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Welcome to the website of the UN Youth Academic Conference 2014, with the theme NATO's Smart Defenders:

Women as a Valuable Asset within the Security Sector

This year's edition, taking place between 7-9 November, is focusing on two major topics for the current realm of international security, namely Smart Defence and Women, Peace and Security.

Conference call for participants: Young professionals, junior researchers, recent graduates and current students alike are invited to discuss and share their insights on key aspects of international relations, conflict management and security issues, within a vivid academic environment in the capital of Romania, Bucharest. Applications are closed.

Academic Conference 2014

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This year’s edition of the UN Youth Academic Conference will take place between 7-9 November in Bucharest and will consist in discussions revolving around the theme of NATO’s Smart Defenders: Women as a valuable asset within the security sector. Aiming to approach a topic that keeps occupying the headlines of the latest international news, namely threats to both national and international security, the current challenges to collective security and institutionalized cooperation are to be put under the spotlight and analysed, with a specific focus on the salient role women can play both as peacekeepers and in the after-war reconstruction of damaged communities.

Given the international context of conflict-wrecked areas, revived contentions or newly-burst ones, when the race for power and ownership of strategic postures has become probably as strong and assertive as during the Cold War, NATO’s response capabilities need to be duly assessed. A special focus is hence placed on the Smart Defence projects, which aim to achieve the Alliance’s missions in the most cost-effective manner. As such, one of the main topics to be placed under discussion during the conference is the analysis of the Smart Defence, in terms of its efficient implementation, evolution and contribution to the achievement of “NATO Forces 2020” aims. Scholars, researchers and young professionals alike are thus invited to present their research work and reflections upon the topic in question during the 2-days sessions of the panel entitled New perspectives on defence. The Smart Defence mindset and its sustainability.

The second grand panel of the conference, Challenges to an obsolete military culture. The gender dynamics and gender inclusion within the peacekeeping forces, focuses on the salient roles women can have within the security sector. Participants are encouraged to tackle the subject from a sociological perspective, placing a great emphasis on the demounting of prejudices that mark the obsolete military culture dismissing women as suitable and valuable for the military realm. Old social constructions and new ones are expected to be compared and analysed and answers to be given to questions regarding the way women can gain leverage in a traditionally patriarchal domain, namely the security one. Women as peacekeepers, able to tackle both the harsher and more sensitive aspects of conflict areas, and the acculturation process, from a military culture to another, are thus the issues to be disentangled during the second panel of the conference.

The structure of the conference consists thereby in several rounds of panel sessions on the topics already enunciated. Keynote lectures and speeches are to be delivered by NATO experts, who will share their experience with the participants, by scholars and professors from both Romanian and foreign universities and by female members of the peacekeeping operations, who will reveal their success stories but also the intricacy of working and dwelling in conflict areas. Nonetheless, the participants will have the chance to get better acquainted with each other and share their views during the social activities as well. Accordingly, during the three days of the conference, they shall dwell within an interactive and thought-provoking environment, where both social and professional networking will be possible.

The UN Youth Association of Romania awaits you this autumn in Bucharest to join the international youth and security experts to a promising conference, aimed to reveal security communities’ and in particular women’s potential to change the international environment into a fertile ground for peace and altruism.