When silence does not make it better: US-Russia Nuclear Relations

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Today’s world faces numerous issues: crisis of liberalism, trade and economic wars between the major geopolitical rivals, populists and autocrats who hold their seats in parliaments and other governmental bodies. However, all those problems would become unimportant in case of another, not worldwide war, but a nuclear one.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), there are 9 nuclear-weapon states in the world: five of them are under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), three of them are not, and one state -Israel-, is an undeclared nuclear state. The biggest amount of nuclear missiles are situated on the territory of the United States and Russia, making them their heritage from the Cold War. 

The nuclear policy of the two countries is as different as their approach to the foreign policy. On the one hand, Russia’s military doctrine, included in the 2010’s edition states that first of all, Russian government considers NATO and its enlargment as the main threat to the country. Secondly, the right to use the regular army on the territory of another state which poses a threat to the sovereignty of the country as well to the rights of russian-speaking citizens, and last but not the least, there is the fact that nuclear weapons may be used against the state which violates the sovereignty and poses a threat to Russia’s existence.

On the other hand, the United States remains the only country in the world which has used nuclear weapons against another state. Luckily, there have not been any other cases in world’s history. The Nuclear Posture Review of 2018 established that nuclear weapons may be used only in case of nuclear attack from another state, great losses among citizens and serious damages to infrastructure and central authorities. In this regard, as its opponents and threats  the US names Russia and North Korea.

Relations between Russia and the US in terms of nuclear policy are not easy. However, keeping in mind that nowadays Russia is a state under sanctions regardless of numerous attempts of Vladimir Putin to depict it as “a democratic state”, it is going to be difficult to continue the dialogue in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation.

America’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty  and the denunciation of the INF Treaty  create a serious and dangerous precedent in the international relations. Moreover, the absence of  information on negotiations on the extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty III  (START III) or the signing of a new treaty do not make that situation clearer. If after 2021 there is no extension of the existing treaty or a renewed one, then the parties will find themselves without any binding agreements in terms of strategic nuclear forces and it will create a legal – and dangerous- vacuum in their relations. 

Even if both states claim that it is impossible to use the preemptive strike, even if they are aware of the hazardous consequences of using nuclear forces, there is still a great need in for  dialogue between the US and Russia. After all, the economic problems, violation of human rights or climate issues would become totally irrelevant if nuclear weapons were used by any state.

Vanishing Human Rights: Mexico’s migration policies

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For decades, Mexico and the United States have discussed migration policies. A long history of mutual convenience triggered the creation of public and private institutions that aimed to regulate migration. The protection of human rights was by far at the top of the agenda on the Mexican side. Anyhow, things have changed. Mexico’s demands to protect illegal migrants in the U.S seem now odd. Political instability and insecurity in most of the Central American countries have exhibited the incapacity of the Mexican government to handle a humanitarian crisis.

United Nations reported that Mexico and the United States hold the biggest amount of international migrant populations with 15 million Mexicans living in the United States.  This migratory corridor is so immense in terms of mobility that not even Asian countries have reported similar numbers even though they have larger populations. Despite international reports and suggestions about the current humanitarian challenges in the Mexican southern border, the Mexican government seems to disclaim the relevance of protecting Human Rights and their binding elements under international law to avoid human trafficking and other abusive practices against migrants.

Since 2018 when president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected, transitory migration in Mexico has escalated up to 232% compared to previous administrations. There is no doubt that rhetorics and ideological stands played a paramount role during AMLO’s electoral campaign. In theory, left-wing progressive regimes would have a favorable view of human rights and to some extent be committed to respect basic human rights.  Before holding office, AMLO was determined to de-militarized domestic affairs by the creation of a national civil policy. However, and despite the actual creation of a the National Guard, migration policies are still using extreme cohesive methods. Contrary to what many believe, Chiapas and the Southern border have become areas were the military and the national guard have organized massive detention centers.

During 2019, the number of migrants that attempted to get into Mexico reached nearly 450,000. According to the Mexican National Migration Institute, 71,000 were deported and the rest were dispersed in Mexican territory. Nongovernmental organizations and charity groups have reported abusive practices and racism from police forces and other border patrol offices. International media has been able to get in touch with some of the migrants whose families were separated and even kidnapped by local authorities in Mexican territory. The BBC interviewed Fernanda, originally from Honduras. Her tragic story ended up by sending her 7-year-old son alone to the U.S – Mexican border after she suffered hunger, segregation and insecurity in northern Mexico.

Stories like the one Fernanda shared with the BBC are rapidly increasing across the Mexican territory. Yet, since January 2020 larger migrants groups have been systematically targeted by the Mexican authorities. Pepper spray, detention camps, and deportation are now the priority in the agenda of AMLO’s foreign office. While the Mexican Human Rights Commission remains silent. It seems like overall, Human Rights are not a priority and that  inclusive policies towards migration are far from being an option for the current administration.

They are all evil: Trump’s “Vision” of Peace and Prosperity.

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Yesterday, Donald Trump, in the middle of his very own process of impeachment, announced his Middle East Plan, the so-called “deal of the century” negotiated with Israel without the Palestinians, and as Netanyahu is under investigation for fraud and bribery charges. Beyond this move -both on the US and Israel labeled as “distraction”  from the ongoing internal proceedings regarding the political future of the president and prime minister respectively- the deal of the century carries material consequences for the lives of the Palestinians living under Israel occupation and settler colonialism. 

Some commentators have suggested that the Peace to Prosperity Vision 2020 (“Vision”) echoes the situation of 1917 and the Balfour Declaration, leaving again the Palestinians out of the negotiation table on their own homeland and further ignoring their opposition to it. Highly unlikely, Trump might think that he is actually doing a favor to the Palestinians and that with this Vision, both him and Netanyahu are really approaching a solution to the conflict. Received amidst mixed reactions, it is convenient to highlight and analyze some of the most remarkable comments within the document.

Palestinians are likely to be terrorists, especially in Gaza. The document states throughout that all Palestinian leaders and authorities are terrorists. Most of the population might be as well. Among other examples: “Gaza is a very complicated situation. It is under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization, and, as a result of Hamas’ policies, is approaching a humanitarian crisis. It is time to help the Palestinians achieve a hopeful and prosperous future(…)” (p.2). The same idea is spread out, at least the word terrorism linked to Palestinians and their leaders is mentioned 40 times.

Of course, this thinking does at least two things. Firstly, it delegitimizes Palestinians and pictures them as evil terrorists that are constantly threatening Israel. The “Vision” literally states that “A realistic solution would give the Palestinians all the power to govern themselves but not the powers to threaten Israel“. The consequence is, therefore, “limitation of certain sovereign powers in the Palestinian areas such as maintenance of Israeli security responsibility and Israeli control of the airspace west of the Jordan River”.

Secondly, by picturing Israel as a legitimate state under threat, the politics of settler colonialism, aggression, and other atrocities are easily overlooked. In Gaza, these politics have involved over the years, and with the support of the United States, the bombing of key infrastructure in the strip, including hospitals and schools; years of blockades and electricity cuts, hindering access to humanitarian aid, the cutting of funds by the US to the USAid in the region and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

Although the document makes a great effort in trying to depict the US as the Palestinian savior while highlighting all the advantages the Palestinians will benefit from,  one might ask whose peace and whose prosperity is this plan referring to. Certainly not to the party that being the most affected by it, has not been included in the negotiation.

 

Peace is as far as ever for Libya

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The continued fighting taking place in Libya between the two local forces competing for power and their apparent inability or unwillingness to cooperate has put the country in the middle of what has become a complex international conflict with no future positive prospects.

With a growing international fear about the Libyan conflict, world leaders have gathered in Berlin to try and find a way to end the fighting between the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Saraj and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar. The conference’s aim was to get foreign powers to stop intervening in the war, to uphold an arms embargo and to nominate a UN ceasefire monitoring body – but concerns over the unwillingness to abide by these agreements are ever-growing.

With the intervention of foreign powers in the conflict, the conflict in Libya can no longer be seen as a binary Haftar vs Tripoli one. Among other parties, the GNA has the support of Turkey and Syrian rebel militants and the LNA has the support of Russia and its military private contractors as well as Sudanese militias. Since 2011, Libya has been the clear example of continued foreign interference and therefore consequent fragmentation of the security sector in Libya but also in the already fragile region.

In a parliamentary vote, Turkey decided to come to the aid of the GNA, which was followed by the deployment of Turkish troops and an additional 2,000 Syrian fighters. On the other side, the LNA is receiving support from Sudanese rebel groups from Darfur, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) together with the Russian private military contractor Wagner. Adding more fighting factions to a conflict is like adding oil to the fire –  the presence of these forces has been met with clashes between local militias or minorities and the foreign militias.

The participation of external proxy forces with both the GNA and the LNA not only shows the fragility of states in the region but also their reliance on foreign manpower and therefore the exacerbation of the conflict. Thus, it is evident that peace in Libya depends on foreign actors’ readiness to give room for alternative political manoueuvres.

Until we see an end to meaningless and precarious foreign presence, meddling and financing, there will be no meaningful political talks that will pull Haftar from Tripoli and therefore peace will remain highly improbable.

The Iraqi Dilemma: Between Geography and Diplomacy

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Over the past forty years Iraq has had military conflicts with both Iran and the US, and those wars have brought nothing but political instability, economic crisis and death to Iraq.

Iraq – Iran war: On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran and started a devastating war that would last eight years, involved several countries and created instability in the Middle East for decades to come.

US invasion of Iraq: In 2003, the US invaded Iraq and, after a couple months, US forces overthrew the government and captured and later executed Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein. The US’s occupation of Iraq proved to be a disaster. The Iraqi government put in place by Washington was too weak to control its own territory, leaving a vacuum of power in the country that was soon filled by violent militias and extremist groups, including the newly created ISIS.

Despite its difficult situation, over the past years, Iraq has managed to regain control of its major cities, push back ISIS, rebuild its oil industry ,and has been taking steps to solidify its newly formed democratic institutions. However, the Iraqi government has had to deal with a very complicated geopolitical scenario.

It has had to struggle to maintain its sovereignty, to improve its relationship with Iran (its most important neighbor) and to manage its military and economic relationship with the US. This dilemma has shaped Iraqi diplomacy and, today, Iraq’s diplomatic efforts are of utmost importance in order to avoid another conflict which the country will probably not be able to endure. As stated by Iraqi president Barham Salih  The United States is our ally. Iran is our neighbor”.

Nevertheless,  the assassination of Qassem Suleimani -a pillar in Iran’s foreign policy- has made Iraq the main stage in the conflict between the US and Iran. The US drone attack that killed Suleimani was conducted without the knowledge of the Iraqi government, violating its sovereignty and leaving the country in a very delicate situation. Iraq cannot afford to take sides in the dispute without jeopardizing its survival and overall the regional stability.

Politically, the government has to manage a divided parliament between Shiite – majority and close to Iran – and Sunni – minority and opposed to Iran – as well as pressure from both sides to limit each other’s influence in the country.

If Iran and the US keep escalating their war games and refuse to sit down at the negotiating table, the regional consequences would be disastrous for the Middle East and Iraq. Among other, the scenarios could go from  an US intervention in order to protect its regional interests to competition for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran creating more proxy wars in the region and an increase in the intensity of Israel’s conflict against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine both militia groups backed by Iran.

Iraq must at all cost avoid alienating either the US or Iran. Baghdad will have to push for a a diplomatic solution in order to deescalate the conflict, because war will be unbearable for both Iraq and the region.

The US-Iran 2020 mess

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We are not even through the middle of the first month of 2020, and it is already too much to bear for Iran. On January 3rd the US forces, on the soil of Iraq, killed their top general Soleimani. Following the killing that came more or less as a surprise to the international community, Iran proclaimed American forces to be terrorist (what a turning point, ha?) and shot some missiles to two US military bases, again on the soil of Iraq. But nothing is as clear as it seems. Who is to be trusted when talking about the results of this attack? Iran claims to have fired 15 missiles and killed at least 80 ‘American terrorists’. On the other hand, the US and Iraq reported no casualties. Iran pulled itself out of the nuclear deal. The US introduced sanctions. The international community has taken a rather soft stance towards the development of the situation. And as if it all were not messy enough, Iran accidentally shot down a commercial flight and left 176 people dead.

Although some claimed that Iran missile shot down the plane and even videos of the crash were released (but who could claim they were to be trusted), for a couple of days Iran rejected these allegations, but refused to give over the black box to Boeing. In the wake of January 11th, Iran admitted shooting down the Ukrainian commercial flight by mistake. The citizens of Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Britain and Germany are all dead due to ‘human error’.

Things like this don’t just happen. But sometimes they do. In 1988, a commercial flight was shot down by accident, because it was mistaken for an F-14 Tomcat. The plane was Iranian, a commercial flight 655, carrying 290 people. The attackers were American, fired from a guided-missile cruiser of the US Navy.

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down when flying over Ukraine, from the pro-Russian separatist controlled territory and by the Russian missile brigade. In total 298 people died. In 2018, a Russian surveillance plane was shot down by Syrian forces accidentally, leaving 15 people dead. There are more examples since the WW2. But all this raises the question of responsibility.

Human error is inevitable in various situations. However, usually when a human error occurs, it has bad consequences. Who is to be held responsible in situations like this? Is it the very person that shot the missile? Is it his superiors? Are the people who did not clear the airspace during and shortly after the attack?  Milgram’s explanations of obedience could provide an insight to this matter. It is now a commonplace in social psychology, the diffusion of responsibility and the agentic state. One exempts himself from responsibility when having entered the agentic state, which is characterised by unquestioning obedience. In this state, personal responsibility is transferred to the person giving orders, i.e. the superior. That is why mostly higher military instances are trialed for war misdeeds.

This is a normal behaviour that is characteristic for all people, although some can resist it but only if having high levels of consciousness at the given moment. That is, unfortunately, not common for military forces since they are trained to be obedient. This is not to justify any of the shooting downs of the wrong targets. This is to explain where it should be looked for responsibility. IRGC Amir Ali Hajizadeh is well aware of this and he took responsibility for this incident. However, the mess is getting bigger in Iran, with the protests against government due to the crash.

Errors like this must be avoided. This collateral damage is at the hands of ordinary people. It may just be too much to carry the weight of it.

Watch Out for the Sultan – Erdoğan in Libya

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The unprecedented escalation in Iran following the assassination of military mastermind Qassem Suleimani by one of Donald’s drones overshadowed another highly interesting development in the Middle East lately getting a new spin: Turkey entering the conflict in Libya.

With this step, that explicitly is at odds with the advices of many other stakeholders in “a failed state par excellence”, as observers say, not least the Arab League, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shows his claim to great power status.

This action appears in line with Erdoğan’s (over)confident self-perception of Turkey being a rising power that urges for its share in a multipolar world and is willing to apply blunt power politics whenever and wherever necessary.

Previous actions by his neo-Ottoman Excellency underline that. Be it infrastructural mega projects like the construction of Istanbul’s new airport, the first road tunnel under the Bosporus, or his newest desire, a canal through Istanbul. Be it his increasingly authoritarian rule finding its expression in press censorship, a purge targeting intellectuals, or his hunt for political opponents from both the Gülen Movement and the left-wing party HDP.

Yet, his attempts of showing off with his power have an international scope, too. Libya, where Turkey’s engagement did not just start last week, in that respect lines up in a row with Northern Syria, where Erdoğan tried to kill two birds with one stone. Pursuing a buffer zone to the war-torn neighbor to resettle refugees residing in Turkey coincided with a military warning to his archenemy, the Kurds, being home in and around that very region. Besides, Turkey made demands on natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, by heating up the Cyprus conflict, Europe’s longest frozen conflict.

Now, one might jump to the conclusion of perceiving Turkey as nothing but becoming another dubious Middle Eastern autocracy, but beware! This is far from reality. Ankara is the pivotal element of many conflicts in the region and thus of crucial interest to the international community.

It is Turkey that keeps myriads of refugees from entering Europe. The end shall not justify the means, though Turkey thereby effectively does the EU’s dirty laundry. It too is Turkey that sits at the table with Russia and Iran negotiating about how to bring an end to the war in Syria. This triangle can be considered the forum that is most likely to achieve this goal. And Turkey is the most pro-Western member, being part of NATO and, yet with neglectable prospects for success, EU candidate country. At the same time, Ankara is the gateway from Europe to the Middle East, not least being a member of the OIC.

Bearing this in mind, the international, particularly European, community shall have a critical but conscious look at Turkey that repeatedly and insistently shows it is not willing to be a mere passive actor of the fight for hegemony in the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The whole world focusing on Tehran in those days might open the back door for the sultan.

SECURITY IS NOT JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL

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An article published last week describes the new constructions on the border wall that Donald Trump promised as one of his landmark campaign goals. The publication shows the US President signing one of the sections of the wall built in El Paso, a very straightforward declaration on Trump’s policy to stop illegal immigration. Although the wall Trump promised is nowhere near completion, the rhetoric and accompanying strategy have already created obstacles to the true problem: insecurity.

During the campaign, the issue was framed by Trump as securing the border from dangerous criminals who slipped into the US from Mexico. The wall is meant to be a symbol of the physical efforts to stop the illegal flow of people into the United States whilst the administration also applied many controversial measures that lead to children being separated from their parents.

All the promises were made based on describing immigration as a rapidly growing phenomenon that brought insecurity to the US. The reality is that studies show that migration from Latin America, and especially from Mexico, has actually decreased. This does not mean that migration has stopped, the refugee crisis existing at the border shows that many still try to enter the US legally to try and escape the insecurity in their country of origin.

One of Trump’s claims about the wall is it would also help in stopping the smuggling of drugs into the US. Not only would that be inefficient but it also obscures the US’s responsibility in what is indeed a security issue. The insecurity created by the drug trade affects the entire continent. And as much as the existing portions of the wall have been useless in preventing ‘criminals’ and drugs going into the US it has also failed to block weapons from leaving the United States and into criminal groups in Latin America.

According to reports by NGOs, in the period of 2014 to 2016, “50,133 guns that originated in the United States were recovered as part of criminal investigations” in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. That number only reflects a small portion of weapons that fuels existing criminal conflicts in many countries of the region. However, Trump’s rhetoric and constant accusations never recognise the responsibility of the United States in creating such unsafe environments to migrants.

Int. Security Policy Summit Vienna, 7-9 November 2019

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By Mariam Frangulyan

Participant of the 8th Intl. Security Policy Summit in Vienna
Ca’Foscari University of Venice

 

In the mind of any international relations student, institutions such as the United Nations and the OSCE are a dream, a final point of arrival in our careers.

Having been able to attend the Intl. Security Policy Summit in Vienna with the WYAcademy allowed me to be a step closer to this dream.

 

DAY ONE: OSCE Headquarters, Heldenplatz, Vienna

I arrive at the meeting point in front of the OSCE headquarters, excited and eager for what’s coming next. I happily greet my friends who I had met during the last Summit in Madrid and already feel familiar with the environment.

As everybody arrives, we get in line for the passport and security check to get our badges to enter the building.

We get in. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening: we were in the building where the most important decisions in security issues are made.

As we arrive in our room, we are greeted by Florence Le Clézio who works as Senior Media Assistant at the OSCE and is in charge of visiting groups, such as us.

After a quick presentation, she starts explaining to us the structure and role of the OSCE, in order to provide knowledge and perspective of how the institution actually functions.

After this overview of the OSCE, something truly exciting happened: it was time to attend the plenary session that was ongoing that day.

I was so thrilled to have the opportunity of experiencing directly how these countries actually engaged in discussions among them and tried to solve those crucial issues.

That day we were extra-lucky because the session began with a report by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier. He provided a detailed report of what he had done and seen in different countries such as Tajikistan or Ukraine from June to October and he also talked of the cooperation he had had with the United Nations.

Following his report, the floor was given to the 57 countries present in the plenary session. For the time that we were there, the floor was taken by the Russian Federation, Finland, Norway, the United States and Ukraine, who, one at a time, responded to the report made by Zannier and provided their perspective and added comments. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the whole day, as much as I wanted to, we were told to quietly leave the room and go back to our training Summit. I looked back one more time to the room and to the 57 countries, hoping one day to be among them, as a direct actor involved. This has to be certainly one of the highlights of the whole experience.

The next speech was delivered by Tarik Ndifi, analyst and researcher for the conflict prevention centre at the OSCE. I had had the chance of meeting Mr. Ndifi at the Summit in Madrid and I was glad to see him again, as having an expert from the OSCE teaching us security issues is not to be taken for granted.

He provided us with in-depth knowledge about all the steps within a conflict, the so-called conflict cycle, reporting several examples from the OSCE field missions.

After a quick lunch break, to grasp the beauty of Vienna and recharge our energy, we were directed towards the Diplomatische Akademie Wien, where we had some time to get acquainted with one another, before continuing the Summit.

Our next lecturer was Lukas Wank, Co-Director at the Think-Thank Shabka, who delivered a speech about European Security Policy. After the lecture, we dealt with a case study concerning the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we were divided into small groups and  each one of us was assigned a different role within this scenario, such as leader of local militia or university student. The goal of this exercise was to show how difficult and complex it is to agree on policies, when both local and international actors are involved. In fact, the needs and concerns of an actor might be completely different from those of another one, which certainly complicates the situation.

At this point, we wrapped up day one and went out for a few drinks.

 

DAY 2: UN HEADQUARTERS, VIENNA
We arrive at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna early in the morning. After entering the building and doing security checks, we receive a badge allowing us to spend the whole day there. Incredible!

We grab a coffee and we are ready for the day. Two important experts from the UNODC were waiting for us in the conference room: Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director in the division for policy analysis and public affairs and Billy Batware, responsible for crime and drug prevention and counter-terrorism projects.

Mr. Lemahieu delivered a speech about how the UNODC is working towards achieving peace, justice and the Sustainable Development Goals. Then, we had an intense Q&A, where we grasped the opportunity of having someone from the UN willing to answer to our many questions and solve our doubts related.

After his speech, Mr. Batware talked to us about the engagement of the UNODC with other NGOs in combating transnational organized crime, which was followed once again by a Q&A session. In this occasion, we also had the chance to get to know one of his interns and ask him directly about his experience at the United Nations as a young student, just like us.

Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at the UN cafeteria, which contributed to making experience at the UN feel more real, as if we were not visitors but rather actually part of the system.

Although at this point the academic part was over, there was so much more we were excitedly waiting for. We had the whole afternoon for ourselves to enjoy at the United Nations, so we had to make the most out of it! So, Ramiro Murguía, the Director of the Academy, guided us through the different wings of the building and thus we visited UNIDO, IAEA and UNODC. At this point, we couldn’t miss the chance of taking some pictures in this incredible environment!

To finish our day in the best way, we gathered at the diplomatic bar of the United Nations and had a drink all together, where we had time to share our views, perspectives and experiences.

 

DAY 3: International Institute for Peace

The third day and last day was definitely the most intense from an academic point of view but it definitely was necessary to gain a 360-degrees experience.

First, we were greeted by Mrs. Velina Tchakarova, Head of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, who delivered a speech about the transformation of the global system with a special focus on the current and future role of Europe, which later opened up a discussion about Europe’s supremacy.

The next lecturer was Michael Zinkanell, Secretary General at Shabka Think-Tank, who delivered a speech about integration and European Union, which was followed by a practical exercise where we were divided in three groups, each one with a different type of EU integration. For example, my group imagined what would happen if the European Union underwent a process of full integration, where each member state renounced to its sovereignty. I believe that the practical part of the Summit is very important. I experienced this both in Madrid and Vienna: in this way, the lecturers allow the students to understand better the theoretical notions dealt with by applying them into practical contexts.

At this point, it was time for a quick lunch break during which some of us, including myself, gave interviews and shared our experience with World Youth Academy.

After the short break, we had our final lecture by Mr. Tarik Ndifi, who focused on the crisis in Ukraine and the OSCE field mission involved there. Within his lecture, he also emphasized how important the collaboration between the various institutions is and specifically presented us how the OSCE and UNHCR cooperate together.

The last session was now over, bringing the Summit to an end. However, there was still something missing… our certificates! In the last moments of the Summit, we were all handed our diplomas and we took the official pictures. With a final round of applause, we all congratulated and promised each other to meet very soon at the next Summits!

I’d like to conclude with a few final remarks: since first joining the World Youth Academy a few months ago, I honestly feel already much more enriched both from an academic and personal point of view. The lectures, the experts and the institutions involved are of high excellence and provide the participants with thorough and diversified knowledge.

In addition, the working environment is incredible. It’s not everyday you find 16 different nationalities in the same place sharing your own interests and passions.

Thank you everyone and see you soon!

By Mariam Frangulyan

Participant of the 8th Intl. Security Policy Summit in Vienna
Ca’Foscari University of Venice