Skip to content

Students shine at International Model NATO conference

The Northeastern University student delegations at the annual International Model NATO conference.

Twenty-seven Northeastern undergraduates participated at the recent International Model NATO conference in Washington, D.C. The Northeastern University delegations won first- and third-place prizes, while several students took home individual awards.

The North­eastern del­e­ga­tions for Ger­many and Croatia took first and third place, respec­tively, and stu­dents won sev­eral indi­vidual awards at the 30th annual Inter­na­tional Model NATO con­fer­ence ear­lier this month in Wash­ington, D.C.

The con­fer­ence, which took place Feb. 12–15, included stu­dents from uni­ver­si­ties throughout the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Bel­gium. 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 65-​​year-​​old inter­gov­ern­mental mil­i­tary alliance, with stu­dents sit­ting on com­mit­tees and dis­cussing, debating, and writing res­o­lu­tions on today’s most pressing global issues.

Twenty-​​seven North­eastern under­grad­u­ates par­tic­i­pated, including polit­ical sci­ence major Stephanie Leahy, SSH’16. She chaired the Com­mittee on Emerging Securities—one of six com­mit­tees on which each country del­e­ga­tion is represented—and her strong lead­er­ship in guiding debate and ensuring proper pro­ce­dure was fol­lowed earned her the Out­standing Chair Award at the conference.

Coming away from the con­fer­ence, it was really inter­esting to see how each del­e­ga­tion rep­re­sents its country on cer­tain issues,” Leahy said. “You learn a lot about how coun­tries view these issues and might interact with each other in real NATO debates.”

Indeed, these con­fer­ences pro­vide stu­dents with a robust expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity, noted Philip D’Agati, the Model NATO team’s adviser and an assis­tant aca­d­emic spe­cialist in the Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence. Not only do stu­dents dive deep into mat­ters of inter­na­tional policy and diplo­macy, but they also gain impor­tant lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence and public-​​speaking skills, he said.

I’m really proud of our stu­dents,” D’Agati said. “The best part about the weekend is that every stu­dent con­tributed to the overall success.”

Stu­dents on Northeastern’s Inter­na­tional Model NATO team are mem­bers of the Inter­na­tional Rela­tions Council, a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion that is inter­ested in for­eign policy, inter­na­tional affairs, and learning the skills of effec­tive diplo­macy and debate. The North­eastern IRC also fields del­e­ga­tions that par­tic­i­pate in Model Arab League and Model United Nations.

This marks the fourth con­sec­u­tive year in which a del­e­ga­tion led by North­eastern stu­dents placed first at the Inter­na­tional Model NATO con­fer­ence. Last year, the stu­dent del­e­ga­tion rep­re­senting Nether­lands took first place.

D’Agati and his stu­dents attribute their suc­cess to their enor­mous amount of prepa­ra­tion, boosting their knowl­edge of their country’s pol­i­tics and policy, prac­ticing debate, and studying NATO rules and pro­ce­dures for months in advance of the competition.

Having famil­iarity with the rules and pro­ce­dures makes you so much more con­fi­dent when you get to the con­fer­ence, so you can really focus on the policy,” Leahy said.

– By Greg St. Martin

More Stories

Photo of the Capitol Building at night

High stakes for politics, SCOTUS in 2018

Photo of the crashed truck that was used in the October 31st attack in Manhattan.

Weaponizing Language: How the meaning of “allahu akbar” has been distorted

Northeastern logo

Why I love studying Spanish