Ben Cook visits Prague

Ben Cook attends Energy Security Conference in the Prague , Czech Republic

Ben Cook, a tenth grade student at Union County High School , recently traveled to the Prague , Czech Republic where he attended the NATO Forum on the Science, Business and Technology of Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection.

Ben received a personal invitation from Dr. Harold Elletson, Director of The New Security Programme based in the United Kingdom . Dr. Elletson happens to be friends with Ben's grandfather and knew of the young man's interest in modern military history.

Dr. Harold Elletson, former British Parliamentarian, was the Director of the NATO Forum on Business and Security, which began a dialogue between the public and private sectors about new security issues. The New Security Programme will continue the dialogue, developing many of the themes and examining in more detail the challenges of the new security environment for civil society today.

Security is no longer simply the concern of the military. Now it directly involves a broad cross section of civil society, of which international business is the most significant element. The new security situation presents the world with a host of new challenges and poses a series of questions about the vulnerability of modern society and the means of protecting it. The New Security Programme has been established to address these questions and provide a forum for debate about them.

Ben served as an intern at the conference and was responsible for various things including helping at the main registration desk and passing out nametags. He got a chance to meet many dignitaries and officials. Ben says, "There were many high ranking generals at the conference. I shook hands with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic ."

150 delegates from 32 countries attended the three-day conference to discuss issues concerning energy security. Ben says, "I learned a lot from the experience. They talked about how terrorists plot to destroy energy sources such as pipe-lines, refineries, and hydro-electric plants."

Many questions were addressed at the Security Conference. How can energy systems be protected? How can security be improved? Who can best provide the systems and services to secure the world's energy supplies? There are no easy answers.

Ben says he had fun traveling, "Being a dual citizen, of both the U.S. and Great Britain , helped get me through the airports."

Ben adds, "More Security Conferences are scheduled on future dates. The Cultural Security Conference will deal with things like museums and national treasures. It will be held in London , England ."

Ben has received an invitation to participate in a future security conference to be held in Washington , DC . The NATO Security Forums provide a focus for exploring global solutions to global problems.

When asked if he had made career choices, the 15 year old said, "I haven't decided on a career but the U.S Military seems like a good choice."