Every year, staff members from the Peace Operations Training Institute attend the annual conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC). This year marked the 17th anniversary of the conference and was held in Harrisburg and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA. With nearly 150 attendants from across the globe, the participants represented a variety of military, police, and civilian peacekeeping training centers.
The first day brought together many noted figures in the peacekeeping community including Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno, former Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Mrs. Izumi Nakamitsu, Director, Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations; and Mr. Anthony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support. The keynote speaker, Ms. Victoria Holt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, focused on the continued challenges facing both peacekeepers and training centers and urged the group to be creative in coming up with solutions. With that call to action, the proceeding days were filled with many dynamic conversations.
The two official
themes of the conference were “identifying future education and training
challenges” and “identifying possibilities, subject areas, and methodologies.”
With an emphasis on looking towards the future, both topics were tackled by a
panel of speakers who spurred much discussion amongst the conference
participants. An overarching theme that was repeated often was the continued
need for coordination in training: both between military, police, and civilian
components and between the various organizational actors on the ground. Thematic
discussions on what trends or topics should be emphasized in training were also
had. Presentations were made by experts in the field and included such topics
as protection of civilians, anti-corruption, and cross-cultural competence.
The IAPTC conference always proves to be an energetic and productive week of sharing ideas. Next year’s conference, which will be in September 2012 in Helsinki, Finland, will surely continue the tradition.
From left to right: Harvey Langholtz, Executive Director of POTI; Ximena Jimenez, POTI Course Author of Gender Perspectives in Peacekeeping; Major General TPS Waraich, Director General and Staff Duties Director of CUNPK, India; and Colonel Manoj Kumar Bindal, Director of CUNPK, India and IAPTC Secretary.