Prague Atlantic Student Summit continues

Prague Atlantic Student Summit, Photo: CTK

Parallel to the NATO leaders' discussions, a student forum called the Prague Atlantic Student Summit is taking place at the Congress Centre in Prague. Over 180 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 35 NATO and partner countries have gathered in Prague to discuss the future of the Alliance and the new security challenges it faces. RP's David Vaughan spoke with two student participants from Romania:

Prague Atlantic Student Summit,  Photo: CTK
Girl: Hi, I'm the chief of the delegation. I'm also playing the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tomorrow in the NATO simulation, and we'll be speaking on behalf of my delegation. It's been a very interesting experience so far. We've been able to meet a lot of important people, we've been able to see how things work around here. President Bush addressed us yesterday, we found out a lot of interesting information. We are very honoured that he took the time to speak to us. Also this morning we had a chance to see and hear Lord Robertson, and afterwards President Vaclav Havel.

Boy: Hi, my name is Florentin Mitrescu and I'll represent Romania in the political committee. Yes, so far it has been very interesting. I just got the sense that we're talking too much about military capabilities. I'm looking forward to finding out more about the humanitarian capabilities of NATO. We're talking about diplomacy capabilities, about education capabilities, NATO might invest some money into education projects towards those so-called 'failed states'. So maybe starting from that point, from the education point, not just for young population but for all the population. They can educate them more in the true values of freedom and democracy.

Can I ask you - how were you chosen to take part in this, was there some kind of competition in Romania to choose people to come and join the summit?

We were chosen on the basis of belonging to different organizations that are active in Romania today. We are talking about organizations that are active in civil society activities, especially related to NATO and Euro-Atlantic integration, which are part of the Euro-Atlantic Council of Romania. We have one representative from each of them, with the most important one being the 'NATO House', or 'Casa NATO'. And then we have four representatives of the youth organizations of four democratic political parties in Romania at the moment. We thought it was very important to choose them from different areas in order to be more representative, and the fact that they were so active and were already involved in the subject made them even more qualified for these positions.

We have just heard in Mr. Robertson's speech that Romania has been invited to join NATO. What are your impressions on hearing that?

Girl: Well, we're very proud of this, and we believe that it's recognition for our efforts. It will be an incentive for continuing all the reforms, and we're doing everything possible in our power to become closer and closer to the level of the democratic countries in Western Europe.

Boy: It shows our dedication to NATO and to the Alliance and to cooperation and the whole process of integration. So we expected this, we truly deserve this and we're looking forward to 2007 for the European Union.

Can you imagine one day that Russia could be a member of NATO?

Boy: Definitely. In my opinion, it is definitely a miracle what face to face discussions can do, like NATO meeting with Russia at the same table. And this kind of discussion can make miracles, and we're looking forward to that."