NATO-ACT Cooperation

Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Bologna and the Allied Command Transformation.


Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Bologna and the Allied Command Transformation.

In 2006 , the University of Bologna and the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) have signed a collaboration agreement (Memorandum of Understanding - MOU) which provides the opportunity for students to do an internship at ACT and a series of activities of scientific collaboration. In the context of the MOU have been developed three main activities : a simulation for the students (Nato Model Event) , an international conference with security and defense experts (Academic Conference) and a stage that is annually offered by ACT. In 2014 the founding of a research project (Predict) was also added.

The simulation: the Nato Model Event

Since the academic year 2006-2007, the School of Political Sciences, Forlì campus, in collaboration with the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation HQ (SACT HQ) has organized the “Nato Model Event”, a simulation of the works of the North Atlantic Council, to which participate students of the School as well as other Italian and foreign universities.

It is constituted by an exercise involving specifically selected students, who, simulating the role of Atlantic Council states’ representatives, discuss and decide how to react to a given crisis scenario.

Professor Sonia Lucarelli has been responsible for the NATO Model Event between 2007 and 2011, followed by Prof. Mario Del Pero between 2011 and 2013 and by Prof. Eugenia Baroncelli since 2014.

Between 2007 and 2012 best students of the NME were selected to participate to a similar simulation abroad. During several editions selected students represented the University of Bologna at the NATO Model Conference in Washington, D.C., obtaining several recognitions for their merits.

Prof. Lucarelli (2007-2011) and Prof. Baroncelli (2012) have been responsible for the Washington based simulation. Prof. Lucarelli, Capano, Del Pero, Castelli e Zambernardi guided the students in Washington.

The Academic Conference

Since 2011 an international conference has been added to the other activities foreseen by the Memorandum between the University of Bologna and SACT. It has led to several publications and helped constituting a permanent network aimed at fostering dialogue on issues related to the future of the Atlantic Alliance. The conferences, coordinated for the University of Bologna by Prof. Sonia Lucarelli, (professor of International Relations at the School of Political Sciences, Forlì campus) , in collaboration with the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome, touched upon crucial issues for the Atlantic Alliance, such as partnerships and smart defence and involved scholars from different regions (Europe, United States, Canada, Russia and Middle East) and from different professional backgrounds (academics, think tanks, NATO officials, military)

Managing change: NATO’s partnerships and deterrence in a globalized world (21-22 giugno 2011, Villa Guastavillani)
Dynamic Change. Re-thinking NATO's Capabilities, Operations, and Partnerships. (26-27 ottobre 2012, Villa Guastavillani)
Flexible Frameworks, Beyond Borders. Understanding Regional Dynamics to Enhance Cooperative Security (15-17 maggio 2014, Centro Universitario di Bertinoro)
What NATO for what Threats? Warsaw and Beyond (04-06 ottobre 2015, Centro Universitario di Bertinoro)
Projecting stability in an era of hybrid warfare and terrorism: which NATO role?, Bertinoro 24-26 Ottobre 2018),
The high profile of partecipants, around 80 for each edition, has guaranteed a high level of debate in both plenary session and seminars. Under the auspices of the organizers, these meetings should represent a starting point for a constant exchange between universities, research centres, and NATO on politically and academically relevant security issues.

The PREDICT Project

In 2014, the PREDICT Project (Projections and Relevant Effects of Demographic Implications, Changes, and Trends), financed by SACT has been added to the other activities. The project, coordinated by prof. Sonia Lucarelli, in collaboration with Prof. Filippo Andreatta, saw the participation of several members of the Department of Social and Political Sciences (Prof. Baroncelli, Giacomello, Gasperoni, Panebianco, Zambernardi) and involved several international partners: Bruno Kessler Foundation-Cerpic (Trento); Warwick University (United Kingdom); Sabanci University (Turkey); Johns Hopkins University - SAIS (USA/Italia).

Responsible of the MOU for the University of Bologna di Professor Sonia Lucarelli.

The research project led to the realization of 4 interim report, to the organization of two international workshops, to the creation of a website and the realization of a video aimed at the divulgation of the results as well as to the official publication of the final report by NATO-ACT.

The PATTERNS project

In 2016, a second project PATTERNS, (Political Affairs and Technological Transformation: Evolution and Relevance for NATO Strategy), financed by NATO-act has been added to the other activities. The project, coordinated by Prof. Giampiero Giacomello, in collaboration with Dr. Francesco Niccolò Moro and Dr. Marco Valigi saw the participation of several scholars from Italian (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Università Federico II di Napoli, Universirtà Cattolica e del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Università di Trento) and international (Cornell University, Bundeswehr University, University of Sheffield, University of Oxford, NATO Defence College) academic institutions as well as from think tanks (Istituto Affari Internazionali, European Council for Foreign Relations). An interim and a final report – published by NATO – were realized.

The Workshop: NATO-UNIBO Summer Workshop

On a biennial basis, the Nato Model Event is preceded by the NATO-Unibo Summer Workshop. The two events, combined into a 5-day Academic Program, offer highly performing and motivated IR graduate students a unique opportunity to study and enact the politics and practice of NATO.

Co-sponsored by The NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the University of Bologna (Scuola di Scienze Politiche - Vicepresidenza di Forlì, Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali) the 5-day Academic Program provides participants with selected analytical tools to take an informed, expert-led journey into NATO’s internal dynamics, evolving policies and relations. During the Workshop, NATO staff, academicians and practitioners interact with students through high-level talks and Q/A sessions on NATO’s structure, policies and challenges in the evolving context of international politics.

Coordinated for the University of Bologna by Prof. E.Baroncelli (Associate Professor of Political Science, School of Political Sciences) the First NATO Unibo Summer Workshop focused on ‘Nato and Security Challenges: Institutions and Policies, Key Trends and Best Practices’ and was held in Forlì, from June 27 through July 1 2016, at the Palazzo Morgagni venue and the Fondazione Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì, in the prestigious Sala del Consiglio. The Workshop was attended by almost 50 participants (students from domestic and international universities, selected through a competitive international call, international practicioners, academic scholars and diplomats).

The Thematic Workshop: Projecting Stability in an Unstable World

Bologna, May 10-11, 2017. Within the long-lasting and successful cooperation between academia and military institutions started in 2006 with a Nato Model Event and strengthened since 2011 with the Academic Conference the School of Diplomatic Sciences has promoted once again a two days’ workshop on the topic of projecting stability in the scenarios of international crisis. The workshop - coordinated by Professor Sonia Lucarelli and Francesco Moro, with the cooperation of Marco Valigi – has been organized with Istituto Affari Internazionali, and supported by NATO Allied Command Transformation.

Thanks to the participation of Sixty among major experts from academia, think-tanks, IOs and NGOs, the event has been articulated in three plenary sessions and three working groups. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the discussion has been then focused on the concept of stabilization, the potential advantages of more tight cooperation among NATO, IOs and NGOs, and the challenges in the last ten years raised around NATO borders.