Well, as out time here in Belgium winds down, we have covered several topics. For the longest time I have been thoroughly intrigued by the United States government and the Public Affairs Officers role in it all. What has had me so intrigued is how Public Affairs Officers handle and maintain a sort of Public Relations role for the government. Now, if you have not figured this out by now, my heart belongs in Public Relations and I have a sincere passion and appreciation for the United States Armed Forces. This appreciation, I am sure can be traced back to my upbringing, since there are several people in my family (including my father, and one brother) who have, or who continue to serve.
From the beginning of our trip to Brussels, many visits to several organizations have had me on the edge of my seat, the final stop on our tour to the North Atlantic Treaty Association’s (NATO) Public diplomacy division was not different. It was here that we “briefed” on the behind the scenes efforts that are put forth toward media representation for the 28 countries that are involved. Allison Hart was our initial point of contact at NATO and provided the group with some vital information of who NATO is and what they do. NATO was founded in 1949 to “safeguard the freedom and security of all countries” involved. Originally located in Paris, there were only 12 countries involved in this consensus based organization. Allison described the NATO bond as being one of the 3 musketeers, once a treaty is signed, if 1 country is attacked, we all are attacked.
We were also given the pleasure of speaking with Oana Lungescu who is a spokesperson for NATO. Although she was extremely busy, Ms. Lungescu found about a 15 minute window to come and speak with us about her roll in the organization. She comes from a journalism background, and is responsible for keeping the media up to date with what is going on during important NATO meetings. She described the 2013 NATO as “not your grandparents NATO” referring to the extreme emphasis on the amount the technology used to keep people informed. During meetings, Oana tweets and retweets messages in order to get information out in real time. She also tries to make sure that she speaks on behalf of the 28 nations and that public questions are answered. Check out Oana in action (video direct from You Tube).
In today’s society, I realize that using technology is extremely important for communication. With every social media website, and the extreme advance of technology Oana and her team use all tools necessary to get the job done! And what an amazing one she does!