Carlisle, Pa. (May 30, 2019) -- Since the first United Nation peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 3,800 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.
This morning in Bliss Hall 24 U.S. Army War College students who have worn the blue helmet of the U.N. honored those peacekeepers who have lost their lives during U.N. peacekeeping operations and those who have served in U.N. peacekeeping forces throughout the world, past and present.
Keynote speakers at the event were Lt. Col. Anup Thapa of Nepal and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Monroe.
"As of today, some 88,000 peacekeepers from 124 counties are serving in 14 missions in some of the most dangerous and austere trouble spots around the globe," said Thapa. "A truly multi-national, multi-agency, and multi-dimensional undertaking."
"The annual budget for the 14 missions, at approximately 6.7 Billion, currently stabilizing such hot zones like the Central African Republic and South Sudan, amounts to less than 0.5% of the world's defense spending," said Thapa.
"More often than not, UN peacekeepers are deployed in those places where other lead nations or multinational forces would rather not go and undertake missions they would rather not do," Thapa said.
Thapa served as an International military planning officer at the Office of Military Affairs, U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations 2012-14 and 2016, as the Asia- Middle East Team Leader for plans. His U.N. peacekeeping operations include the U.N. Interim Force Lebanon 1996-97 and the U.N. African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur 2009-10.
Monroe served as the Middle East Military Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, 2014 -- 2016. He also provided advice and perspective to the Director of the Joint Staff, J5, Strategy and Policy on peacekeeping operations.
"We pause and honor U.N. peacekeepers because in many places their presence is what provide some countries and communities another today, and the prospect of having a tomorrow, as well as a hope for a life of peace, security and stability" said Monroe.
"Speaking at the International Day of the United Nations Peacekeepers is a profound privilege. It is the world's opportunity to remember, honor and memorialize our international peacekeepers, police officers, and UN partner agencies, deployed to support the ever-present call to strive for, fight for, and if necessary, to die for the cause of peace," said Monroe.
The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East. Since then, more than 1 million men and women have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people, protecting the world's most vulnerable and saving countless lives. From Cambodia to El Salvador, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, and elsewhere, UN peacekeeping has helped countries move from war to peace.