From May 20-25, Converse College junior and Ridgeley, W. Va. resident Holly Jordan served as a special envoy of the US National Model North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Icelandic Atlantic Youth Association’s conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Jordan, the daughter of Michael and Cynthia Jordan, was elected to serve as secretary general for the February 2006 Model NATO National Conference in Washington, DC, and used the venture to Iceland to gain a greater insight into NATO’s current mission. “NATO was originally established as a defense reaction to the Warsaw Pact,” she explained. “Even though the Soviet Union has dissolved-and with it the Warsaw Pact-the defense of Europe is still NATO’s primary mission. The main threat to peace in Europe now is terrorism.”
While in Iceland, Jordan met and talked with the head of Latvian relations to NATO, the secretary general of the Atlantic Treaty Association, and the leader of Iceland’s Progressive Party. “Through this experience, I was able to greatly increase my knowledge about NATO issues that will certainly benefit the Converse Model NATO team,” she said.
Earlier this year, the Converse team scored a major victory in its first ever participation in the national conference by earning Outstanding Delegation honors, the conference’s top accolade. Twenty three delegations from 18 other colleges and universities throughout the country-including Kent State University, the United States Naval Academy, the University of Pittsburgh and Howard University-participated. The Model NATO Conference is a simulation of the proceedings of the NATO, augmented by pre-conference study and embassy briefings. Each participating institution represents a member state of NATO in such areas as nuclear planning, defense planning and political-military relations.
Jordan’s trip to Iceland was not all business though; she was able to experience the culture. “During the summer, the sun stays up for 24 hours and it seems like no one ever becomes tired,” she said. “Therefore, nightlife is very interesting. Everyone goes out to the night clubs to dance. As the time gets later, you can see the different generations leaving. Their favorite delicacy is shark. They take the shark and bury it for three months, and then let it sit for three months while in salt water. After this process is done, they eat it in cubes.”
While Americans may complain about the price of gasoline at home, Icelanders would almost surely be envious. “Gasoline in Iceland is around $5.35 a gallon, soup and salad is $20, and a hot dog from the vendor on the streets is $18,” said Jordan.