Parallel to the Bratislava Global Security Forum 2012, the Atlantic Council and the Slovak Atlantic Commission hosted the 2012 Bratislava Young Atlanticist Summit. This event featured members of the dynamic Young Atlanticist Working Group, a network of next generation leaders and outstanding professionals. The Bratislava Young Atlanticist Summit set the stage for the second meeting of young leaders at the Chicago Young Atlanticist Summit, on the sidelines of the official NATO Summit.
The Bratislava Young Atlanticist Summit convened an impressive group of emerging influencers from NATO member and partner countries for three days of discussion on transatlantic and global security issues. Aged 25 to 35, the Young Atlanticist delegates come from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds and included elected officials, CEOs, legislative staffers, academics, and military personnel. The participants were selected after a month of robust online discourse, hosted within a highly customized Facebook application designed to incentivize substantive dialogue and professional collaboration. In the month leading up to Bratislava, members of the Young Atlanticist Working Group were exchanging opinions and viewpoints by producing more than 16,000 substantive online posts, and helped drive the public debate on security matters by publishing over sixty blog posts and op-eds (many co-authored by more than one network member) in popular blogs, academic journals, and leading news outlets in multiple countries.
The Bratislava Young Atlanticist Summit set the stage for the Chicago Summit, which will be held on the margins of the NATO Summit in May, 2012. The summit provided participants with an opportunity to hold discussions with leading experts and practitioners, and to continue their dialogue on the issues that will be central at the Chicago Summit. The agenda for the conference included a dynamic set of programming, including an interactive model NATO simulation coordinated by Allied Command Transformation, intimate meetings with top officials, a direct video link with Young Atlanticists in Kabul, Afghanistan, and delegate-led panels where the young leaders shared their views. Delegates also had an opportunity to attend GLOBSEC 2012 panels and thus become part of the most prestigious conferences in Europe.
This year’s Bratislava and Chicago Young Atlanticist Summits built on history of highly-successful Young Atlanticist Summits on the sidelines of Lisbon, Prague, Istanbul, and Bucharest NATO summits, each time bringing together leaders from over fifty countries to meet directly with top Alliance and national decision-makers. Those who have met with the “Young Atlanticists” include: President Barack Obama, Czech President Vaclav Havel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Georgian President Mikhael Saakashvili, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, NATO Secretaries General Lord Robertson, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and many others.