Call for Submissions

Young Leaders: NATO and Climate Security in my Backyard


Are you a young person concerned about the impacts of climate change on well-being and security in your home community? Is your community pursuing innovative approaches to managing climate risks that increase safety and security for your neighbors? Do you have a message to share with policymakers across NATO nations about the opportunities and challenges your home will face in a warming world? The International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) and the U.S. Mission to NATO want to hear your story. We are launching a call for young people to submit short videos showcasing their personal climate security stories. NATO has increased its ambition on climate change over the past few years and your fresh perspectives can help them drive their action even further. 

Selected videos will be featured in a #MyClimateSecurityStory social media campaign showcasing youth experiences with climate security risks across the Arctic, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. In addition to being featured on social media, selected individuals will be invited to a Young Leaders’ Climate Security Dialogue with the potential for in-person engagement at a NATO ministerial meeting.

Roundtable discussion—April 26, 2023:

As NATO develops its climate security ambition while simultaneously navigating an ongoing conflict in Europe, engaging meaningfully with young leaders is critical for future sustainability and security. The Alliance has much to gain from young leaders’ innovative and systematic ideas for addressing globalized and interconnected challenges such as climate change and conflict.

IMCCS Director Erin Sikorsky and IMCCS Secretary General Sherri Goodman will welcome the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Julianne Smith and NATO 2030 Young Leader Katarina Kertysova for a conversation on a future vision for peace and security. The conversation will then transition into a discussion moderated by CCS Research Fellow Elsa Barron featuring young leaders from across ten countries.

(Now Closed) Video Submission Information:

What is required?

  • A short video between 2-3 minutes in length, highlighting your personal experience with climate change, climate impacts, and/or climate solutions. 
  • Videos should be based in either the Arctic, the Mediterranean, or Eastern Europe. We are open to a broad interpretation of these regions.
  • Videos should contain three components: 1) An introduction to who you are and where you are from; 2) An overview of a specific climate impact or climate solution in your community and why it matters to security; 3) A proposed action for NATO member states or NATO leaders to take in order to ensure climate security for your community.  

What are the benefits?

  • Selected videos will be featured on the IMCCS and Council on Strategic Risks websites and social media channels and shared with senior policymakers at the U.S. Mission to NATO. 
  • Top entries will be eligible for an honorarium of $500 and video creators will be invited to participate in a series of roundtables on climate security, with the potential for in-person engagement around a NATO ministerial meeting. 
  • Applicants will have the opportunity to continue to engage in a climate security network as part of a young professional network of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). 

Who is eligible?

  • Anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 who is from or living in a NATO country in one of the following regions: the Arcticthe Mediterranean, or Eastern Europe (broadly defined). If you are connected to a country or community that you would place within these boundaries, we welcome you to apply.

What is the timeline?

  • Video submissions were due by February 27th, 2023.
  • Contest winners were selected at the beginning of March 2023. 
  • Roundtables will be held subsequently during the spring and summer of 2023. 

Video submission guidelines

  • English Language or Subtitles. You are welcome to speak in any language, but if the language you speak is not English, please be sure to include English subtitles.
  • No logos. Please ensure that no corporate or copyrighted logos or imagery is visible in your recording. We will be unable to use videos containing such content. 
  • Do a sound check. Limit as much unnecessary background noise as possible and hang a blanket up in rooms that tend to echo to cut back on feedback. 
  • No licensed music. Please ensure that any music being used is not licensed or copyrighted. Any submissions using licensed music will not be used. 
  • Ensure photo permissions. If you will be using photos in your video, ensure that they are your photos or you have the appropriate permissions for use. 
  • Voice overlay. Any portion of the video consisting of a slideshow or gallery must be accompanied by a voice overlay that describes what’s being shown.
  • Check your file settings before you shoot. Make sure that in your phone, laptop, or camera settings you’re shooting in HD (1080p or higher) and in a 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio.
  • Shoot horizontally. Shooting sideways will ensure your video fits in nicely with other submissions. 
  • Use natural lighting when possible. However, if you can’t, you can use the lights in your house to create a three-point lighting setup.
  • Don’t let yourself be backlit. Use a window as a light source instead of a background. The subject of your video should always be brighter than what’s behind it.
  • Make sure your camera is at or above eye level. This will provide a more flattering angle than if you’re looking down at your laptop or phone. Try to have your eyes level on the upper horizontal line using the rule of thirds to look like a pro. 
  • Pay attention to the background. White walls are fine but a little boring. Shooting your video with some open space behind you can add nice depth to your shot while giving the audience a peek into your personality. Shooting outdoors is also encouraged, just be sure to check that your audio can be heard clearly. 
  • Natural scenery. ​​Please illustrate your climate security issue by capturing videos or images of your local environment.

Additional considerations

  • A unique setting. How can you showcase your community or specific climate impacts through the video location? How will the location captivate the audience? Note: we’d love to see innovative settings, but please ensure your voice remains audible. If you’re not able to film on location, photos with a voice overlay may also be compelling.
  • Relevance to NATO. How does your experience relate to NATO’s climate change approach? 
  • Global relationships. What elements of your story are shared with other parts of the world? What opportunities exist for cooperation across NATO countries?
  • Clarity. How can you communicate a strong message and compelling call to action in a short video message?
  • Creativity. We want to hear your voice and experience showcased in a creative and compelling way. 


  • This Call for Submissions was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.