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.