International Relations major, Alyssa Wilson `17, was recently invited to participate in the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI)'s NATO Summer School. This conference, taking place in Měřín, Czech Republic in July 2017 titled: “NATO in the Age of Hybrid Warfare”, covered a broad range of topics including cyber security, disinformation campaigns, as well as a week-long crisis simulation on securing the Black Sea region.

As a workshop style event, the program was only available to twenty participants from NATO-aligned countries carefully chosen through a highly-selective review process which required applicants to identify and define the most crucial issues facing NATO countries today. Not only was Alyssa one of the youngest participants in the program, having just graduated in May 2017, she was also one of a handful of students not currently enrolled in a Master’s or PhD program.

According to Alyssa, the liberal arts curriculum at Franklin, and the high degree of support from the Franklin faculty made all the difference in her being able to attend the conference. “Franklin is really unique in the faculty’s support and investment in students and alumni. Being able to piece many ideas and themes together to see a larger picture, and discussing issues from multiple lenses and levels enriched the overall experience.” Assistant Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Bernd Bucher, acknowledged that Franklin International Relations majors study NATO both theoretically and empirically, and while this is a necessity for active participation in a rigorous workshop program like the PSSI NATO Summer School, Alyssa’s work ethic and determination made a real difference. “Alyssa was an exceptional student. One of her qualities certainly is that she actively seeks out opportunities and follows through.”

For Alyssa, participation in the NATO Summer School is a step towards a future career in international security studies. In fall 2017 she will start a Master's degree program at Charles University in Prague, and plans to continue participating in future workshops and events. Her goal is to “keep bringing together young minds to help think about and attempt to solve our world's larger problems.”