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PEACEKEEPER OF THE DAY: for Liu Heng from China “partnerships act as a catalyst; they can make one plus one equal more than just two”

I am Liu HENG, the chief of the Female Force Protection Squad of the Chinese battalion in Gao. I am a sentry and together with my team, we work non-stop, 24 hours a day. Our main task is to patrol the MINUSMA camp and its environs, guaranteeing the security of the camp and its personnel. Overseeing this process is my responsibility. The force protection squadron is the very first all-female force deployed by China; as well as a first for [Chinese] women in peacekeeping.

I arrived in September 2021, and this was my first ever experience as a peacekeeper. Although I’ve always dreamed of being deployed abroad as I serve my country, it wasn’t until I became a peacekeeper that I could seize the opportunity and make this dream come true. I believe that peacekeeping is a very important cause, and one that I hope to contribute towards within my role. As women peacekeepers, we have the chance to do many different things. For example, I am able to engage in the protection of women and children.

All members of the MINUSMA family are my teammates, as we share one common goal. We trust and support each other, as members of the same family often do. Nd as we work and live together, we have developed valuable friendships along the way.

As we all know, unity and cooperation are the keys to success in UN peacekeeping operations. We work together towards one common goal: peace. Even though we come from different countries and may have different skin colors, cultures or religions; we are in this together. There is no doubt in my mind that these partnerships we form act as a catalyst, one that can make one plus one equal more than just two. There are many Asian proverbs that speak to this and describe the values of solidarity and cooperation, such as “climb the hill together and go down the ravine together” and “sugarcane and lemongrass grow in dense clumps”. Solidarity and cooperation are, after all, the safest road towards peace and development.

I want to tell the world that it is only through peace that we will find ourselves in a safer world. We must forgo biases, differences, conflicts and rivalries. This is the only way we may attain world peace.