NATO Department Head providing commanders with gender perspectives.

“Obviously – the benefits of the seminar significantly improved both my personal knowledge and possibility of sharing knowledge taken from other nations.” Participant´s comment from the evaluation of Commanding Officer Seminar.

Dr. Denis Mukwege. Photo: Linda Johansson/SWEDINT
Colonel Luigi Viel, Seminar Director Linda Johansson and Captain (N)Milan Zunic discussing the NATO Bi-SC Directive 40-1. Photo: SWEDINT

This year’s Commanding Officers seminar took place at the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operation (NCGM), 3rd to 5th December. Participants from ten different nations attended the seminar that aimed to serve as a preparation tool, where key knowledge regarding integration of gender perspectives in military organisations and operations was provided.
All lectures were tailored for commanding officers and fallowed by round table and panel discussions. The most valuable parts of these dayswereundoubtedly the discussions when the participants shared their respective experiences, knowledge and challenges. The atmosphere in the room was open and joyful and a gender network was definitely created.
The second day had a large focus on Conflict Related Sexual Violence, starting with the lecturer researcher Maria Eriksson Baaz who provided the participants with basic theory on “Rape as a weapon of war” and how this can be prevented. During the afternoon we had the great pleasure of bringing all participants in to Stockholm where Indevelop, Sida and Kvinna till Kvinna (Women NGO) had arranged a seminar with specially invited speaker - Dr. Denis Mukwege. Dr. Denis Mukwegeis a gynecologist and has founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, focusing on survivals of sexual violence. In September 2012, Mukwege made a strong speech at the UN, condemning impunity for mass rape in the D.R. Congo, and he was nominated for the Nobel peace prizeat 2009.

The third and last day the knowledge of the Commanding Officers was put to test when they were given an individual task. The task was to conduct a plan how to implement a gender perspective within theirrespective branch or unit supported by their Gender Advisor or Gender Field Advisor in order to increase the efficiency of their work. This task was backbriefed to CdrJan Dunmurray, CO at NCGM and Linda Johansson, the seminar director – All participants showed excellent results.