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Currently in Brussels, she works in the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO, in the office of the Secretary General. In the interview below, Fridays With MUNPlanet exposes her MUN side as being complementary to her work at the NATO headquarters.
Ivana: While studying at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, I saw the announcement for the Belgrade International Model UN (BIMUN). Since I was already an active student participant in various seminars, conferences and debates, I have decided to try MUNs as well. Plus, Belgrade has always been my secret love!
On my first MUN I represented Nigeria. Soon afterwards, I got in love with the idea of acting and simulating the workings of diplomacy that I decided to go for more MUNs. I applied for ZAGIMUN (Zagreb), CIMUN (Barcelona) and LIUMUN (Ljubliana).
Ivana: After building my experience in international environment the logical step for me was to try my career in Brussels. I always thought that I would start my career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Defence in Croatia, and then come to Brussels, but it happened vice-versa.
I applied for the job position at NATO HQ (Headquarters) and got selected for the next round of the exams. It took me a year to go through the entire recruitment process and reaching the final interview before getting accepted for the job. I have never felt sorry for a day.
Ivana: I started as Policy and Communication Assistant working in the Office of the Gender Advisor for the Spanish Lieutenant Colonel on the ISAF Operations (International Assistance Force Afghanistan) and Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security working on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 in Afghanistan and protection of the women in conflict and post - conflict countries. Currently, I am working in the Public Diplomacy Division of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General.
MUNPlanet: What is your daily experience at NATO like?
Ivana: Following the preparation of the NATO Summit Wales 2014, we are focusing currently on the outcomes and deliveries for the Summit meetings and discussions on the current situation in Ukraine and the post-Afghanistan policies, handling the daily journalist requests for the interviews with the Secretary General and questions on the current situation in the world.
Ivana: The biggest challenge I would say, is definitely the speed of the changing information and thereby being careful what should be already out for the public and what stays in the Office. Working in the international environment is also a daily challenge where you have to be very specific on the expression of the words and word processing when dealing with the public.
The hardest moment for me was the fall of the Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine in July, 2014. The pressure of the ongoing situation and information regarding the people that died in the same accident was huge and emotional as well.
The biggest opportunity I got is being able to work at a NATO Summit preparations closely with the NATO Spokesperson.
Ivana: NATO is an Alliance founded in the time of the Cold War and being re-shaped during the 1990s. Today people take their freedom for granted: freedom of being able to walk in the streets without being afraid of the gunshot attack, freedom of using the water or food without being afraid of the diseases and biological weapon attacks, freedom of being able to use the Internet without being hacked at your bank account etc.
It is a strong Alliance that respects the sovereignty of the countries but is also capable to react and protect its Allies and Partners when crisis situation threats the security of its people.
Ivana: MUN simulations are very useful and helpful for shaping young people's future career choices. They have a chance to develop diplomatic skills and get a sense of the world of politics and diplomacy. They get connected and gain the ability to exchange the ideas and experiences and create a better world. I really do believe in our generation as being carriers of the future. NATO as part of the international community needs those kind of people that are future peacebuilders!
Ivana: Both the organisations are important parts of the international community and have a very good cooperation. For example, NATO leads current Operations in Afghanistan where it is also trying to implement the United Nations Security Couuncil Resolution 1325 "Women, Peace and Security."
MUNPlanet: One of the goals of MUNPlanet is to get the brightest members of the community as well as Alumni together to take part in a meaningful dialogue and interaction. Do you believe that MUNers can step forward and bring about the change as a transnational leadership force?
Ivana: MUN participants are truly important future leaders and peacebuilders. Peace is something that comes through dialogue and interaction. When someone learns from the early age how to create good policies and develop best practices in order to maintain the world peace - that is something really valuable to nowadays world! MUN Planet is a key stakeholder for bringing the change as a transnational leadership force.
MUNPlanet: What would be you message to the MUN community?
Ivana: Be creative and believe in yourselves. You are the young post – war generation and future policy builders. Your improvement is the best message to the current politicians.
MUNPlanet: Ivana, thank you for devoting your time for talking to MUNPlanet. Keep us updated!
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