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NATO working visit with Humanities students and alumni

Twenty students and alumni from our faculty recently went on a working visit to NATO. Led by Leiden alumna Beaudine Verhoek (MA in International Relations), who is now Officer for Political Affairs and Security Policy at NATO, we were treated to an informative programme at the organisation’s brand-new headquarters in Brussels.

Alumna Beaudine explains: ‘Both within and outside my own working environment, I often come across the assumption that NATO is some kind of inaccessible military fort. I hope that this visit and the information about the NATO Traineeship will help fix that image.’

A political and military alliance

Eric Povel, Programme Officer for the Netherlands (and Leiden alumnus of Political Science) sketched the 70-year history of the NATO and its unique principle of consensus: a NATO resolution is only treated as binding if all 29 member states agree to it. Eric also talked about NATO’s collaboration with the Baltic states: the Netherlands is part of the effort to monitor Baltic airspace. Later, we spoke to people from the Dutch delegation, which is made up of representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of those representatives is another Leiden alumnus (BA in History and MA in North American Studies) who won an internship with NATO after he graduated; he now works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The representatives generously made time to answer all the questions posed by the students and alumni.

'A unique opportunity'

Daan Valden, a student of Korean Studies, described it as ‘a unique opportunity to get to know NATO better. The Dutch delegation was more than open to answering questions about their duties and the global issues NATO is currently working on. The relaxed atmosphere meant we could get a good idea of how this organisation works, as well as the opportunities to work here. I’ve always been very interested in security matters and multilateral cooperation, so I was pleasantly surprised by the opportunities on offer at NATO.’

A proud lecturer

It’s fantastic that Beaudine organised this visit to NATO together with our Alumni Relations Officer and the Humanities Career Service,’ said Dr Maxine David (MA International Relations), under whose supervision Beaudine graduated last year. ‘It’s inspiring enough for students just to visit an organisation and gain more insight into the work that goes on there, but it’s even more so when the guide is someone who was in your situation only a year ago!’

Work placements at NATO

NATO is recruiting more candidates for work placements this spring. You can find more information on the NATO website.

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