The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication, sacrifice and courage of all military, police and civilian personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations. The theme for this year’s observance is “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.” Tens of thousands of young peacekeepers deployed around the world play a key role in helping UN missions implement their mandated activities, with the active participation of young people from host communities.
From safeguarding democracy and supporting elections to protecting voters and keeping the peace, this is your opportunity to connect directly with young UN Peacekeepers and learn about their experiences on the frontlines of some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots.
Ms. Joanne Adamson
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-general (DSRSG), Political Affairs
With 30 years as a leader and policy specialist in peace and security, Ms. Adamson has extensive experience in diplomacy, political affairs and analysis, multilateral negotiations and conflict resolution with the European Union, the United Nations and the diplomatic service of the United Kingdom.
Since 2018, she has served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-general (DSRSG), Political Affairs in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Previously, she served as Deputy Head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, where she focused on reform of the Organization and strengthening collaborative relationships, particularly among the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.
From 2014 to 2016, Ms. Adamson was her country’s Ambassador to Mali and Niger, where she played an active role in advancing Mali’s peace process and helped to develop a cross-Sahel stabilization programme.
She has also served with United Nations peacekeeping, including at New York Headquarters, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Born in 1967, Ms. Adamson holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cambridge. She is fluent in Arabic and French.
UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations
Dustin (he/his) serves as the ninth UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations. During his one-year term, he works to elevate youth voices in global policy dialogue around international issues, engage and connect young people in the U.S. to the work of the UN, and travel across the U.S. to discover the issues important to young Americans.
Dustin holds a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University where he served as the Student Trustee on Cornell’s Board of Trustees and was named a Fulbright Grantee. He is currently a candidate for a Master’s in Education at the Harvard Education Graduate School of Education.
Child Protection Reporting and Database Manager; MONUSCO
Carolina Meroni is a 25-year-old United Nations Volunteer working as a child protection reporting and database manager with MONUSCO in the DRC. Working for and with children has always been a passion of Carolina. She is motivated by seeing the impact of her work on reporting the current situation in the DRC for children in armed conflict who are victims of serious violations. She works to make the situation known and highlights the absolute necessity to assist the DRC’s government with the protection of children. Working with MONUSCO has helped Carolina in her personal and professional growth as she is learning not only the principles of child protection in armed conflict, but also about effective methodological skills in the workplace.
Lt. Haley Morgan
Platoon Commander, British Mobile Force Reserve; UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
Lt Haley Morgan spent time in Saudi Arabia and Australia growing up, finishing senior school in the UK. She then attended Exeter University to study history, where she was a member of the Officer Training Corps. In 2016, she graduated and took some time out to travel in Thailand, Australia and Belize.
Lt Morgan’s Army career began in May 2018, commissioning into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in April 2019. 1 REME is her first unit, and she has held the post of Armaments and General Platoon Commander since her arrival in September 2019.
Op TOSCA, the UK contribution to UNFICYP, is Lt Morgan’s first operational tour. Her role is Platoon Commander in the Mobile Force Reserve. Their job is to respond to incidents that arise along the buffer zone, which could include fires, public disorder or increased security.
Police Officer, Norwegian Specialized Police Team (SPT); MINSUMA
Sira Bojang is a 29-year-old Norwegian police officer within the Norwegian Specialized Police Team (SPT) serving with MINUSMA in Mali. As part of the Norwegian SPT, she gives courses for the Malian police and gendarmerie mainly on the topic of crime scene management. She teaches ballistics, crime scene management basics, crime scene coordination, and training of trainers, with the objective that her counterparts within the Malian police will soon become trainers themselves and take over teaching these courses.
Sira and her team have continued these courses despite the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s been impressed with both the level of knowledge and the ways the Malian police and gendarmerie deal with complex crime scenes with their limited equipment.
On her deployment, Sira has appreciated meeting new and interesting people from around the world whom she would perhaps otherwise never encounter. She is learning a great deal about Mali and how the police and legal systems function in the country. She’s said that her time in Mali will help her become more creative in her work once she returns home to Norway.