Ahmed Warsame, Head of the UN Office, Uganda, is participating in VIKING 08 as a Senior Protection Officer. He thinks that this exercise gives him and the other participants a good opportunity to actually share field experiences among civil, military and humanitarian organisation representatives.
“The scenarios on which the exercise is built are very close to reality. Two topical examples are the current situations in Somalia and Darfur. VIKING 08 gives every actor a chance to learn how to harmonize military and civil cooperation in the context of peacekeeping operations in conflict areas of this kind,” says Ahmed Warsame.
Keeping cultural aspects in mind
It is essential to consider cultural aspects in a conflict situation and these are therefore built into the peacekeeping mission scenarios. But it is not just the cultural aspects in the conflict countries that are important to bear in mind if a mission is to be successful.
“All of us actors come from different cultures. Everyone has different experiences and mindsets, and an exercise like this really is a good example of how you can get a cultural orientation, minimise misunderstandings and enhance mutual understanding between the different actors,” says Dirk Kamm, UN Consultant and Civil Affairs Officer in VIKING 08.
Synergies through good relationships
Willi Scholl, former UN Secretary General Special Representative, has a long and impressive background involving many missions in places all over the world. In VIKING he is acting in the same role. And just as his colleagues do, he believes that a winning concept depends on synergies that come through good relationships and mutual understanding.
“I think that we can create synergies through close cooperation. We are all here to learn, and to find the most rapid and efficient way of moving things ahead together. Understanding is the path to learning, and we are all here to learn,” Willi concludes.