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17th Euro-Atlantic Summer University

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Contemporary international conflicts, the evaluation of NATO’ policy and strategy, a crisis management simulation as well as the visiting of the Hungarian Defense Forces’ helicopter base were among the main program points of the XVII. Euro-Atlantic Summer School.

The Summer School took place between the 24th and 29th of July at the HDF Peace Support Training Centre, Szolnok, Hungary. Main organizers were the National University of Public Service Center for Strategic and Defense Studies and the HDF vitéz Szurmay Sándor Budapest Garrison Brigade while the 80 participants were selected from Hungarian university students, public servants, soldiers, police officers and high school teachers. The event was organized in the framework of KÖFOP-2.1.2-VEKOP-15-2016-0001 Public Service Development Establishing Good Governance tender.

This unique initiative’s aim was to provide an overview concerning the security situation in Europe as well as in the European neighborhood. During the week the students of the Summer School took part in various presentations, seminars, panel discussions and team building events. For the successful completion of the training, participants had to go through an examination process on the last day of the program.

16th Euro-Atlantic Summer University

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International conflicts, crisis management and NATO provide the main topics of the 16th Euro-Atlantic Summer University organised in the co-operation of the National University of Public Service (NUPS), the Ministry of Defence and the Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF). The joint meeting of young intellectuals, security policy experts and HDF members is held between 26-31 July 2015 in the HDF Peace Support Training Centre (Szolnok) for the third time.

In the last five years the dynamically changing international environment has provided more and more intensive challenges for NATO and the European Union to which Hungary should also respond. Hence this year the lectures and seminars of the Euro-Atlantic Summer University, which is unique in Hungary, particularly focuses on the crises emerged in Europe’s security environment and the management thereof. In his opening remarks, Lieutenant General Zoltán Orosz, Vice-Chief of the Hungarian Defence Forces quoted Napoléon Bonaparte when he said “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit” referring to the participants’ intention to acquire the force of the spirit in Szolnok.

When greeting the participants Colonel Zoltán Apáti Commander of the HDF Peace Support Training Centre and Ferenc Szalay Mayor of Szolnok emphasized the symbiosis between Szolnok and the Hungarian Defence Forces. Their mutually beneficial co-operation goes back a century with values of the Hungarian Defence Forces like the order, discipline, awareness being reflected in the life of Szolnok and towards the younger generations.

The organisers of the Summer University, which as accredited by the Ministry of Human Capacities, the colleagues of the Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies, have continued the tradition of constructing an intensive programme. The presentations are thematically organised with “Global power relations” on July 27, “Procession of experiences gained in Afghanistan” on July 28, “Answers to recently emerged challenges” on July 29, “Crisis management” on July 30 and “Hungarian Defence Forces” on July 31. In addition, the Summer University includes a crisis management simulation which has been the most successful part of the events in the last years. This year’s programme also includes the “Movie Fight Club” (where students select a movie which they will discuss with experts) and “Security Policy Rage Room” (where presentations can be discussed in an informal environment).

The Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies also introduces a new publication to the students. With Wednesday’s (July 30) programme focusing on the expansion of ISIS, the latest book of Erzsébet N. Rózsa, Head of the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy at NUPS and senior researcher at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the Arab Spring and the transformation of the Middle East is introduced.

The training programme concluded with an exam continues to enjoy great popularity. Accordingly, this year’s Summer University was initiated with the maximum number of participants (80) including officers of the Hungarian Defence Forces, BA, MA and PhD students of the National University of Public Service, public servants and officials, experts in humanities, representatives of other armed forces, lecturers of the KatonaSuli Programme and several university students from the neighbouring countries as well.

Summer University in Light of NATO Accession

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The 15th Euro-Atlantic Summer University coincided with the 15th anniversary of Hungary’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The accredited program, held in the HDF Peace Support Training Centre in Szolnok between 28th of July and 1st of August, had a major emphasis on NATO’s tasks, crisis management and the organization’s answers to new types of security challenges.

This year’s summer university had 64 participants (lecturers and students) coming from the defence sector, public administration and the National University of Public Service (NUPS). The programme provided insight into the theory and practice of crisis management, the current challenges and the vision of NATO with a special focus on the antecedents of the Alliance’s 2014 September summit and on the challenges demanding the cooperation between members of the military, law enforcement and public administration.

Professor Péter Tálas, Director of the Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies, organizer and head of the summer university reminded that while this year’s event was first and foremost targeted at people in this profession, the summer university included entertaining and interactive programmes as well. Professor Tálas added that in addition to the lectures and seminars, a series of sporting and teambuilding exercises made the event more colourful with such new programmes like the “Fight Filmclub”.

“Already the first day’s panel discussions made it obvious that our goal of fostering constructive dialogues can be achieved, however, later intense debates throughout the week were beyond our expectations. Whether the talks were about the security perception of the Hungarian society and that of the political elite, the internal factors of the crisis in Ukraine or about the changes in global power, our students were active participants who did not only reveal their interest but their knowledge regarding these issues as well. The exchange of views was also beneficial for us and we hope that this informal, outspoken and open dialogue will remain between people of this profession” – summarized Professor Tálas.

The summer university jointly organized by the Hungarian Defence Force and the National University of Public Service, however, the event’s preparation included the joint efforts of the colleagues at the “vitéz Szurmay Sándor” Budapest Garrison Brigade Protocol, the Cultural Subdivision of the Directorate for Recreation and Cultural Affairs, the HDF Peace Support Training Centre in Szolnok, the Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies at NUPS and the students of the Special Student Community for Security Policy.

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