Two young high achieving members of the Australia Defence Organisation have represented Australia with distinction as part of a youth delegation to the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Chicago.
Flight Lieutenant Melissa Houston and Farooq Mohammad attended the NATO Young Atlanticist summit through a partnership between Defence and Global Voices.
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, said this was a major opportunity to develop the capacity of Defence’s next generation of leaders by broadening their understanding of international engagement and contemporary policy.
In Chicago, Melissa and Farooq attended seminars and panel discussions involving various European Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers, Commander ISAF, General Allen, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. They also had a private meeting with Australia’s Ambassador to NATO, Dr Brendan Nelson and had lunch with General Jim Jones (retired), former White House National Security Adviser.
“Melissa and Farooq made significant contributions to the youth summit. It is important that Australia’s voice was heard at this summit because Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor of troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan,” Mr Snowdon said.
“I was impressed when I first met FLTLT Houston and Mr Mohammed, I know they did both Defence and Australia proud on the world stage at the NATO youth summit.”
“In addition to Afghanistan, the summit was an opportunity to examine other strategic issues relevant to Australia, such as the future of arms control and energy security,” Mr Snowdon said.
Before departing for Chicago, Melissa and Farooq each produced a research paper on a topic relevant to Australia’s engagement with NATO. These papers were provided the NATO Summit secretariat and will be published in academic journals.
Global Voices is a not for profit organisation which promotes participation in international diplomacy by young Australians. It organises Australian youth delegations to a range of important diplomatic gatherings including the Group of Twenty Nations (G20) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).
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Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon): 02 6277 7820
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