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NATO Engages: TtU's key role in Washington conference

by Carley Bowman

File under Client Work

A core part of Thinking the Unthinkable’s focus and mission is to drive debate and conversations on what is not being adequately thought about.

Often the exchanges are confidential and behind closed doors. Here is a top example of one public event. It is NATO’s 70th anniversary commemoration conference in Washington.

Here are highlights of TtU Founder and Co-Director Nik Gowing’s lead convening role.

NATO Engages is the Alliance’s leading outreach programme. Its Washington event was organised jointly by the Munich Security Conference, the Atlantic Council and German Marshall Fund.

Nik’s co-moderator for the seven hours of exchanges was Ines Pohl, Editor-In-Chief, Deutsche Welle. Note the visionary setting in the round, and its impact on the atmosphere and engagement.

In Nik’s words: “We managed to create dialogue, engagement and a spontaneous ventilation of ideas which is so often lacking in this kind of gathering. Contributors at every level felt motivated to offer views on what NATO must do to prepare for new unthinkables, plus what the Secretary General warned them and a rare joint meeting of the US Congress that same day are new uncertainties which the Alliance is not yet prepared for.”

Feedback from the event was extremely positive. Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council wrote: “Let me offer you a tremendous thank you. You are a remarkable colleague and collaborator and I love watching you in action. Your touch with Ines was perfect.

“NATO was blown away, NATO governments especially the Brits were awestruck, and the consortium and our partners couldn’t be happier. You helped us deliver on the vision of making NATO engaging if not sexy. We’ve done several debriefs and you two are always a highlight.”

A fuller 24 minute version of the event style and its highlights are available to watch on our Vimeo channel, along with other examples of TtU’s work.

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