From class room to the field exercises - practical training in the UN Military Experts on Mission course
During the second week of the UNMEM course, the focus is on practical training in a simulated mission area. The basic knowledge of peacekeeping operations and theoretical information concerning the duties of observers gained last week are now put into practice in Niinisalo, Finland.
The aim of the practical training is to give the students an overall impression of a modern, integrated United Nations peacekeeping operation, and what it is like to work in such an environment. During the practical training phase, the students live in a realistic UN patrol base. They experience real world situations and cases, which are chosen from actual peacekeeping operations.
Learning new skills and continuous improvement
Patrolling in the scenario’s demilitarized zone between the parties of the simulated conflict, the students focus on performing tasks as observers, liaison officers and advisers. They deepen their skills in patrolling, negotiation and mediation, reporting, cultural awareness, emergency first aid and helicopter reconnaissance.
Negotiating and mediating are vital skills when operating as a military observer in a crisis area. The practical exercises have been created to evaluate how participants succeed in implementing the skills learned during the first week of the course. The most realistic situations are created with negotiations and meetings with different actors in various locations.
The unique possibility to use the Kankaanpää town hall and the health care centre for our exercises enhance the students’ learning experience.
Part of the training is mapping and verification carried out in the terrain on patrol, but also in the air, in helicopter reconnaissance supported by the Utti Jaeger Regiment.
Successful course is a joint effort from many actors
The realistic simulated mission environment requires tremendous effort from various actors, and would not be possible without the co-operation and support of the Army Command, Pori Brigade, Armoured Brigade, Army Academy, Centre for Military Medicine, Satakunta Air Command, Utti Jaeger Regiment, and the town of Kankaanpää.
Creating such a realistic and supportive learning environment is possible only with the positive atmosphere and motivation of the instructors, role-players and conscripts, who all contribute to creating a learning environment that benefits the students’ learning process.
This cooperation and support are not taken for granted. The 50 years of Finnish peacekeeping training has created long lasting connections and camaraderie among those involved with the training. On every course FINCENT has the privilege to enjoy these fruits for the benefit of our students.
Never before in FINCENT’s history have we had such a diverse course as this one, says the Course Director, Major Harri Huttunen. We received a large number of officers from whopping 23 different nations, that help make it such a rewarding course to direct. The course itself will benefit so many from different cultural backgrounds, who have come together in the spirit of peacekeeping. These are the lessons of life, which are not mentioned in the course curriculum, but will pay dividends for us all in the long run, the Course Director concludes.
The Course Director Maj Harri Huttunen