NATO grant for “Promoting NATO to Youth” project

Following ATA UK’s successful “Promoting NATO Across Communities” project last year, NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division has awarded a grant to ATA UK’s parent organization – Resilient Futures – for a follow-on project for 2023.

“Promoting NATO Across Communities” included seven outreach events involving some 250 students in two six-form colleges in Leicester – Gateway College and Wyggeston Queen EIizabeth I College. The new “Promoting NATO to Youth” programme will allow similar events to take place not only in Leicester but elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The introductory session provides an overview of NATO whilst the second part aims to heighten students’ awareness of hostile disinformation efforts and show how these are intended to erode cohesion in democratic societies and undermine confidence in liberal values and institutions. The sessions also look at disinformation in the context of the “myths and realities” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, contrasting NATO’s actual role with that presented by President Putin.

The introductory session provides an overview of NATO whilst the second part aims to heighten students’ awareness of hostile disinformation efforts. These campaigns are intended to erode cohesion in democratic societies and undermine confidence in liberal values and institutions. The sessions also look at disinformation in the context of the “myths and realities” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, contrasting NATO’s actual role with that presented by President Putin.

An outreach event at Gateway College in November 2022
The two colleges involved in the original project have already requested similar engagement events for new cohorts of students, as well as further events on disinformation for students who participated in previous events. Other colleges have also expressed an interest in the project which will boost critical thinking and analytical skills.

So far students undertaking Uniformed Public Services, Politics and History courses have enjoyed the packages but the transferable life skills involved mean that students reading any subject can benefit.

Teacher Feedback

“As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world’. The NATO seminars led by the ATA UK were so incredibly valuable to our Politics students. Giving the students the opportunity to have a dialogue about NATO provided students with a level of knowledge and understanding that a textbook and PowerPoint are unable to compete with.”
“The presenters were open to challenging questions and students had the opportunity to get a different perspective of NATO. A brilliant educational experience, which was very well organised. We would definitely want to do this again in the future.”
“This was a great opportunity to allow students to discover more information about NATO and the work which they do. It was an opportunity to expose students to new information, which can only help them. Students left the session with more information and a much better understanding. It has opened up wider discussion on conflict, which has led to helpful discussion and dialogue between students and tutors”
Henry Strickland, Executive Director of Resilient Futures said, “The project developed by David Hobbs and Riaz Ravat explains the benefits and obligations of the United Kingdom’s membership of NATO and stresses that NATO is an Alliance bound together by shared values. These values correlate perfectly with those which British schools and colleges promote on a daily basis”.

Mr. Strickland added, “We have been extremely gratified by the responses of staff and students to our outreach programmes. We are delighted that, as a result of the grant from NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, the “Promoting NATO to Youth” project will run throughout 2023. We encourage schools and colleges throughout the UK to get in touch”.

Student Feedback

“Very enjoyable and informative”
“Learning more about NATO than what you hear on the news”
“It was great to know more about NATO. I knew the name, but not what they did. Now I know much more”
“I was fascinated to find out more information and get a better understanding of the role NATO plays in the world. I even went back home and discussed it with my parents, sharing some of the information I learnt in the session with them”
“The event was greatly helpful to my understanding of NATO and the connections and obligations it has”
“My knowledge of NATO has definitely increased”
An outreach event at Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth I College NATO outreach in June 2022