ALI OROU Sourou Abdel-Aziz
Published on 01-16-12
Peace Operations Training Institute is proud to present the next
student to be recognized in our 'Student Spotlight' section: ALI OROU Sourou Abdel-Aziz.
Below you can read a biography submitted by our student as well as view photographs he has submitted highlighting his personal life and professional life as it pertains to peacekeeping.
My name is ALI OROU Sourou Abdel-Aziz. I was born in January 25th, 1982 in Zogbodomè, Republic of Benin (West-Africa). I am married and father of a little boy named Zidane Rayan. I am a Company Executive Officer of BENIN Armed Forces Paratroopers Battalion and my next temporary assignment will be as a Training Officer at Benin National Officer Academy (ENO). I joined Benin Armed Forces as an Air Force specialist in 2002 and graduate from the French Air Force Non-commissioned Officer Academy of Rochefort (Charente-Maritime) in 2004. I served at Cotonou Air Base up to 2006 and earned various qualifications in the field of avionics (aeronautical electronics). Then I succeed in Benin National Officer Academy of Toffo’s selection test, graduated as a Second-Lieutenant in 2008 and was promoted paratroopers unit First-Lieutenant (current rank) in 2009 after completing the Officer Leader Course at Benin Higher Military Training Academy (ENSA) of Porto-Novo. I am also a graduate of Lackland AFB Defense Language Institute, San Antonio, USA (August 2009 and July 2010) and a graduate of the Maneuver Captains Career Course 3-10 Class, Fort Benning, Columbus, GA, USA (December 2010). During my military career I participated in various training related to peacekeeping like the one given by the former French-founded African Peacekeeping Skills Reinforcement (RECAMP) or the US-founded African Contingency Training Assistance (ACOTA) program. Besides these career-related achievements I am currently close to finish a Bachelor Degree in Corporate Communication at “Fondation Universitaire Mercure”, Brussels, Belgium and I am looking forward for a Master Degree in Peace and Security Studies. One of the greatest life-goals I have is to master English language up to French/English bilingualism. Thanks to my determination and to the opportunities I seized while training in the US, I was able to deeply improve my languages skills even if I have no doubt about the fact that this kind of skills are everlastingly improvable. I currently hold a French/English Translator Certification from the Oregon-based Global Translation Institute and work as a freelance translator during my “idle times”.
From July 2011 to January 2012 I served as a Beninese peacekeeper at the United Nation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The Republic of Benin has committed to peacekeeping operations in the brother land of RDC since 2004 and my battalion, the 3rd serving under MONUSCO, is the eleventh operational contingent sent under the respective UN Security Council Resolutions 1533(2004), 1797(2008), 1807(2008), 1856(2008), 1857(2008), 1925(2010) and 1991(2011). During this period Benin soldiers made great and helpful achievements towards the pacification of DRC and the rebuilding of the country national institutions. So I am very proud to serve my nation and support her international commitments alongside with the brave and professional peacekeepers of my battalion. Appointed as the battalion Military Public Information Officer, I was the Battalion Commander adviser on issues related to communication and information management. Chiefly, my job consist in managing the military unit daily interaction with the media, disseminating the official informations and providing the battalion headquarters and our troops deployed in Katanga Province (South-East of RDC), the required tools and techniques to handle non-operational and operational informations. My participation in MONUSCO gave me a lot of rewarding moments and many opportunities to know more about people of different cultures and origins ranging from the average Congolese living in Kalémie to the Congolese college student in Lubumbashi or the international UN volunteer in Manono. I have even been lucky enough to be appointed one-time Aide-de-Camp and French/English Interpreter/Translator to the MONUSCO Force Commander after taking on the same mission for the Deputy Force Commander, while the military authorities were inspecting our battalion area of operations.
As it has been said by Baruch SPINOZA, “Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.” As for me, I am an optimistic person and, as curious as it may sound, I do believe that they will never be an era free of any unrest or conflict in the course of humanity. And consequently there will always be a need of pro-active persons working on ending quarrelling, fixing various peace and security issues worldwide. In the fulfillment of these great challenges, everyone has a share of responsibility for a more stable, tolerant and peaceful world and for a better understanding between people from various cultural, religious and political backgrounds. So we should never expect to stop the everlasting commitment to peace and security that rest upon our shoulders as no matter how hard we try, they will always be new challenges ahead. The best way to prepare for the uncertainty of future and the vicissitudes of human being remains in our capacity to learn the basics needed to deal with peace and security related set of problems. And we have to keep in our minds the opinion of Albert EINSTEIN on the way to achieve peace: “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” Personally I have a huge interest in all topics pertaining to international security and peace studies. Within the past years, my continuous quest for more understanding and knowledge leads me to various web-based, self-paced and low-cost learning opportunities particularly adapted to my eager-learner profile. Thus, in 2010 I completed two certificates in Negotiation and in Conflict Analysis, at the United States Institute of Peace website; a Certificate in National Security and another one in Negotiation in 2011 at the US National Defense College website. Within this configuration, the discovering of the Peace Operation Training Institute (POTI) website and the ELAP program in August 2011 was a great moment in the fulfillment of my avid learning ambitions. From August to December 2011 I have completed thirty (30) dual-language (French/English) courses with an average grade over 90 percent; beside this I am tempted by the overachieving objective to take all the English and French available ELAP courses by the end of March 2012. And later I will probably take the COTISPO Program training. These far-reaching objectives were not to put me in position to claim a naïve record or to pride myself on my achievement. Indeed, so far, my experience with the POTI course materials helps me to deepen and improve my understanding of the UN system and the related peace operations conducted by the International Organization. Besides this, I was able to progress in my bilingual (French/English) self-development as the peace operations’ terminology connection was so rich and so broad. And moreover, as a translator and an active learner, facing the impossibility of learning everything about a single domain, I am eager to learn a little about everything. Considering all those benefits I had from the ELAP Program, it will be fair to give due praise to the POTI staff for the genuine and impressive initiative and for giving me - and many other people interested in UN peacekeeping operations – this multitude of learning opportunities and a so efficient pedagogic tool. And above all, I am very proud of this nomination as the 2012 Peace Operation Training Institute Student in the Spotlight. I consider it as a priceless reward and a valuable encouragement for greater undertakings in the field of international security and peace studies.
Lieutenant ALI OROU Sourou Abdel-Aziz, Benin
"I am very proud of this nomination as the 2012 Peace Operation Training Institute Student in the Spotlight."
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