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International relations students win prestigious award at Foreign Office

Liverpool Hope University students, Harry Bates, Eimhear Byrne and George Couch, standing with their Outstanding Delegation certificate at the 2023 BISA Model NATO held at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

Students from Liverpool Hope University showcased their credentials as international diplomats of the future by winning an award at a prestigious British International Studies Association (BISA) event.

Harry Bates, Eimhear Byrne and George Couch were recognised as the Outstanding Delegation at the annual BISA Model NATO held at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Model saw teams from 30 universities from across the UK gather in Whitehall to represent a NATO ally in a day-long simulation of a humanitarian crisis scenario.

Hope’s team played the role of Norway and comprised second year Politics and International Relations students, George and Harry, and third year History and International Relations student, Eimhear.

They were responsible for negotiating Norway’s response to earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Mediterranean that harmed, displaced and affected many people within NATO's southern member states and neighbouring states.

Reflecting on their success, Dr Catalina Montoya Londono, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, said: “Harry, George and Eimhear’s engagement with this event and their professionalism in representing the University was outstanding and well reflected in the award they received.

“The Model NATO provided an excellent opportunity, not only to learn about how NATO works through a simulated crisis scenario, but also to apply key transferable and academic skills in politics and international relations.

“It was an extremely valuable experience which enhanced the students' confidence and interest in their learning journey as well as their curiosity and willingness to take part in future challenges and progress their careers.”

Harry, George and Eimhear were selected to represent Hope after coming through a competitive application process which required International Relations students to explain why they wanted to participate in the Model.

They then spent weeks preparing by researching NATO and Norway’s role in it before heading to London, where their performance was judged by representatives from the FCDO and BISA.

George, a mature student from Liverpool, took the role of lead delegate, representing Norway in the North Atlantic Committee, NATO’s highest authority, whilst Harry was part of the Military Committee, advising how Norway’s military resources could be used most effectively.

Eimhear joined the Civil Emergency Planning Committee, focusing on the humanitarian response to the crisis, and has been inspired by her participation in the Model.

“I learnt so much about NATO, its administrative process and the nature of proceedings,” she said.

“It was fascinating to learn about different countries’ interests and the unpredictability of NATO meetings.

“This has resolved some queries I had about working in big organisations and institutions. I was unsure what I would do upon finishing university and now I feel I have a growing desire to find a fulfilling career in humanitarian efforts or policymaking.”

George added: “Winning this award has given me confidence that I can excel in a prestigious academic setting and I am now planning to run for president of the Politics, History and International Relations Society next year.

“My aim is to get us set up to take part in the Liverpool United Nations Model and this award has proven we have the skills to do so.”

Published on 16/03/2023