Master's student finalist in NATO competition
During his first year at the master's programme Politics, Security and Crisis, Gustav Christensson submitted an entry to the global competition "Safer Tomorrow Initiative: Security starts with YOU(TH)" and he was one of three finalists.
Gustav Christensson has just returned from the competition Safer Tomorrow Initiative: Security starts with YOU(TH) that was held in Madrid, where he had the opportunity to present his contribution to NATO's Chief Scientist Bryan Wells.
Tell us about the NATO competition
"It was our programme manager who gave me a tip about the competition, and it sounded exciting. I am really interested in NATO issues. There were three questions to choose from – all related to the NATO Summit in Madrid 2022. I selected one of the questions and the requirement was to submit a "paper", a conference article, with a concrete proposal on how NATO can work. In my case, I chose to write about EDT (Emerging Disruptive Technologies) and how NATO can work for responsible development and use of such technology globally."
"The event took place on the 24th floor of the IE University Center for the Governance of Changes skyscraper in Madrid. We presented our papers in front of the audience and jury and responded to the jury's questions. I was nervous, I'd be lying if I said anything else. In the front row was NATO Research Director Bryan Wells, the President of IE University, the director of the university's Center for the Governance of Change, and a high-ranking general. All in all, this was a new context and setting compared to what I had experienced before.
What was the most fun in Madrid?
"Talking to the other finalists and discussing my and their papers, but also foreign policy and security policy, because, of course, everyone was very knowledgeable in their fields. After the competition, we had an opportunity to mingle and I talked a bit with Bryan Wells. It was interesting to hear him discuss the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, Libya, how NATO acts in relation to China and Russia, and how the West can and should act towards them. Although he was there as a NATO representative, he was able to speak a little more freely and there was room for personal opinions and not just official NATO views. So, it was super cool, lots of networking with both students and senior participants."
What do you take away from the experience?
"Being one of three finalists in a global competition felt great, even though I didn't win. I have now developed a taste for that! It is proof that I can participate in the international scene. It means a lot to me, as I have always wanted to work abroad in some capacity at some point in my life."
FACTS/Safer Tomorrow Initiative: Security starts with YOU(TH)
At the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid, the Center for the Governance of Change (CGC) at the International University in Spain (IE University) launched its Safer Tomorrow Initiative: Security starts with YOU(TH).
The competition was created to raise awareness of defence and security among younger generations. It connects politics, industry and academia and provides space for young adults to reflect on future international security.
Gustav Christensson's competition entries in brief:
"The text identifies the paradigmatic challenges to the rules-based international order, and urges NATO to lead in regulating EDTs for societal benefits and international security. By establishing a regional platform and an independent international expert panel, NATO can enhance oversight and transparency in EDT development, military use, address risks, and promote cooperation. This strengthens global security and maintains a rules-based order."
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