On Thursday, October 31, Burch Diplomacy Club organized a guest lecture by BG Marti J. Bissell, Commander and Senior Military Representative NHQSA, on the topic “BiH’s current path to NATO and the benefits that Bosnia and Herzegovina might get from membership in the Alliance” for its members, as well as International Burch University students and faculty.
Upon her arrival, Bissell was welcomed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mersid Poturak, rector of International Burch University, Assist. Prof. Dr. Adis Maksić, the head of the Department of International Relations and European Studies and Mirza Tokić, the president of Burch Diplomacy Club. They had a meeting in the rectorate prior to the lecture.
Students from the Department of International Relations and Richmond Park College Sarajevo were given an opportunity to listen to the lecture about NATO, missions and values of the Alliance and about its goals. Bissell also talked about BiH’s current path toward NATO, the reasons why should BiH join NATO and what the obstacles on the path towards the organisation are.
Bissell first spoke about the history of NATO, which began on April 4, 1949, twelve countries made a commitment to each other to prevent potential aggression by any foreign power. The founding members included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Then, Bissell mentioned shared common values of NATO, among which are democracy, peace and stability, freedom and rule of law. Bissell explained Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the so-called mutual defence clause, which ensures that an attack on one member state is an attack on all members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Article 5, presents the commitment to defend and promotes security of NATO members.
She also focused on NATO accession process and process of joining NATO, as well as the requirements that countries seeking to join NATO membership must meet. Before the question and answer part of the lecture, Bissell addressed current myths about NATO, which are misperceptions people have towards this organization.
Audience was eager to ask Bissell questions, among which were those about NATO in general, about BiH case on the path towards NATO, BG’s personal views and perspectives and some advices for the audience. Students were most interested in what the obstacles are and what BiH has yet to fulfill to become a member.
Bissel emphasized the potential of BiH for military exercises and training for NATO forces in BiH because of the desirable geography, but she also highlighted an obstacle to NATO membership in the form of underpaid soldiers and that membership is far away.