>Day 6 (Brussels)

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We entered the NATO gates to 28 waving flags saying welcome! This is a 60’s style campus of buildings in need of renovation and modernization. Our first presenter, Dr. Stephanie Babst, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Communications Coordination, Public Diplomacy Division (wow, what a title—wow, what a woman—wow— she was at Penn State for a year and earned her PhD at Harvard) outlined the agenda for NATO including a new strategic concept. This will adddress the core concepts and goals for the alliance during the next decade. Looks like NATO is planning for a lot of change to meet the needs of our every changing world! They also need to get rid of the window air conditioners and go green while reconfiguring their internal structure and facilities!

The morning sessions continued with a list of experienced, bright and heavy “players” here at NATO. It was beyond interesting and informative for our group. Specific topics included th Afghan situation and the Holbrook Coherent Plan. We also discussed the pirate activity off the coast of Somalia and other current “hot spots”.

Our lunch was elegant and delicious in the executive dining room. Our hosts were gracious and the conversation moved quickly from sport to travel, and then back to international affairs and Darfur, What a memorable day!

This is our last night in Bruxelles—–we better have a few more beers and more chocolate! Off to Vienna in the morning!

-Joann

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