Martin Bútora, a member of the International Board of the Slovak Atlantic Commission and the Strategy Council and Honorary President of the Institute for Public Affairs, has become a member of the group of policy experts appointed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that will prepare proposals to reaffirm and strengthen the Trans-Atlantic Bond.

The head of NATO created the team ahead of the NATO Summit in Cardiff, UK in September 2014. Robin Niblett, the Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), will head the group. “It is excellent news for Slovakia and recognition of the work that Martin Bútora has done in the past twenty years, either in the Slovak Atlantic Commission or as a diplomat or expert in the wider foreign policy and security community. Thanks to this appointment, we have gained not only closer access to the NATO Secretary General but also direct participation in a key strategic debate that is under way in NATO. It means strengthening of the voice of Slovakia and Central Europe and an opportunity to raise issues that are important for Slovakia,” said Executive Vice-President of Strategy Council Róbert Vass.

“I feel very honoured that the Secretary General invited me to this group of experts. The Trans-Atlantic alliance as well as our voice in NATO are gaining particular importance after the events in Ukraine. The September Summit of NATO will decide its future after the departure from Afghanistan and will be one of the most important ones in its history,” said Martin Bútora.

Besides the group of policy experts, Mr Rasmussen has also asked the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and a group of young emerging leaders to look for answers on how “to strengthen the Trans-Atlantic bond and strengthen our security today and tomorrow“. All three groups will present their findings and proposals at a conference in Brussels in June 2014. The NATO Summit in Cardiff will consider the output of the conference. Several members of the group of policy experts will attend the GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, in May 2014.

In addition to Robin Niblett and Martin Bútora, the group of policy experts includes Ivo Daalder, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago, Camille Grand, Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris, Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and member of the Consejo de Estado of Spain, Roland Paris, Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, Ottawa, Volker Perthes, Director Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin, Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, Sinan Ulgen, Director of Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul, Marcin Zaborowski, Director of Polish Institute for International Affairs, Warszawa.

Martin Bútora was in November 1989 a co-founder of the Public Against Violence, in 1990-1992 a human rights advisor to President of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel. In 1997, he became President of the newly founded Institute for Public Affairs. He lectured at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University in Prague, at the Trnava University and the University of Economics in Bratislava. In 1990-2003, he was Ambassador of Slovakia to the USA. He specialises in foreign policy, the civic society and the transformation of the society. In 2011, he co-authored Visegrad Elections 2010: Domestic Impact and European Consequences, in 2013 Alternative Politics? The Rise of New Political Parties in Central Europe and Odkiaľ a kam. 20 rokov samostatnosti (Whence and Whither. 20 Years of Independence). In 2002, he was awarded the Crystal Wing for diplomacy and 2nd Class Ľudovít Štúr Order for defence of human rights and development of the civic society. In 2011, the President of Poland awarded him the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit.

Strategy Council is an independent non-governmental organisation whose mission is to strengthen the voice of Slovakia and Central Europe in European and global affairs. The organisation connects key Central European personalities and experts in foreign and security policy. Its goal is to define the strategic role of Central Europe in international politics. It associates three organisations – the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC), the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI) and the Center for European Affairs (CEA). The Slovak Atlantic Commission organises GLOSEC, one of the biggest international conferences in Europe.