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African Study Day Opening Statement


As Prepared

Good morning and thank you for coming to learn about our Hub based with Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

The Hub has come a long way since some of you attended the last press conference in September, where you heard my predecessor, Admiral Howard outlining the vision for the organization.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced at the July 11-12 NATO Summit that our Hub is fully capable.  Now, in the margins of the first study day organized by the Hub, it seems appropriate to update you on where we are and where we are going.

In my mind, ‘fully capable’ means that we are able to carry out our key functions of connecting  and collaborating with a wide range of organizations and contributing to working towards solving the drivers of the instability which is causing so much suffering in some of the countries to the south.

The Hub is a long project which NATO is committing.   There are no quick fixes.  The international community, and by that I mean governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and others with specialist knowledge such as think tanks and academia, has a responsibility to try and improve life for the millions of people living in difficult conditions in North Africa, the Sahel and parts of the Middle East. 

If we don’t do this, then the migrants will keep seeking to come to Europe and extremists with attracting young men to their misguided way crime and terrorism through radical ideology.  So the Hub is faced to help create international solutions to a very international problem.

NATO, as the world’s most successful alliance of nearly 70 years, identified three years ago in its Warsaw Summit that NATO must step up its activities to address the challenges to the south. 

NATO’s solution was to create the Hub.  It is able to help NATO better understand the problems and to provide recommendations.  It does this by engaging with a wide range of people through conferences, events such as this study day, webinars and seminars. 

The Hub builds upon this knowledge over time and will be a major contributor to NATO’s decision making process when looking at the challenges of the south.  In addition, the Hub is seeking to better synchronize much of the activity that NATO and its 29 member and 41 partner nations are already doing in the south so we can be more effective in delivering meaningful partnership, more effective training and security sector reform.

The Hub is a long term project, remains in its early days, having been activated not even one year yet.  We have already engaged with numerous leaders from many organizations – much like those you see here today – with an interest in the Middle East and North African regions.  The word is starting to spread that NATO has this Hub, which works in a unique way, to try and bring people to together to help better address the problems in the south.

So after not even one year, we find the Hub in a position to provide meaningful engagement, like today’s study day, along with knowledge and wisdom that comes with it, to NATO’s senior leaders and our partners. 

I’ll now hand over to Brigadier General Roberto Angius, who will provide more details of the Hub’s recent activities before we address your questions.

 

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