Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 20/10/2010

Carana and peacekeeping training

The Daily Nation (Kenya) recent featured a story on peacekeeping training in Africa, using the Carana simulation developed by the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre:

26 African countries have trained troops on peacekeeping

13 October 13 2010 at 20:43The Tactical Operations Staff Course, taught over the past three weeks at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi, was designed by Canada’s Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.

This think tank is named for Canadian statesman Lester B. Pearson, who won the Nobel Peace Prize after fathering the first ever UN peacekeeping mission in 1957.

In 2002, the leaders of the G8 — a group bringing together the world’s eight leading economies — met in Kannanaskis, Canada.

Here, Canada pledged to do something more to help build African capacity for peacekeeping, and some months later this course was designed. Since then, Canada has trained 452 military officers from 26 African nations using the Carana scenario.

Major Alan Woolley, the burly and moustached chief instructor, said the scenario was designed for any sort of mission — be it a peacekeeping, development, or police mission. While it is inspired by the histories of places like Sierra Leone and Sudan, he said it was a wise decision to create a fictional country.

“With a fictional country (Carana), no one can get offended,” Maj Woolley told the Nation. “If you use real terrain there’s always the chance someone can get offended at the way a country is represented.”

The Canadian major described the simulation, which is the culmination of the course, as “three bad days in a mission.” Crammed into this short time are all the things that can and do go wrong on actual peacekeeping missions; everything from bandit raids and landmine strikes to humanitarian emergencies.

To enhance the realism, and teach another important skill set, mock news reporters come knocking on the doors of the Command Centre. They slyly take pictures of classified maps, grill senior officers with tough questions, and write stories quoting the students for the ‘press clippings’ released each morning.

“The media aspect has grown to become really a major facet, and the students see it as extremely important,” said Maj Woolley. “If they make a mistake here, nobody dies, nobody gets their career ended. And if they make a mistake here, they will remember it.”

You’ll find the full news report here.

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