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Capitalizing on the visit of UN leader Ban Ki-moon
AuthorD. Supra…    文章CopyFrom    Hits510    UpdateTime2012-3-22    


Jakarta | Wed, 03/21/2012 10:05 AM

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The current visit of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Indonesia is undoubtedly a sign of his close personal relations with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

This has developed through intensive communications between the two leaders. They share a deep concern and personal engagement to contribute to efforts to address global issues. With this in mind, they focused on UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) by visiting the Indonesian Peace and Security Center (IPSC) in Sentul in the West Java regency of Bogor, on Tuesday.

Indonesia has an impressive track record in peacekeeping missions under the UN, such as contributing troops to the Congo in the 1960s, Vietnam in the 1970s, Cambodia and Bosnia in the 1990s, and currently in Lebanon.

In addition, Indonesian troops also joined the United Nations Emergency Force I (UNEF) in 1957 and UNEF II (1974) in Sinai, so they were well-prepared when deployed to the borders of Egypt-Israel, Iran-Iraq and Iraq-Kuwait.

At present, there are 1,972 Indonesians — including 19 women — in PKOs around the world, consisting of both military and police personnel. In terms of troop numbers Indonesia ranks 15th among all the countries contributing to UN peacekeeping missions.

Indonesian peacekeepers are currently spread across several missions: UNIFIL in Lebanon (1,455 personnel); eight with UNMISS in Southern Sudan; 146 with UNAMID in Darfur; 192 with MONUSCO in the Congo; 70 with MINUSTAH in Haiti; and one with UNMIL in Liberia.

At the IPSC, the UN secretary-general met the Indonesian PKO alumni. Many of them have held top posts in the Indonesian Military, the police force and the government.

The roll call includes Ishak Rabin, Kemal Idris, Solichin GP, Rudini, Himawan Sutanto, Wiyogo Atmodarminto, Endriartono Sutarto, Ryamizard Ryacudu, Timur Pradopo and President Yudhoyono. Their experiences in facing battle and armed conflict proved a worthy training ground in developing professional and mature personalities.

Indonesian peacekeepers have been recognized as good mediators, being able when needed to encourage warring parties to come together to engage in reconciliatory dialogue, without allowing themselves to be co-opted by either side.

At the same time, they managed to build cooperation with peacekeeping forces from other countries. During the joint missions, Indonesian peacekeepers nurtured their leadership, putting their own different cultural backgrounds and challenges to one side.

Certainly, a PKO can be an ideal environment to groom future world leaders. And, indeed, the world needs leaders with superior qualities, simply because global issues are becoming increasingly complicated.

We have been witnessing changes in civilization, democratization in the Middle East, threats of a nuclear arms race, economic discrepancies, financial crises, food crises and energy crises, environmental degradation, climate change, natural disasters, as well as nontraditional threats such as human trafficking, people smuggling and acts of terrorism.

Recognizing the complexity of these global issues, the IPSC, which officially opened on Dec. 19, 2011, is designed to prepare personnel not only for peacekeeping operations or for reserve forces, but also for counterterrorism and natural disaster mitigation duties. They are trained in order to improve their capacities, horizons and professionalism.

So, when they are deployed in PKOs, they are ready to play a number of diverse roles with increased responsibility.

The visit to the IPSC is a clear message from the UN secretary-general that Indonesia is able to organize and run a modern center to prepare personnel for future PKOs.

Indeed, PKO duties are growing much heavier, since modern-day PKOs are multidimensional in scope and include many entities (not only military), such as humanitarian agencies, civil affairs, political affairs and international nongovernmental organizations.

Of course, Indonesian personnel should meet the necessary requirements if they wish to secure key positions within PKOs, including the commander-in-chief post.

Therefore, at the IPSC there should be a doctrine for personnel to promote their leadership mentality. In the end, surely, we will reap the benefits, since some among them may prove to be the future leaders of this country.

The writer is a diplomat. The opinions expressed are his own.



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