Bucharest Model NATO 10th EditionNATO HQ, Brussels

Our 10th Edition Anniversary Story

We are born with the desire to know. We grow up fascinated by the power within us and how we shape ourselves to become the best we can be. It is said that to be happy you need something to do, something to love, and especially something to strive for. For us, Bucharest Model NATO has it all. We always do something for it, we always love it wholeheartedly and we always want to gift it to others so they can experience the same joy we felt.

The BMNATO conference was born out of the desire of a few young enthusiasts and their mentor, Daniela Bordei, to offer a new perspective on life security and a better tomorrow for the planet. The lack of such conferences on the market, an extremely valuable practical exercise, and the excessive theorization of the Romanian education system facilitated the development of this project that outlines a new and extremely attractive perspective totally opposed to monotony and memorization. Besides, we cannot and should not remain only observers of social, political, and economic phenomena. As future bearers of responsibilities that look to a not-too-distant horizon of expectations, young people had to get in touch with the problems facing humanity. BMNATO is the world’s only NATO model simulation aimed at teenagers and is designed to help them understand the role that NATO plays in the current dramatic global context for the security of life on earth.

Year after year, our conference has risen to the challenge of starting fresh, as the organising team changes, as do the young participants who go to study at home or abroad. It wasn’t easy to maintain our soul project, as we always had to secure a venue location, funding, and support to continue. Unfortunately, in Romania, the responsible stakeholders do not show interest in these kind of activities, or they look at them with scepticism, so our work was all the more difficult. But we did not give up, and in time, BMNATO became a solid concept that gathered more than 1800 young people, 10 organizing teams, and distinguished guests, such as His Excellency Mr. Mircea Geoana, Deputy Secretary General of NATO, His Excellency Mr. Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania, His Excellency Mr. Shane Dixon, Acting Deputy Head of the American Mission in Romania, Mr. James Joye Townsend, President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, Mrs. Juxhina Sotiti Gjoni, President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, Mr. Alex Serban, Vice-President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, Romanian politicians, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, etc.

More than that, BMNATO has been a cohesive factor, building during all these years a strong community of young people, involved in an extremely important project, but also a real family where friendships were made and memories dear to all were gathered. Since 2022, BMNATO is part of the start-up Youni, founded in 2017 by Andrei Nicolae, also a participant with his sister in the first BMNATO editions.

9 editions have passed, each one different, with a different team, participants, location, support. Our Model NATO simulation has even surpassed the capital area, and last year opened a new channel of exposure, landing in the west of the country, in Cluj. Other cities will follow, among which Iasi, Craiova and Constanta are the closest in terms of completion date. In this way we will form a network of communication and interest and we will facilitate the access for young people from all parts of the country to our conference. Then we will fly to other countries, taking with us our accumulated experience, our word to the world and the hope that we will contribute to the understanding of the need to work together for a safe and stable future for all of us.

The 10th edition of BMNATO took place from the 16th to the 17th of May at NATO’s Headquarters in Brussels. It was a great honour for young Romanians to enter the fortress and get in touch with the reality there. The support received from the Romanian delegation was exceptional. The people from NATO, regardless of their nationality, welcomed us with a warmth that unfortunately we did not find at home. Their interest in our actions and respect for our initiatives made us feel valuable. We got here thanks to the invitation we received from NATO officials from the Public Diplomacy Division, a recognition of the effort and consistency of our work over the years. A special mention must be made about Mrs. Mihaela Rosu, who was with us permanently and facilitated our interactions with NATO officials. We entered the NATO headquarters, with its 250,000 square meters surrounded by a glass wall through which NATO officials cannot be intercepted, and 1,000 video cameras watching every inch of the building stepping firmly on the alley where the blue carpet is laid out when state presidents come, an alley lined with 2 memorable pieces for the evolution of mankind. To the right was a piece of a support bar from the two towers destroyed on 9/11 in New York, and to the left was a piece of the Berlin Wall.

On the first day, we were welcomed by Mrs. Rosu herself, and together we entered NATO’s Headquarters, a place which in today’s context is of paramount importance for the security of the planet. A guided tour followed with Mr. Nicholas Nguyen, Head of Public Disclosure Unit, NATO Archives, who spoke to the young people about the history of the organisation and the headquarters we are in. Entering with emotion the amphitheatre, where NATO press conferences take place, we participated for 6 hours in briefings and question and answer sessions held by high NATO officials, such as Ambassador Baiba Braze, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, who spoke about important issues on the current NATO agenda, Ambassador Dan Neculaescu, Romanian Permanent Representative to NATO, who presented our country’s role in the organization and in the Permanent Council of the North Atlantic Committee. This was followed by a presentation of NATO’s new concepts and vision for the Madrid Summit, presented by the Head of Engagement Section, Public Diplomacy Division, Nicola de Santis, and a discussion on the opportunities that young people can have within the organisation, presented by Nevena Manojlovic, Internship Programme Coordinator, Talent Management and HR Integration of the Executive Management Division. Other officials who aroused the interest of the young participants followed, such as Mrs. Vineta Kleine, Director of the NATO Information and Documentation Centre, and Ms. Paula Redendo Alvarez Palenciat, Programme Officer for Russia and Central Asia, who discussed NATO’s response to the invasion of Ukraine, and Mr. Jan Huisman from Partnership East Team, NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (PASP) Relations, who presented NATO’s partnerships with Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova to the young participants. These topics on the agenda were extremely useful for the participants, as they helped them to clarify their knowledge and to prepare thoroughly for the next day’s presentation. While the young Romanians showed great interest in what their older interlocutors presented, the question and answer sessions clearly showed their thirst to learn more. Through extremely elaborate and remarkably diverse questions covering the spheres of politics, security, data transmission, economics, energy resources, and education, the participants demonstrated a thorough knowledge of many areas of interest, and a strong desire to develop further knowledge in areas less known or not studied in school curricula, but which represent problems that humanity is constantly facing. Their interest aroused the admiration of high NATO officials, which encouraged the young Romanians to tackle increasingly sensitive subjects. The end of the day had a melancholic connotation because on the big screen of the Amphitheatre were projected films with the beginnings and evolution of our BMNATO project, as well as testimonials from young people who have been part of our simulation over the years, now students or master’s students all over the world. So, we felt we were also paying tribute to them for making this bold idea possible.

Day two took us through those areas considered classified, where access is only allowed with special approval and in the presence of NATO representatives. The excitement of the young participants was commensurate with the importance of the place where we were. Marked by the significance of the glass and metal giant, the sober, spotlessly clean corridors, where we tried to keep our footsteps quiet, we entered the conference area where the North Atlantic Council simulation took place. We were only allowed to enter with the sheets of paper on which each of the participants had written down their speeches. You were not even allowed to take water with you. Phones or laptops were out of the question. A clean, safe, and noble space, such seemed to us the room where a round table was waiting for us, in the middle of which the video system and the logo of the organization that hosted us. Everything was impeccable. Bottles of unopened water, glasses glistening with cleanliness, audio equipment, comfortable chairs, a carpet that muffled any noise, and the names of the 30 countries that are part of NATO written on elegant plaques. We thought for a moment of the way we started BMNATO, with white cards on which we wrote the names of the countries, then cards with the flags of those countries. We had got to the place where they looked the way we always wanted them to.

The moment when Mr. Mircea Geoana, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, entered the hall moved us and filled our hearts with respect. With undisguised naturalness and friendliness, warm and full of empathy, he spoke to each child individually. I realized how human he is and felt his joy and pride to be in front of representatives of his country. The children really looked impeccable: navy blue suit, tie, and BMNATO badge. The Deputy Secretary General spoke about the problems currently facing the world and NATO, and reviewed the topic to be debated, which is the strengthening of the Eastern flank of the Alliance through partnerships and alliances, and possible new members, in order to ensure the security of NATO member countries. The young participants continued discussions until after lunch, followed by NATO officials and arriving at ingenious solutions to be sent to NATO by next week, and then presented at the Madrid Summit in June. 

At the end of the simulation, there was a prize-giving ceremony for the best participants, as well as an award ceremony for the young people who took part in more than 3 conferences to become BMNATO ambassadors.

The day could not have ended better than with a photo session in the flag area in front of the NATO headquarters, an extremely dear memory for the young people. I don’t know how many of those who experienced these 2 fabulous days of their lives woke up from dreaming. Nor do I know how they felt the next day at their desks at school. But I do know that they all found that receiving so much attention and encouragement made them different from when they left home. Because an event like that can only impact you. They say to be happy you need something to do, something to love, and especially something to strive for. For us, Bucharest Model NATO had it all, and more.

Mr. Mircea Geoana speaking at BMNATO 10th Edition

Schedule 

10:45 – 11:00

11:00 – 11:30 …………………………

11:30 – 12:30

12:30 – 13:10  …………………………..

13:10 – 13:50 ………………………….. …………………………..

13:50 – 14:30 ………………………….. …………………………..

14:30 – 15:10 ………………………….. …………………………..

15:10 – 15:40

15:40 – 16:20 ………………………….. …………………………..

16:20 – 17:00 ………………………….. …………………………..

17:00 – 17:10

Arrival and met by Mihaela Rosu, Engaments Section, Public Diplomacy Division

Guided tour of the NATO HQ, by Nicholas Nguyen, Head of Public Disclosure Unit, NATO Archives

Buffet Lunch

Briefing and Q&A discussion on Key Issues on NATO’s Agenda, by Ambassador Baiba Braze, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy

Briefing and Q&/A discussion on Romania’s Role in NATO and the Role of the Permanent Representative in the NAC, by Ambassador Dan Neculaescu, Romanian Permanent Representative to NATO

Briefing and Q&A discussion on NATO’s New Strategic Concept and the Road to Madrid, by Nicola de santis, Head of Engagements Section, Public Diplomacy Division

Briefing and Q&/A discussion on Career opportunities at NATO, by Nevena Manojlovic, Internship Programme Coordinator, Talent Management and HR Integration, Executive Management Division

Coffee Break

Briefing and Q&A discussion on NATO’s Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, by Vineta Kleine, Director of the NATO Information and Documentation Centre and Paula Redondo Alvarez-Palencia, Programme Officer for Russia and Central Asia

Briefing and Q&A discussion on NATO’s Partnerships with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, by Jan Huisman, Partnership East Team, NATO Political Affairs & Security Policy Division (PASP)

Concluding remarks and video presentations, by Mihaela Rosu, PDD Engagements Section

Our Team

Feedback from NATO

“It was a pleasure to speak with the students participating in BMNATO. They were really impressive and engaged. You are indeed giving them an amazing opportunity at such a young age. I wish you and your colleagues all the best for future editions and hope I will be able to be part of it again.”

Jan Huisman

Our Participants

  • Aldescu Irina-Maria
  • Bantas George-Serban
  • Boca Ioana 
  • Bordei Daniela
  • Călin Miruna
  • Ciucu Alexandra
  • Cojocaru Andrei-Cristian
  • Costea Alexandru-Ionut
  • Costea Alina-Violeta
  • Costea Dinu-Mihai
  • Costea Ioana-Maria
  • Dedu Maria-Alexandra
  • Dobjanschi Alexia-Cristina

  • Dumbrava Delia-Teodora
  • Dumitrescu Rares-Matei
  • Gațe Ștefania Cristiana-Alexandra
  • Ghencea Luca-Ioan
  • Gîrlea Harry-Marius
  • Ilie Carina-Ana-Maria
  • Jambori Alexandru Valeriu
  • Mazilu Radu-Gabriel
  • Muraretu Sara-Elena
  • Nicolae Andrei
  • Nicolae Maria
  • Nunțeanu Alexandra
  • Petre David

  • Pitu Robert-Stefan
  • Popescu Alexia-Ana-Maria
  • Posdarescu Eugenie Daniel
  • Preda Mugur-Andrei
  • Rusu Maria Raluca
  • Săftescu Carla
  • Serban Adrian
  • Serban Cristina-Alexandra
  • Serban Mirela Mariana
  • Sipoteanu Luca-Ioan
  • Stancu Adina-Georgiana
  • Țapescu Stefan
  • Traistaru Antonia
  • Vlagali Cristiana

Our 10th Edition Ambassadors

Our 10th Edition Communique

Photo Gallery