29 May is International Day of UN Peacekeepers and serves as a reminder of the complex, delicate and essential work of establishing and maintaining peace.
The job of a UN Peacekeeper is to navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace; they are called on to prevent disputes from escalating and to promote lasting peace in societies emerging from conflict. It is a job that, at its core, is one of service and a deep yearning and commitment to peace as the highest value and driving motivator. Peace Keepers follow three basic principles: consent, impartiality and non-use of force (except in self-defence and defence of the mandate). This requires high performance in skills such as collaboration, negotiation and relationship building underpinned by curiosity, empathy and deep emotional maturity.
The theme for 2022 is People, Peace, Progress, and the power of partnerships.
Global peace is achieved through partnerships that value the greater good over personal gain and have a clear vision and intention to secure lasting and sustainable peace for all. Through their partnerships with other UN entities and humanitarians, the opportunity for lasting peace increases, and recovery can take place.
As leaders, we are often confronted with conflict within our organisations; we strive to create an environment where people have the capability and resources to resolve conflict effectively and promptly. A trusted leader is a humble and competent peacekeeper, and the skills of a peacemaker can take years of guidance and support to strengthen and develop.
As in many things in life, the first place to start is within. To achieve a state of peace, we must each explore what peace means to us, where we are at war with ourselves, and what we must do to come to an experience of peace within our own inner landscape and then bring that out to the world.
As we look to the symbol of the UN Peacekeeper as the elite performer in the field of human interaction, what can we take from them to elevate our own leadership?
We invite you to consider yourself as a peacekeeper. What comes naturally to you, and what requires deeper thought and examination? When faced with conflict in life and the workplace, do you avoid it at all costs, feel triggered by it or face it with curiosity, impartiality and the spirit of collaboration?
A leader with strong peacemaker qualities encourages open discussion and honest debate to elevate relationships, bring people closer together, and create a greater good outcome. They seek to anchor calm within their organisation, and they deeply know the progress they seek is achieved through constructive relationships. They understand that partnerships are critical to securing sustainable prosperity, progress and peace, knowing when to call on strategic support from outside the organisation to guide and support them in transforming conflict and cultivating strategic solutions to serve the entire organisation.