA.
The Assembly stands as the paramount decision-making body within the ATA. It comprises delegates from Member, Associate Member, and Observer Member associations. Each Member and Associate Member, except Observer Members, holds one voting right.
The Board, consisting of the President, ten elected Directors, and the ex officio YATA President, plays a crucial role in ATA governance. The YATA President participates specifically in matters concerning youth activities during Board meetings. The ATA President may also extend invitations to individuals to assist in the Board's work.

The Youth Atlantic Treaty Association is officially part of the ATA. It serves as the youth division of the ATA and has its own structure, activities and programmes. Similarly to the ATA, there are separate national youth divisions.

The Committee of Patrons
The Committee of Patrons is comprised of previous ATA presidents and other people who have served the ATA with merit.


The President of the ATA oversees the general policy of the Association and serves as its spokesperson. The powers and functions of the President, as well as the Directors of the Board, are defined by the ATA's constitution.
There are three distinct types of membership within the ATA: Members, Associate Members, and Observers.
National associations from NATO member countries may join the ATA as Members. These associations can attend and actively participate in Assembly meetings, exercising full voting rights.
Associate Members
National associations from non-NATO countries participating in NATO's PfP (Partnership for Peace) program and members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) constitute Associate Members. They are eligible to attend and actively participate in Assembly meetings. Upon their respective country's NATO accession, the association automatically transitions to becoming a Member, retaining full voting rights in accordance with the ATA's constitution.
Observer Members
The status of Observer Member Organization may be granted by the Assembly for a period of three years, following a proposal by the Board, to non-governmental organizations created according to the same criteria as in Article 4 in NATO partner countries other than the EAPC. This status can be renewed for additional periods of three years, following a proposal by the Board and subject to the approval of the Assembly.
Representatives of these organizations may attend and participate in Assembly and other meetings under the same conditions as Members and Associate Members, but they do not have the right to vote.
Evolution of the ATA
In the aftermath of NATO's establishment in 1949, separate organizations in NATO member countries emerged with the objective of informing the public about NATO's role and activities. In 1954, these organizations consolidated under the umbrella of the Atlantic Treaty Association on June 18.
Originally focused on public debates and discussions about NATO's activities during the Cold War, the ATA's scope expanded following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Presently, the ATA examines security issues related to Central and Eastern European countries, the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia.