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Model NATO event 2023 – Bath Spa University

Students become international diplomats for the day


Bath Spa students become international diplomats for the day

Friday, 31 March, 2023

 Student success 

Two Bath Spa University students studying humanities subjects recently had the opportunity to experience what it would be like to work as an international diplomat for the day.

Isaac Billena, a second year BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics student, and third year BA (Hons) History and Politics student, Eleanore McDonagh represented Bath Spa as “Slovenia” at the British International Studies Association (BISA) annual Model NATO event on 3 March.

One-hundred-and-twenty students from 32 UK universities participated in a crisis scenario event, held at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Westminster. Each university represented a different NATO member state delegation, tasked with negotiating a set of actions in response to a massive seismic event centred on southern Italy.

It was the first time that Bath Spa University has taken part in the prestigious, annual event organised by BISA, an organisation which is a prominent voice in International Studies.

Members of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office acted as the ‘home government,’ and were on hand to offer advice and instructions. The scenario provided students with the unique experience of navigating a humanitarian crisis. 

Tough decisions had to be made under strenuous, high pressure circumstances. Acting as experienced diplomats, the students had to work together to come to a mutually agreed declaration.

Dr Rupert Alcock, Course Leader, Undergraduate Politics:

“This unique opportunity for active learning is transformative for participants, inspiring many to embark on projects and careers in diplomacy, government, NGOs, and the military. Bath Spa was honoured to be a part of this unique experience, which saw bright and enquiring minds from around the country gathered to learn about everything from how NATO committees work and respond and natural disasters, to its history and military specialisms. All in all, it was an incredible day of academic collaboration and one we hope will continue in the years to come."

Isaac Billena, Politics, Philosophy and Economics student, summed up the challenge: 

"I earnestly gained a greater appreciation of the need to balance competing interests in an organization such as NATO and learned first-hand how to be reasonable as a negotiator and to "know your limits" in these debates. It is an empowering, and importantly, humbling experience that I would strongly urge anyone interested in this area to partake in." 

Eleanore McDonagh, History and Politics student, reflected after the event:

“I gained valuable insight into foreign office procedure and a greater understanding of how NATO collaborates to solve global issues.”

To find out more about studying for a humanities degree at Bath Spa University, visit the School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities section of our website.

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