The United Nations Peacekeepers function as a "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the Department of Peace Keeping Organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace." Working towards international peace, security and the promotion of human rights, they monitor and observe peace processes all over the world. AND WE GOT OT HELP THEM.
AND IT WAS AMAZING. In several trips to Mitad Del Mundo (literally "the middle of the world") , Manna Project International's Program Directors were able to assist in UN Peacekeeper training sessions. This included dressing up as journalists and berating soldiers for imperfect English, pretending to be representatives from the BBC and aggressively telling Peacekeepers that their English just simply wasn't good enough. Additionally, we assisted in practice negotiating with Non-governmental organizations and, as a faux- World Food Program Representative, I attempted to help schedule and coordinate food-delivering missions into urgent situations with Peacekeepers in training.
Working with the Peacekeepers was an amazing experience. Not only are they incredibly friendly, funny and entertaining, but they are a truly inspiring force. Talking with one officer about his year in Liberia and precautions against the Ebola outbreak, I was reminded how amazing and impacting this type of work is. While some say peace is an impossible goal, I strongly disagree. The current existence of war does not diminish or dismiss the larger goal; the international progress we have made globally since 1945 alone speaks for itself. As an individual obsessed with both human rights and social progress, even I believe the existence of an international "peacekeeping" force is a huge step, both physically and metaphorically towards international cooperation. The work, sacrifices and risks these individuals take each day are what will truly, albeit eventually, result in global change and international peace.