Seminar on Cultural Diversity in Peacekeeping Operations: Leveraging Cultural Diversity to Strengthen Peacekeeping.

Jun 4, 2015

The Ministry of Defence, Malaysia (MINDEF) and the United Nations Development Programme Malaysia (UNDP) today jointly hosted the ‘Seminar on Cultural Diversity in Peacekeeping Operations’. The seminar is one of the key activities undertaken through a joint two year project titled ‘Capacity Building Support for Malaysia’s Role in Multidimensional Peacekeeping Training – Phase 2’, supported and funded by the Government of Malaysia in collaboration with the Government of Japan, Government of Norway and UNDP Malaysia.

The international seminar was launched by Major General Datuk Baharom bin Hamzah, Chief of Staff, Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters. This seminar was jointly designed and implemented by MINDEF and UNDP in close collaboration with the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre in Port Dickson.

The official launch was attended by over 100 participants including representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Royal Malaysia Police, Government Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), academics from national Universities, Defence Attaches from the diplomatic community and over 20 international participants from ASEAN countries.

The Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre (MPC) currently provides training for peacekeepers from countries in Asia and Africa, emphasising  that recognising the importance of cultural factor for effective mandates implementation and successful peacekeeping missions is paramount.

The Main Objectives of This Seminar.  The aim of the seminar is to provide broad understanding of the applicability of culture focusing at the operational level in peacekeeping that could contribute to strengthening peacekeeping.  The main objectives are:

a.         To promote understanding of the roles that culture plays in peacekeeping success or failure;

b.         To provide awareness and understanding of cultural consideration in peacekeeping; and

c.         To promote understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity in peace building.

Maj Gen Datuk Baharom praises United Nations Development Program Malaysia and Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre for the collaboration and wishes the seminar elevated Cultural Diversity in peacekeeping operations to higher level and gain wider acceptance.  He also noted that, the international seminar is in line with Malaysia’ 54 years of continued and strong support and commitment to the United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. Ever since the country’s first peacekeeping mission was undertaken to the Republic of Congo in 1960, Malaysia has over the years provided critical support to the United Nations mission of maintaining international peace and security and more than 27,000 Malaysian military personnel and 3,000 police personnel have participated in UN peacekeeping operations in over 20 countries. We assure the United Nations that our commitment to global peace agenda will  never falter.

The international seminar focuses on the need for better understanding on cultural dimension that would enhance cross-cultural interactions as well as the need to strengthen the civil-military cooperation dimensions of these peacekeeping operations.

The focus of the international seminar on cultural diversity in peacekeeping operations seeks to share and highlight the importance of understanding and accepting cultural diversity and taking into account of cultural dimension in managing the complex nature of today’s peacekeeping missions and ensure durable peace, security and reconciliation.

The increasing complexity of modern day peacekeeping operations has led to a growing demand for training materials that are able to address key operational and mission specific challenges in the fast changing global and regional context and political landscape.  The successful implementation of the two year MINDEF-UNDP joint activities seeks to bring about multiplier benefits, especially when these training modules are referred to and used by other peacekeeping training centres around the world.

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