Yesterday was the International Day celebrating UN Peacekeepers and TBTM had the privilege of catching up with UN Peacekeeper Nicolai Monster, who is currently on a Mission in Mali.
Have you ever wondered about the building of peace and those who play a part in the process? Yesterday, the International Day of Peacekeepers, we’d like you to meet Nicolai, a captain in the UN Peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in Mali.
UN Peacekeeping is about investing in global security and peace. This is done by aiding countries in the establishment of conditions where lasting peace can be instituted. Most often, stability in these nations has been undermined by conflict. UN Peacekeeping is multidimensional, which means it also facilitates political processes. This can be through organising elections, ensuring stabilisation and protection of civilians, protecting and promoting of human rights, and assisting in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.
UN Peacekeepers have helped end conflicts in countries such as El Salvador, Cambodia, Guatamala, Namibia, Mozambique and Tajikistan. They have also made real differences in Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Burundi and more. Some missions are still ongoing and some are soon coming to an end. At the moment the UN have 16 ongoing peacekeeping operations. It has been proven that peacekeeping is one of the most effective tools available for the UN to assist host countries moving from conflict to stabilization and peace.
Nicolai holds a permanent position in the Norwegian Armed Forces, but has signed up for a 12 month contract in Mali, of which almost 8 months are complete. He is Norwegian by nationality, but a world citizen by nature.
His passion is to travel and experience new environments, while also helping others. He loves meeting new people and believes in never taking anything for granted. His motto is “Enjoy the life that you have, and at the same time reach out to someone in need. A few minutes of your time might just save someone’s life”.
His role as a UN Peacekeeper is more than a simple job. It´s about getting to understand the local population showing them that you genuinely care about there future. For Nicolai, “Hearts and minds” is not just an expression, it´s a UN Peacekeeper’s way of life. Seeing people that have so little, but still wake up every day with a smile and a true belief that tomorrow will be a better day, is an amazing experience to witness. Living together with the local society and spending time with the population is inexpressible. They never give up on hope, because hope is the only thing they have
As a changemaker, his reason for waking up in the morning is to encounter the smiles and laughter of those around him, and to know that each day he has done what he can to contribute. He believes that everyone should be able to feel safe, loved and that they belong on Earth.
Nicolai’s advice to those starting out as changemaker is to use your heart for all that it has, because the world needs more changemakers.
Find Nicolai on instagram as @Thenorwegianofficer.