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Slovakian adventure for NATO Young Leader, Gabrielle

Bond University international relations/law student Gabrielle Morriss has been selected to represent Australia at the seventh edition of the NATO Young Leaders Forum on Afghanistan in Slovakia this month.

At 22-years-old, Ms Morriss will be the youngest participant at the international forum, which will bring together around 40 students and young professionals from Afghanistan and various NATO member and partner countries from around the world.

The annual forum discusses the most pressing issues for Afghanistan in the view of young generations, with the main objective being the empowering of young Afghan professionals to be able to take over responsibility for the security and governance of their nation.

Ms Morriss said she was excited and very grateful for the opportunity to participate.

“I’ve always had a passion for international relations, but my specific interest in Afghanistan developed during my studies at Bond University, which is when I began to follow the NATO-led ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission,” she said.

“I’m particularly interested in how strengthening the rule of law and building the capacity of judicial institutions in Afghanistan can ensure security gains by ISAF are sustainable.

“This forum is a unique opportunity to deepen my understanding of Afghanistan and the challenges it faces, whilst learning from leading academics and practitioners and meeting like-minded youth from around the world.

“It provides a real-world learning experience to compliment my studies.

“It’s one thing to read a textbook and another to observe how things play out in practice,” said Ms Morriss.

Organised by the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), NATO Public Diplomacy Division and Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the 7th edition of the NATO Young Leaders Forum on Afghanistan will be held from December 9-13, in the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava.

Ms Morriss will be invited to take part in a variety of interactive discussions and lectures led by top speakers from various international and Slovak organisations, alongside activities, dynamic workshops, receptions and excursions.

This is not the first time Ms Morriss’s university studies have taken her to the far corners of the globe.

She was also part of the 2011 Bond University Championship winning moot team at the International Criminal Court Trial Competition in The Hague, Netherlands, where she competed against fellow international law students from all over the world, including Yale University.

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