By: Samira Y. Salifu
Lieutenant Commander Germán Daniel Iguarán is an Argentine naval officer who firmly believes in embracing other cultures to cultivate peaceful societies. Having contributed to many of his country’s maritime operations, including as part of the Argentine Naval Special Forces, he retains a vivid recollection of how his participation in a circumnavigation of Africa, Oceania and South America with the Argentine Navy left an indelible mark on his cultural awareness and how he perceives the world. In recent years, he has devoted his skills and experiences to serve under the blue flag, previously as a Military Observer with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and currently in the same capacity with the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
“I serve in United Nations peacekeeping missions because I find fulfilment in helping resolve challenges that arise within multicultural teams. The opportunity to manage complex situations and bring durable solutions to the people we serve in post-conflict settings also brings me great joy.
Working in a new country, far away from home, comes with its own hurdles. So, it is important to quickly adapt to the small things, like the new food, culture, environment, as well as the different work routine. For me, spending time with fellow peacekeepers and staying in touch with my family helps a great deal.
I take these challenges in my stride and see them as an opportunity to improve my professional skills and how I adapt to new circumstances to achieve what is needed per time.
As a Military Observer for UNMOGIP, my work is focused on the borderline between Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir. Among other things, it involves collecting needed information through engagement with local communities, as well as conducting patrols and investigations into alleged violations.
What we do helps to shape how the UN Mission makes decisions to reduce and prevent conflict or its escalation.
It is a worthwhile undertaking, but the realities involved can be heartbreaking because we get to see the negative impact of the long-term conflict on the people. Often, I wish many more women peacekeepers would join us to strengthen our engagement with communities and improve the kind of support we provide.”
For 75 years, UN peacekeepers have worked alongside international partners, community leaders and Member States to save and change lives in the world’s most fragile political and security situations. These are ordinary people striving to achieve extraordinary outcomes in often difficult and dangerous situations. They are People for Peace, and these are their stories.