12/09/2014: This year a Future Leaders Summit was organised as part of the NATO summit in Wales., and Milestone co-founder Daniel Léderer was the only Hungarian participant.
Who invited you? And why you?
The Atlantic Council, one of the fastest growing American think tanks, is the organiser of the Future Leaders Summit. They invited young people aged 25-35 who they think will become policy decision-makers in their own countries. Apparently, they considered Milestone to be a cradle of emerging intellectual leaders. Getting invited was a great honour, especially as only 40 participants were chosen from among 600 candidates.
What is the Future Leaders Summit about? And why does it take place at the same time as the NATO Summit?
As part of the NATO programme, the objective of the Summit was to channel the ideas and opinions of future leaders into NATO. And in return we got first-hand updates about the strategic policies of NATO.
How did your ideas reach the decision makers?
KThey went through two steps. Before the NATO Summit we sent aWorking Group Report to Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. During the Summit we worked in teams that came up with their own security policy suggestions. I participated in the ‘Emerging Threats’ team, where we discussed topics such as terrorism and averting non-traditional paramilitary attacks.
And who were the other members of your team?
A chief political strategist from the Office of the British Prime Minister, an officer from the Latvian Ministry of Defence and a diplomat from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had served in Afghanistan. Then there was a teacher of Greek descent from Columbia University and an American manager from McKinsey who’d graduated in theology from Oxford. I especially appreciated a woman from Afghanistan who had developed her country’s first strategy against sexual harassment. The topic of my team was particularly interesting because it was not about the resolution of already existing conflicts, but about how to predict unforeseen events.
Did you have ideas about how to predict these?
I suggested the creation of a security map based on Twitter. This map would use tweets to locate security risks and emerging conflicts.
How did you come up with this idea?
Through Milestone, unsurprisingly. One of our students, Bence Szikora, is leaving for Southampton to study engineering. As an entry assignment, he handed-in a mood-map based on tweets; this gave me the idea.
Did they like it?
It was a big success. The Atlantic Council plans to develop this idea. I suggested Milestone as a partner in the project and they went with it.
So you talked about Milestone as well.
Yes, it became clear very early on that every member of the team considered education a priority. And they saw Milestone as a workshop that – along with the students, of course – can play an important role in education projects.
Let’s talk about the other side of this. How and where did you meet the participants of the NATO Summit?
The location of the Summit, the Celtic Manor Resort, had two main buildings. We stayed in one of them, and the prime ministers and presidents in the other, and the Secretary General of NATO and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe as well as a number of prime ministers and ministers of foreign affairs visited us.
Did you have a chance to talk to them?
There were panel discussions where we got to ask questions.
Yes, from Nick Clegg, the UK Deputy Prime Minister.
What did you ask?
I asked about the plans concerning those members of the NATO that do not abide by the core principles of the organisation.
And what was his answer?
To tell you the truth: he didn’t give a straight answer.
And how did they view Hungary?
I felt that – besides Turkey – Hungary was a sensitive issue. There have been a lot of articles about us in the international press and people are wondering what’s going on. Because of this there was a great deal of interest in Milestone and in our students. After all, in a few years they will the ones to be invited to the Future Leaders Summit.