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Peace Operations Training Institute – Ethics In Peace Operations

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Peace Operations Training Institute – Ethics In Peace Operations

The Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI) recently announced the release of its newest course, Ethics in Peace Operations. The course was developed by King’s College London’s Centre for Military Ethics and presents a general introduction to the ethical aspects of peace operations, with the UN Core Values of integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity forming the basis for this course. Through the use of the case studies and practical examples, this course and associated textbook outlines the guidelines for peace support personnel in the field.  Spread across eight lessons, topics include the UN Code of Conduct; cultural awareness; gender and peace operations; sexual exploitation and abuse; human trafficking; child protection; human rights in peace operations; HIV/AIDS Awareness; and UN guidelines and procedures on discipline for uniformed peace operations forces.

Through the generosity of POTI’s gratis registration for select practitioners, I had been able to earn three separate Peace Operations Specialized Training (POST) certificates in Gender Awareness, Military Studies, and Police Studies during my tenure as a Peace Operations Analyst at the U.S. Army War College’s Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).  Through conversations with POTI leadership pursuant to my participation in their offerings as a student, I was offered the opportunity (via my role as a Researcher at KCL’s Centre for Military Ethics) to lead author a course revision for the Ethics in Peace Operations course.  As I had moved on from PKSOI to my next role as an advisor to the Somali Ministry of Defense, I was glad to be able to draw on updated U.S. and international training/guidance which was being used in the field for professional development trainings of AMISOM and the Somali National Army.

The Ethics in Peace Operations course incorporates recent reforms within the UN System and offers an increased focus on gender perspectives in peace operations, which was heavily informed by my work at PKSOI, and which also contributed to the recently released strategies of multiple other national security agencies to develop implementation plans in order to make demonstrable progress by 2023, including:

·      Department of State: Department of State’s Plan to Implement the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security 2020-2023
·      Department of Defense: Women, Peace, and Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan
·      Department Homeland Security: Department and Agency Implementation Plans for The U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security
·      U.S. Agency for International Development: USAID’s Women, Peace, and Security Implementation Plan

Relatedly, POTI recorded a 25% increase in enrollments from women in its WPS course suite, from 2,959 in 2018 to 3,689 in 2019.  Overall enrollments by women in POTI courses rose from 17,280 in 2018 to 20,519 in 2019, an increase of 18.7%, which illustrates that an increasing number of women are undertaking e-learning on peacekeeping.   These increases suggest that POTI has been successful in its work to promote the fifth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: Gender Equality. POTI will continue encouraging women to enroll in courses and recruiting female authors to contribute to its curriculum. POTI supports Sustainable Development Goal 5 — “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” — by partnering with the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in distributing a suite of courses promoting the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. These three courses, offered free of charge to all, cover the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions (SCRs) on the WPS agenda in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Each course highlights the challenges and priorities distinct to its regional focus and examines the roles of regional and sub regional organizations in supporting the national implementation of the SCRs.

These events and trends align with ISOA’s launch of its WPS certification, which may be augmented by the pursuit of one of POTI’s many certification offerings related to gender equity and human security considerations of peace operations.

While COVID-19 has caused disruptions to classroom training on peacekeeping, POTI e-learning remains available through existing programs and partnerships. For the duration of the pandemic, POTI has also expanded its listing of free e-learning on peacekeeping available to all.

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Whitney Grespin
Whitney Grespin is a Visiting Scholar at the George Washington Elliott School of International Affairs' Institute for African Studies and a PhD candidate at King's College London's Defence Studies Department. She previously served as an Advisor to the Somali Ministry of Defense,  Peace Operations Analyst at the Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute, and Operations Associate at ISOA. Whitney is an ISOA individual member available to support member companies.

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