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2009 Azalea Festival Symposium At ODU Will Consider The Future Of NATO

As the tide of geopolitical change following the end of the Cold War pushed the Czech Republic in a new international direction, NATO, too, has had to adapt to a new security environment, taking into account the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the post-9/11 security environment and the emerging complex security challenges facing the Alliance. These influences will provide the backdrop for a day of healthy debate on the future of NATO at the 2009 Azalea Festival Symposium.

The theme of this year's symposium is "NATO at Sixty: Emerging Strategic Imperatives." The symposium, hosted by Allied Command Transformation and Old Dominion University, in conjunction with the 2009 Azalea Festival's most honoured nation, the Czech Republic, will bring together policymakers, academics and military officers from both sides of the Atlantic to explore how the Alliance, using the tools of persuasion and inspiration, will help build a stable and peaceful international order in the 21st century.

In addition to planned presentations, the conference will feature panel discussions in key areas, such as the new security paradigm, improved cooperation with the EU and UN, and the expanding dimensions of transatlantic security.

Conference speakers and panelists include:

  • Lt. Gen. James Soligan, Deputy Chief of Staff Transformation

Within the full scale of ACT's transformational responsibilities, Lt. Gen. Soligan supports the commander with emphasis on improving alliance interoperability in order to enhance NATO's operational capabilities and to meet NATO's current and future requirements.

Lt. Gen. Soligan will deliver the opening and closing remarks at the symposium.

  • Gen. Sir John Reith, KCB CBE, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Gen. Reith will deliver the keynote address, "Political and Military Transformation of the Alliance - What Next?" at 9:15 a.m. His commentary will address whether NATO will remain the premier Defense and Security Alliance.

  • Brig. Gen. Josè Fernandez Demaria, deputy assistant chief of staff for strategic concepts, policy and interoperability at the Supreme Allied Command Transformation; Ian J. Brzezinski, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defence for European and NATO affairs; Lt. Col. Ilmar Tamm, director of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia; Vaclav Bartuska, ambassador-at-large for energy security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Brig. Gen. Demaria will moderate the panel discussion, "Evolving Security Challenges: Preparing the Alliance for 21st Century Risks and Threats," at 10:45 a.m. Areas of discussion will include the New Alliance Maritime Strategy, energy security, cyber-security, environmental security, the relevance of space dimension to NATO, and whether NATO's involvement enhances or facilitates what others do.

  • Ambassador Jiri Sedivy, assistant secretary general for NATO's defense policy and planning

Ambassador Sedivy will offer his views and reflections on the topic, "Cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations: Understanding Civilian-Military Synergies," at 1:15 p.m.

  • Simon Serfaty, Old Dominion University eminent scholar and professor of international studies and the Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and senior adviser for the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.; Keith Krause, director of the Centre for Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, the programme director of the Small Arms Survey and professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland; Karl-Heinz Kamp, director of the Research Division at NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy; Maj. Gen. Georges Lebel, division head for NATO's Cooperation and Regional Security, International Military Staff

Serfaty will moderate the panel discussion, "NATO and Cooperation with the EU, UN and NGOs: New Challenges and Opportunities," at 2 p.m. Areas of discussion will include whether NATO has the ways and means to conduct joint mission planning with IO/NGO and other nonmilitary organizations; procurement choices, cooperation and interoperability; whether the Alliance needs a broader set of conflict prevention and peacekeeping capabilities; and discussions on when NATO should take the lead or follow others.

  • Michael Kraus, Frederick C. Dirks Professor of Political Science and director of Russian and East European studies at Middlebury College in Vermont

Kraus will offer his views and reflections on the topic, "The West and Russia after Georgia," at 3:15 p.m.

The 2009 Azalea Festival Symposium will be held at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must register in advance. For a complete itinerary and to register, visit http://www.act.nato.int/azaleasymposium. Registrations also are accepted by emailing snguyen@odu.edu.

Following the symposium at ODU, the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads will host a dinner at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel. The cost for attendees of the symposium is $50 and online registration is available at www.hrwac.org.

In conjunction with Norfolk's 56th International Azalea Festival, Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries will present in its atrium an exhibition from the Czech Republic Military Institute in Prague, "World War II Era International Posters," from April 17 to May 5. For more information, call 683-6271 or visit: http://www.odu.edu/ao/news/media.php?todo=details&id=15507.

Allied Command Transformation is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's leading agent for change; enabling, facilitating and advocating continuous improvement of military capabilities to enhance the military interoperability, relevance and effectiveness of the Alliance.

For additional information about ACT, contact U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Sarah Langdon at 757-747-3223 or pao@act.nato.int.

Old Dominion University is Virginia's forward-focused, public doctoral research university, with more than 23,000 students and offering innovative and engaging teaching in 70 bachelor's, 60 master's and 36 doctoral degree programs. At ODU, a determined entrepreneurial approach to problem solving drives cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships with government, business, industry, organizations and the arts.

For additional information about ODU, contact Michelle Falck, assistant director for marketing and communications, at 757-683-3114 or mfalck@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: April 24, 2009

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