Director Africa, Special Envoy for Relationships with Africa of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Andreas MELÁN has tasked participants of this year’s Political Advisor Course for Peace Support Operations in Africa 2019 to share experience and ideas that will help end violence and bring peace in their respective countries.
According to him, the role of the political advisor in a mission is very significant for providing leadership based on proper assessment of political developments, trends, emerging issues in the country or region and making recommendations on possible policies, strategies as well as other measures to address issues of interest.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two weeks Political Advisor Course for Peace Support Operations in Africa at the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ambassador Andreas MELÁN challenged the participants to build great networks and learn from each other, especially with different nationalities and professional background.
The Political Advisor Course for Peace Support in Africa Operations is conducted by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the Austrian Ministry of Defence and both institutions contributed to cover course costs. It is a great learning and sharing experience with lively discussions and debates covering negotiation and mediation, the role of a political advisor, public diplomacy, analytic tools for Political Advisors and communication skills among any others.
“As you are all aware, the aim of the course is to enable you acquire the necessary tools to function as Political Advisors for Commanders of Operation, Heads of Mission of AU/ECOWAS missions as well as in governmental and international institutions. It is therefore my hope that you will use this knowledge you will acquire the next 2 weeks to make a positive impact in your future deployment and strategic engagements at all levels,” he added.
Ambassador Andreas MELÁN however expressed appreciation to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence for the initiative to bring this course to the KAIPTC, the excellent facilitators who will be aiding in the learning and sharing process, the support staff for their invaluable services and the participants for the opportunity to enrich the depth of knowledge of political advising on the continent.
Dean of Academic Affairs, KAIPTC, Prof. Kwaku Osei-Hwediein in his welcome address stated that the West African sub-region, and the African Continent, as a whole has witnessed a rise in international efforts to end wars, stabilise fragile states, and rebuild war-torn societies.
He added that an unprecedented number of peace operations and political missions have been deployed to deal with crises and conflict and to maintain or restore peace.
“In the next 2 weeks you will be deliberating on matters as diverse and yet inextricably interrelated as the Role of a Political Advisor, Negotiation and Mediation Principles, Reporting, Briefing and Public Diplomacy as well as dealing with the media," he emphasised.
Prof. Kwaku continues, “We all unanimously agree that peace is a critical prerequisite for national, regional and global development. The vacuum created by the absence of peace enables discord and anarchy to prevail, and this result in corresponding stagnation and devastation of societies. It is for this reason that this course is being organised to formalise training of Political Advisors for Commanders of Operations and/or Heads of Missions of UN/AU/ECOWAS missions.”
He however assured the participants that the facilitators on this course, with their diverse backgrounds and rich experience, will definitely strive to equip them with the necessary tools to enable all function effectively and efficiently in their current or future roles as Political Advisors.
“I have no doubt that this training will expose you to internationally-required competencies and standards for Political Advisors and I am certain that it will enable you to better understand the dynamics of conflict and crises management in order to function effectively in multi-dimensional Peace Support Operations," he intimated.