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Interview with Tobias Bunde about the NATO Emerging Leaders Working Group 2014 and the project 'Future NATO'
I have studied International Relations and focus on transatlantic security policy both academically and professionally. First, I work on my PhD dissertation on identity conflicts and cooperation within NATO, based at the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies. Second, since 2009, I have been a policy advisor to Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, and thus regularly deal with issues that also occupy YATA Germany.
The Working Group is the brain child of NATO Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen and is run by the Atlantic Council in Washington. Our main task was to present a report to the Secretary General, in which we lay out our recommendations on how NATO could strengthen the transatlantic bond. We first met in Washington in April and then continued to work on the report online before presenting it in Brussels in June. Our report was supposed to represent the voice of the younger generation in order to completement the reports written by a group of Senior Experts and a commission of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. But we of course also try to influence the debate on NATO's future beyond having written this report.
It was important to us to keep the debate going and to hear the opinions of others. That's why we organize a number of Twitter debates in the run-up to the Wales Summit, which we use to discuss specific issues dealing with the future of NATO. So far, these debates have been very well received, and we hope that they encourage at least some people to engage with these topics more intensively.
I think we - as a younger generation - could be a bit more assertive and have to actively reclaim our place in the debate. It does not help anybody if one only thinks of grey hair and grey suits when someone speaks of Transatlanticists. Victoria Nuland said in Washington in November: I'm afraid that only old farts like us still understand what NATO is for." Well, she is not that old, but she's right here. And I also believe that NATO is ready to listen more carefully to what the next generation cares about.