media release

SFU and NATO Defense College sign Memorandum of Understanding

The SFU NATO Field School is the first time a civilian university will be allowed to use NATO Defense College facilities and hold a high-level simulation

May 31, 2018

Ian Bryce, University Communications, 604.773.8134,


Simon Fraser University and the NATO Defense College have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a NATO field school program this summer.

The MOU was signed by Lt.-Gen Chris Whitecross, Commandant of the NATO Defense College, and Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter. Through this MOU, the two institutions will coordinate scheduling, resources, mentorship and site visits for the 2018 SFU NATO Field School and Simulation Program.

The upper-level program is available to undergraduate and graduate students in Canada and involves learning directly from top-level NATO mentors and military officers. Students will also experience a four-day simulation that replicates how NATO nations seek political consensus to respond to a United Nations request for assistance in a humanitarian crisis.

“This innovative program will provide students across Canada with the opportunity to receive a world-class, interdisciplinary educational experience with lifelong value,” says political science professor Alexander Moens. “The combination of comprehensive coursework and immersive learning is a first for both SFU and the NATO Defense College.”

As part of the course, students will visit western Canadian Armed Forces bases, travel to NATO headquarters in Belgium and observe the Canadian-led NATO Force in Latvia.  Through briefings, students will learn how political leaders communicate with military officers and how plans and objectives are formed.

Through the simulation at the NATO Defense College, students will also learn how diplomats and militaries negotiate and prepare to implement policies, and how to communicate objectives and proposed actions in the form of a press communique and simulated press conference. During this simulation, students will replicate the roles of several NATO bodies to experience the full process of NATO decision-making.

Completion of the program provides opportunities for students to apply for internships and entrance level careers in diplomacy, military, international peace and security, international organizations, and governmental service.





As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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