Davidson Student Participates in International Assembly
November 14, 2001
Davidson College student Jamie McNab jumped into the dialogue about international diplomacy and terrorism with both feet this fall when he attended the forty-seventh annual Assembly of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) in Bled, Slovenia.
Loosely affiliated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the ATA is a collection of non-governmental organizations called "Atlantic Councils," which were founded in NATO countries shortly after the NATO treaty was signed. Today, Atlantic Councils are present in various countries around the world, including non-NATO countries like Slovenia. In the United States, the Atlantic Council functions like a think tank, researching and promoting issues relevant to NATO and trans-Atlantic partnerships.
Jamie, a sophomore history major from Sea Island, Ga., was one of four students who traveled to the assembly with the delegation representing the Atlantic Council of the United States. He was chosen to attend the assembly based on his participation in a seminar organized by the Atlantic Council's youth wing in Lisbon, Portugal, last summer.
The ATA gathering brought foreign service officers, ambassadors, and heads of state together in Slovenia for six days in early October to promote better relations among NATO countries and non-NATO countries, and to discuss international issues. The September 11 attack made terrorism a prime subject for discussion. One issue was the role NATO will play in light of the organization's decision to invoke article five of the treaty, which states that the organization as a whole will support any member in armed conflict. Other subjects for consideration were NATO expansion and missile defense.
Those attending included Gen. Joseph Ralston, Supreme Allied Commander for NATO's European Atlantic Command; Ambassador Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, NATO's Deputy Secretary General; and President of Slovania Milan Kucan.
Traveling less than a month after September 11, Jamie welcomed the opportunity to be airborne again as a way to regain a sense of normalcy. At the assembly, he enjoyed seeing international reaction to the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington first hand. "It was nice to get a perspective outside the Davidson community," he said.
Jamie credits Associate Professor Ken Menkhaus's comparative politics course and Professor Lou Ortmayer's international politics course with spurring his interest in international studies. He said, "The Davidson political science department gets you hooked on the New York Times and The Economist."
Both papers, which focus closely on international news, are often required reading in his political science courses. Elsewhere on campus, Jamie is a tour guide with the Davidson Ambassadors program, and a member of the Honor Council, the Union Board Speakers Committee, and College Republicans.
Although he is still uncertain about his career, he is sure that his interest in international affairs will play a significant role. In the meantime, he'll be attending a Danish Atlantic Youth seminar next summer, and is preparing for the forty-eighth annual ATA assembly to be held in Istanbul, Turkey next year.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.