Allied Command Transformation
March 17, 2023

Ambassadors, Global Diplomacy, and NATO – High School Students from Around the Hampton Roads Lead the Way

NORFOLK, VA. – On March 15th 2023, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation kicked off the Model NATO Challenge, bringing together students, military officials, and diplomats to participate in a strategic problem-solving challenge. Student Diplomats received mentorship from NATO officials…with the highest performing participants earning scholarships.

Virginia Wesleyan University hosted the Model NATO Challenge, a collaborative public education event that started in 2007, with 30 high-school students from around the Hampton Roads communities participating in the annual challenge. The Model NATO Challenge is a decision-making simulation of a North Atlantic Council session, with Student Ambassadors assigned to NATO member states – officials from NATO member nations mentored participants, providing the students with political, military, and diplomatic guidance….

Every year, the Student Ambassadors solve a new challenge, each representing real-world scenarios; last year’s was a crisis response simulation, which reflected geopolitics amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the reality of emerging threats. This year, the problem focused on challenges in the High North….NATO Allied Command Transformation officials chaired the North Atlantic Council session by acting as the Secretary General, the Chair of the Military Committee, and the Assistant Secretary General of Political Affairs.

Students shared their experiences: “It was really cool to experience such diversity in the Model NATO Challenge…,” said Harrison B., representing Slovenia….

…At the end of the challenge, Student Ambassadors were able to reach consensus on military and political courses of action for NATO in the High North. The best performing Student Ambassadors will receive scholarships….


Allied Command Transformation has been NATO’s home in the United States since 2003, with this year marking its 20th anniversary. This Model NATO Challenge begins the countdown to the 70th Norfolk NATO Festival, which was first held in 1953.