UNMEM 2-18: Final Exercise "Joint Effort" completed
The students on United Nations Military Experts on Mission Course 2-18 have completed their intensive course and received their certificates after three weeks in Finland.
During the last week of the course, the skills acquired during the course were put to the test in a final field exercise. In the exercise, the student officers worked together with their civilian counterparts when students from the Basic Course on Civilian Crisis Management (BCCCM) conducted by Crisis Management Centre Finland joined the exercise.
The joint exercise is a response to the fact that in today’s global world, conflicts and crises have become multidimensional and complex. Peace support operations involve both military and civilian actors engaged with different responsibilities and operating within different timeframes in the same crisis area.
The purpose of the joint civil–military exercise on the UNMEM course is to enhance understanding of an integrated approach to crisis management, as well as to improve collaboration and coordination between military and civilian crisis management organisations.
Military working together with civilian counterpart to collect information
The final exercise was visited by distinguished guests from Albania, Finland, Kenya, Sweden and the United States. The Head of the Peacekeeping Operations Department of the Eastern Africa Standby Force Secretariat, Brigadier General Albert Kendagor, was very pleased to monitor the final exercise. "It was very interesting to follow the exercise. You have excellent facilities and experienced staff to conduct the course", he said. Altogether, it took over 100 people to carry out the two-week training course in Niinisalo. Special thanks go to the Army Academy, Pori Brigade, Utti Jaeger Regiment, Centre for Military Medicine, Lapland Air Command, Army Command and the town of Kankaanpää for their support. The role players, conscripts and local volunteers were also essential parts of the successful course.
"Once more, I want to express my gratitude to the sponsoring countries – Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom – who generously made this course possible for female officers from Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nepal, the Philippines and Rwanda", says the Commandant of FINCENT, Commander Jukka-Pekka Schroderus. "I would like to point out something that I saw in the final exercise today: two patrols arrived at the same time at a checkpoint, and both patrols consisted of female officers", Schroderus continues. "We are all working towards the same goal: to involve more female peacekeepers in missions", he concludes.
"This course is amazing, as it has an atmosphere and a team spirit that I have never experienced before", says guest instructor Major Karin Uhr from the Swiss Armed Forces, an instructor at Swiss Armed Forces International Command (SWISSINT). "The students are willing to learn and participate with passion, and it is a true pleasure to work with them. The biggest challenge for them and for us is based on the fact that different nations have different training programmes for their officers, and not all bring the same military skills to this course", she continues.
"I very much like to work in this multinational and multicultural environment, as we instructors and students together represent 18 nations", says guest instructor Captain Anita Tóth from the Hungarian Defence Forces Medical Centre. "There is always something to learn and to develop, also as an instructor", she concludes.
The other members of the core team of instructors come from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. They are all well experienced in peacekeeping.
Feedback sessions speed up the learning
Every exercise and incident is followed by a feedback session, where the teams evaluate their own performance, the students reflect on their own actions, and the instructor sums up the feedback. This method enables the students to learn quickly in a short period of time.
On top of the day-to-day feedback, FINCENT gathers a great amount of written feedback at the end of the course. The written feedback is collected through an internet survey, which allows the feedback to be analysed in a very short amount of time. Therefore, the students receive a general summary of their answers before they depart the course. The analysis also enables FINCENT to revise and renew the course content and training methods after every course, if necessary.
The third UNMEM course of the year 2018 will commence in Helsinki on 29 October.