Still caught in the crossfire? UN peace operations and their information capacities

  by Ingrid A. Lehmann

(Editor’s Note: This article is a version of a chapter in the book, Communication and Peace: Managing an emerging field, Eds. Hoffmann and Hawkins, Routledge, London, 2015)


When the United Nations launched its first peacekeeping operations in the 1950s, the concept of using third party military units to create conditions for peace was in its infancy. Inevitably, media reporting of those first peace operations was scanty. Public impressions of these efforts at conflict resolution were covered by relatively few print media and only some television news programs.

However, conflicts in the 1990s in the Balkans, in Somalia and in Rwanda occurred nearly simultaneously and attracted 24/7 instant news coverage around the world. UN peace operations which were enmeshed in these new wars were thus propelled into the limelight. The media was systematically used by parties to the conflict to propagate hatred and violence, putting international peacekeepers increasingly on the defensive. Consequently, UN operations deployed in these conflicts received much unfavorable publicity and were, in more ways than one, caught in the crossfire (Lehmann 1999, 2009; Alleyne 2003; Loewenberg 2006; Lindley 2007; Abusaad 2008; Egleder 2012).

Finally, the United Nations itself had to recognize the power of communication as a critical support for its peacekeeping operations. Beginning in 2000 a new peacekeeping doctrine evolved following the issue of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations – the so-called “Brahimi Report” – which also addressed the question of public information capacity. Simultaneously, substantial reforms of the UN’s own Information Department (DPI) were undertaken by senior management under Secretary-General Kofi Annan. These reforms resulted in a series of policy papers and guidance notes which established a strategic approach to managing information during peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Throughout this process, which lasted several years, strategic communication was the declared goal of the UN in which the concept of peace communication  was implicit rather than explicit.

In order to analyze the effectiveness of the new communication policy this chapter will look at three peacekeeping operations where the UN’s ability to build public support and respond to criticism was tested:

1.   The UN operation in Kosovo: “Peace Journalism” at work?

2. The UN’s role in the cholera crisis in Haiti (2010–2013): failed scandal- 
management; and

3.  Sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the Congo.

The comparative brevity of this article will not allow a comprehensive analysis of the public dimensions of those peacekeeping operations. By selecting critical incidents or crises for the missions concerned we will look at how these challenging situations were handled, and to what effect.

1 The UN operation in Kosovo: “Peace Journalism” at work?

The literature on the conflict in Kosovo is substantial: from the time of the NATO bombing of Serbia following the aggression against Albanian Kosovars in 1999, to the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence in 2008, numerous journalists (Goff 1999) and political analysts (Mertus 1999; Mertus and Thompson 2002) have analyzed the conflict and the attempts to manage it. Mertus and Thompson have primarily focused on issues of media development, and have analyzed the roles of the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in regulating hate speech, developing codes of conducts for the media, and setting standards for freedom of the press in Kosovo. Both organizations had far-reaching mandates regarding the regulation of hate speech and in 2005 supervised a Kosovar multi-ethnic press council.

Kosovo – occupation or liberation?

To step back: Kosovo was a semi-autonomous province within Serbia, a place characterized by conflicting claims and recurrent violent strife by ethnic Serb and Albanian Kosovars over several centuries. As Julie Mertus pointed out in her background study of Kosovo psychology, “People of the region pattern their behavior around what they believe to be true, based not on what some outside ‘expert’ writes but on their own personal experiences and the myths perpetuated by the local media and other popular storytellers” (Mertus 1999: 9). Consequently, outsiders such as the United Nations and other third parties coming into the country were treated with immense suspicion and, simultaneously, their presence raised unrealistic expectations. For example, the newly arrived chief of staff of the UN mission in Kosovo was asked by a woman in Pristina in 2000: “When will the UN’s occupation of Kosovo end?” Another anecdote is related by Simon Chesterman – in his study of UN transitional administrations and state-building – regarding the name of the UN’s operation, “UNMIK.” According to Chesterman it was discovered that anmik, in the dialect of Albanian spoken in Kosovo, meant “enemy” – so the UN had to scramble to issue instructions to pronounce the acronym “oon-mik” (Chesterman 2005: 235).

The question of how the UN’s operation in Kosovo was perceived by Kosovars is therefore significant for estimating the effectiveness of its communication with its main target audience: the people of Kosovo. This issue  of public support for the peace process is the final test for the question of how effective communication can help build peace. In the case of Kosovo, the study undertaken by Julia Egleder (2012) provides the most comprehensive analysis of the UN’s public information materials produced and distributed in the country between 1999 and 2008. Egleder uses the methodological criteria established by proponents of “Peace Journalism” (Kempf 2007; Lynch and McGoldrick 2005) and seeks to determine the  extent to which UNMIK’s media effort contributed to reconciliation and de-escalation in post-war Kosovo. She asks specifically: (1) did the content  of its media products match the criteria of “Peace Journalism”? (2) were  the consumers of UNMIK media products more predisposed toward inter-ethnic cooperation and reconciliation than non-consumers?

Egleder analyzes the content of three media products issued by UNMIK in the period 2001–2008: the print magazine Focus Kosovo, the radio program UNMIK on Air and six different television programs categorizing  the content of over 1,000 articles or programs (Egleder 2012: 86–102). She finds that roughly a third of UNMIK’s news and information outputs matched the characteristics of Peace Journalism. The subject most frequently covered by the UNMIK media was inter-ethnic cooperation, such  as “multi-ethnic youth centers, the interethnic cooperation sparked by an earthquake or the micro-finance enterprise FINCA, where employees from different ethnic backgrounds worked together” (Egleder 2012: 127). While crediting the UNMIK information team with a high degree of professionalism and dedication in the early phases of the mission between 1999 and 2003, she agrees with Loewenberg’s criticism of the absence of a coherent information strategy and the lack of evaluation procedures for UNMIK’s media products. She notes a deterioration of UNMIK information products beginning in 2004, and after that sees only a lacklustre effort  at communicating with local audiences.

Spring 2004 – things fall apart

In March 2004 Kosovo experienced the worst crisis of the post-war period: after local media reports incited crowds in the town of Mitrovica to violence, the ensuing unrest led to the destruction of religious sites, cost 19  people their lives, left 900 injured and 4,000 homeless. The process of  reconciliation and the project of multi-ethnic state-building thus experienced a significant setback. UNMIK staff were shocked by the level of violence. Being unable to respond appropriately, there was much soul-searching among international organizations (Hopkinson 2004). UN  Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked Kai Eide of Norway to review the situation in Kosovo, and it was reported in November 2004 that UNMIK had “failed to read the mood in the population and to understand the depth of the dissatisfaction of the majority and the vulnerabilities of the minorities” (Letter from the Secretary-General, 2004). A new conflict cycle had begun in Kosovo which showed the UN again caught in the crossfire of public opinion. In the following months, KFOR and UNMIK police were beefed up and Kosovo status negotiations were intensified at the highest levels – UNMIK however never regained its credibility in the country.

Negative views of UNMIK were reflected in public opinion polls conducted in the country by the Kosovar Riinvest Institute, and published by the UN Development Program in Kosovo as Early Warning Report: Kosovo. In November 2002, when the first polls were conducted, 63 percent of Kosovars were still satisfied with the work of UNMIK (KFOR got close to 90 percent in that year) – but by November 2003 UNMIK’s approval rating had fallen to less than 30 percent, and by July 2004 it was close to zero percent (with KFOR still scoring 80 percent support). The authors of the studies see various reasons for this calamitous decline: the political disagreements between Kosovar authorities and UNMIK, the arrest by the UN of former KLA members as war criminals, and what was seen as UN indulgence for parallel Kosovo Serb authorities supported by Belgrade (Egleder 2012: 235–8).

UNMIK as scapegoat for frustrated aspirations

This brief review of the UN’s Kosovo experience shows that a professional, well-equipped information effort (as UNMIK was in its early stages), with a competent staff of seasoned journalists and media access to several print, radio and television media, was not able to counter hate media run by spoilers of the peace process who managed to manipulate the sentiments of local populations against each other and a third party. As often happens during a protracted conflict without a clear political perspective for its resolution, the third party mediator (i.e., the UN) can easily become a scapegoat for the pent-up frustrations of local communities. While KFOR was still seen by Albanian Kosovars as a “protector” force that repelled the Serbian arch- enemy, the civilian organization UNMIK – with its cumbersome decision- making processes and perceived aloofness was not able to regain credibility once it was seen to have outstayed its welcome. As far as UNMIK media products were concerned, Egleder observes “that UNMIK featured well- researched peace journalism in its media products, while KFOR relied on a very superficial reporting, largely lacking the characteristics of peace journalism” (Egleder 2012: 283). Her conclusion is that, in the case of the UN’s operation in Kosovo, messages transmitted through the media only had a limited effect on peacebuilding and reconciliation in Kosovo (Egleder 2012: 291–2). This reflects as much on the continuing shortcomings of Kosovar media and their continuing ethnic predilections as on the inability of the United Nations to change local media and attitudes.

2 The UN’s role in the cholera crisis in Haiti (2010–2013)

The United Nations has had, with some interruptions, a peacekeeping presence in Haiti since 1994, when UNMIH (United Nations Mission in Haiti) took over from the US-led multinational force “Operation Uphold Democracy” – which was launched to restore President Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti who had been overthrown by a military junta in 1991 (Lehmann 1998). UNMIH’s primary task was to assist the government of Haiti in maintaining a secure and stable environment. Following that intervention of 1994, UNMIH inherited from the US military a “Military Information Support Team” (MIST) whose stated goal was “to create an information environment in support of US objectives to restore democracy to Haiti, to allow President Aristide to present a message of reconciliation to his constituents” with the intended side-effect that these information efforts would arrest the flow of Haitian migrants to the United States and other neighbouring countries (Farmer 1995).

Following the renewed outbreak of fighting in large parts of the country in 2004, the UN Security Council authorized another multinational interim force, followed by the UN Peacekeeping Force MINUSTAH (Missions des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haiti) which was, inter alia, tasked with the restoration and maintenance of the rule of law and public safety in Haiti, and to help carry out free and fair elections in the country. By 2009 observers saw “reason for optimism,” as partial senatorial elections had been held and “Haiti remained stable throughout the year” (Center on International Cooperation 2010).

Alas, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, causing immense destruction and a massive loss of life. According to Oxfam, more than 220,000 people were killed, 300,000 were injured, and over a million left homeless. The United Nations mission in Haiti suffered a large loss of life among its staff that day: 102 staff, the head of mission and his deputy were killed, and MINUSTAH’s headquarters was totally destroyed (MacFar- quar 2010). A large and highly visible relief effort began, headed by former President Bill Clinton who, as UN envoy for Haiti, was also charged with  overseeing international relief and reconstruction in the devastated country.

Ten months later, Haiti health authorities reported an outbreak of a  diarrheal illness which turned out to be cholera, and which spread rapidly. As cholera had not been seen in Haiti for a century, and with the source  of the outbreak unclear, the news triggered panic and confusion among  the population. Suspicion among Haitians grew that the source was a tributary of the Artibonite River – where UN military peacekeepers from  Nepal were stationed. Initially MINUSTAH officials denied the possibility  that the base had been the source of the epidemic, but several journalists  who had visited the base found inconsistencies between UN press statements and actual conditions in the Nepalese camp (Katz 2013: 217–44). Not surprisingly this led to further accusations and charges of a cover-up.

Damage control goes wrong

The attempt by local MINUSTAH spokespeople, and by Ban Ki-Moon’s spokesman in New York, to control this rapidly evolving news story only served to fuel the rumours circulating among the Haitian population. Opinion in Haiti is usually formed by word-of-mouth, the teledjol [mouth channel] – rumours form rapidly and are difficult to dispel due in part to the Voodoo tradition. Jonathan Katz writes:

As word of the cholera epidemic spread, teledjol lit up. Some said they heard the sickness had begun when a UN soldier emptied a latrine into a water source. Others swore a white UN helicopter was seen dumping black powder into the Artibonite – shades of Haitian folk sorcery, where a kou d poud, or powder attack, is said to cause death or zombification. (Katz 2013: 224)

When cholera set foot in Port-au-Prince the disease spread rapidly due to unsanitary conditions and a lack of fresh water supplies in the camps set up for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. In the first half of November 2010 media reporting was contradictory, with Jonathan Katz and a few other journalists insisting on a direct link between cholera and the UN base, and Haitian public opinion inclined focus on a major conspiracy. Katz wrote that “those seeking to protect the UN – the WHO and CDC, sympathetic journalists, aid workers and diplomats who depended on the UN for protection on the ground” claimed that it was a “blame game” (McNeil 2010). A health worker asked Katz: “Do you realize you could start a civil war?” Katz, for his part, wrote, that “weeks of watching the mission stonewall bolstered most Haitians’ already strong belief that the UN had imported cholera. By refusing to engage, the investigators ceded inquiry to agitators and xenophobes” (Katz 2013: 239).

By mid-November the death toll from cholera had passed 1,000 people and attacks against Nepalese UN soldiers began: several protesters were killed and half a dozen MINUSTAH soldiers injured. In the meantime a French investigation team had carried out its own, supposedly confidential, investigation – which found that the source of the infection was indeed the UN base. This information promptly leaked out and led to further accusations of deliberate stonewalling by the UN. MINUSTAH had been a target for complaints, demonstrations and violent unrest before, but now it became the main culprit for all that had not happened in the country following the earthquake. Unfortunately it took nearly two more months before Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed an independent expert panel to investigate the cholera outbreak, in January 2011. The experts reported back in May, and confirmed that the source of the cholera outbreak had been a tributary of the Artibonite River – with strains of a South Asian type of cholera found – and that the Nepalese soldiers were the likely source. They insisted, however, that the outbreak “was caused by the confluence of circumstances” and was “not the fault of, or  deliberate action of a group or individual” (UN 2011: 29). Jonathan Katz commented: “The panel was missing the smoking gun, and in this sense,  the cover-up had worked” (Katz 2013: 243).

The terrible saga continues

International criticism and local protests against MINUSTAH continued throughout 2011 and the story was kept alive as the number of deaths  mounted in Haiti and in the neighbouring Dominican Republic. A group of  Haitian and American lawyers filed a suit on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims’ families, calling for the UN to apologize and pay reparation. In 2012 UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his “profound sympathy for the  terrible suffering caused by the cholera epidemic” and launched an initiative  for the elimination of cholera. He also appointed Paul Farmer, a respected  health expert with deep knowledge of the country, as “Special Adviser for  Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.”

The UN started quick impact projects (QIPs) and spent US$120 million to fight the epidemic in 2012, but the problem was not going away. Local  and international media continued to expound the issue of UN culpability.  The New York Times editorial of May 12, 2012 was headed “Haiti’s Cholera  Crisis,” and expounded the opinion that “The United Nations bears heavy responsibility for the outbreak: its own peacekeepers introduced the disease  through sewage leaks at one of their encampments,” before going on to  accuse the UN of not doing enough to eliminate the disease from the island  (New York Times Ed. Board 2012). By February 2013 Ban Ki-Moon again felt  compelled to state that the Haiti cholera victims’ compensation claims were  “not receivable” under the Privileges and Immunities Convention of the UN. This fuelled further outrage in Haiti, and among some NGOs, as the cholera  crisis continued. In the three years after the outbreak 650,000 people were infected and 8,300 died. The New York Times again felt compelled to write on October 12, 2013 that the epidemic was a man-made disaster for which “the  United Nations has refused to accept blame [even] though the evidence of  its peacekeepers’ recklessness is overwhelming,” and argued that the UN  should now “acknowledge responsibility, apologize to Haitians and give the  victims the means to file claims against it for the harm they say has been  done to them” (New York Times Ed. Board 2013). The saga continues and  there is no end in sight to the tragedy.

A bad reputation – but politically indispensible

On October 10, 2013, MINUSTAH’s mandate was unanimously renewed by the Security Council for another year, an action which shows how the  major powers regard the UN peacekeeping presence in Haiti as essential to maintaining the shaky “stability” of the country. As is so often the case, the UN is tasked with an impossible mandate in a country with little hope of long-term recovery. Disparaged as it may be, MINUSTAH continues to struggle along. Stonewalling the story of the source of the cholera strain in October 2010 led to a public relations nightmare for the UN’s press office which lasted for over three years. Public opinion in Haiti, and internationally, has been outraged, but in the final analysis it is not consulted when the Security Council extends MINUSTAH’s mandate year after year. When communication fails to convince people on the ground that a peacekeeping presence is necessary, the peacekeepers themselves – civilian and military – are caught in the crossfire of international politics.

 3 Sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the Congo

The United Nations had its first peacekeeping presence in the Congo in the period 1960–1964; it returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1999 when it was hoped a shaky ceasefire would pave the way to end ten years of war. A fragmented country of 65 million inhabitants, in a territory the size of Western Europe, the DRC did not have a national road network, postal or telephone services. The UN operation there was to become the largest it ever operated, and at the height of operations well over 20,000 soldiers from more than 50 countries were deployed.

Decades of war had had a devastating effect on the Great Lakes region of Africa. The Rwanda genocide, and the continuous fighting of 1994, drove Hutu refugees and the “genocidaires” out of Rwanda and into north-eastern Congo, leading to serious destabilization of the region. Furthermore, there was fighting with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its infamous leader Joseph Kony – who committed numerous atrocities and mass killings and forcefully recruited thousands of child soldiers. After 2012 another front opened in the DRC – the M23 rebels briefly occupying the town of Goma in eastern Congo. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in the continuing conflicts, with women and children suffering most. In 2009 the UN reported that 8,000 women had been raped in the country; in 2010, Margaret Wallstrom, the UN’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, called the DRC the “Rape capital of the world” (BBC News 2010).

In the Congo, the UN set up one of the more successful ventures in radio broadcasting – Radio Okapi – in partnership with the Swiss Fondation Hirondelle which had also briefly worked with the UN in Kosovo. Radio Okapi started to broadcast in February 2002, and, according to Susan Manuel (a senior UN information officer) “it has reunified the country through the air waves” (Manuel 2004). Radio Okapi partners with 28 radio stations throughout the country, thus reaching some of the more isolated regions of the Congo. Although it continues to receive enthusiastic support from foreign journalists and observers, and despite being awarded  the Free Media Award by the International Press Institute (IPI) in 2010,  Radio Okapi’s effect on peacebuilding and reconciliation in the Congo is difficult to measure – as evaluators form the US Institute of Peace have  pointed out (Arsenault et al. 2011).

Gender-based transgressions – hurdles to peace communication

Unfortunately, the record of UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo has been very mixed. Allegations of UN soldiers using child prostitutes  appeared in 1999; charges of this nature continued over the years and hit  a high point in 2005–2006 (Notar 2006). Many troop-contributing countries tended to treat sexual exploitation as “unavoidable side-effects” of  operating in war zones: “boys will be boys.” In August 2006 the UN admitted that “at least 300 UN peacekeeping staff faced sexual exploitation inquiries since 2004, resulting in the dismissal of 17 staff and the forced  repatriation of 161 others” (UN News 2006). This problem continued to plague UN peacekeeping in the Congo and exposed the UN Secretariat to  severe criticism from human rights activists, feminists and child advocates. While the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations at that time reported that some member states “have conducted investigations against  their own nationals as a result of the allegations, leading to a range of further penalties, including jail sentences, dismissal from their armed  forces or demotion in rank,” it remains problematic that other memberstates hide behind the privileges and immunities of their soldiers when on  UN peacekeeping duties.

However, at management level, codes of conduct for peacekeepers were  elaborated by the UN Secretariat – which in 2010 resulted in the directive  Gender Equality in UN Pe Ingrid now lives near Salzburg, Austria. acekeeping Operations. This policy stipulates, inter  alia, that missions should seek

an effective security presence that incorporates protection for women, 33 including from sexual and gender-based violence; ensures that women 34 are consulted in all information-gathering and priority-setting and  decision-making processes; . . . and ensures adherence to the highest  standards of professional standards and discipline.
 (United Nations 2010, 4)

It must be remembered, however, that the issue of disciplining soldiers  remains in the hands of their own national authorities – in this regard the  UN can only call on the cooperation of contributor states.

The UN Security Council had already, in 2000, recognized that one of the solutions to this widespread problem was a better gender balance among its  peacekeeping forces (UN Security Council 2000). But recruitment of  women in peacekeeping operations has proven difficult. A statistical report prepared by the UN Department of Peacekeeping operations in 2010 – for the tenth anniversary of this landmark Resolution 1325 – shows that the number of female military observers rose from none to 96, which still only represents 4 percent of the total number; among troops it rose from none to 2.4 percent; and among UN police numbers it rose to 8.7 percent from none in 2000.

Conclusion – lessons learned?

When compared to the 1990s, the United Nations has seen significant progress in the development of peacekeeping doctrine, including the training of its staff and the elaboration of codes of conduct. In times of crisis – and peacekeeping operations often are permanently in crisis – much of what has been so painfully learned in training at UN headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna, is brushed aside by the sheer force of circumstance. In looking at our three case studies it was found that principles of strategic communication and standards of Peace Journalism were not easily applied on the ground.

In the case of the Kosovo mission, UNMIK appeared to fulfil the role of whipping boy for problems not solved at the strategic level of the Security Council. When faced with a reassertion of the retrogressive forces of ethnic media, it had to struggle to regain the high ground through more rigorous monitoring and self-regulation. Political and cultural realities worked against the multi-ethnic society advocated by the UN and other peace activists since Albanian Kosovars were working toward a unilateral declaration of independence which implied the eventual exclusion of the Serbian minority.

In Haiti, the UN’s image problems after 2010 appeared to be largely self-inflicted. When the cholera scandal broke, UN officials spent more time stonewalling, denying and procrastinating than acting. As a result the UN received much justified criticism in both the local and the inter- national press. The UN continued to be “caught in the crossfire,” some certainly of its own making.

In Congo, when peacekeepers came to be seen as predators, there was and there is still little chance of repairing the damage with clever use of communication tools. However, serious attempts have been made by the UN peacekeeping department since 2010 to rein in those soldiers and civilians who have used and abused their positions vis-à-vis local children, women and men. In the case of Congo, there is hope that a new peace agreement with the rebel group M23, crafted in October 2013, will hold. In November 2013 international media reporting on the Congo tended toward being optimistic (French 2013; Mittelstaedt 2013).

When the UN began to deploy its most recent peacekeeping operation in Mali it appeared that some lessons had been learned from the cholera tragedy in Haiti. Soldiers were screened for infectious diseases and the environmental impact of the mission was taken into account. This is  reflected in the mandate of the UN Security Council for the mission MINUSMA where the UN is called upon to “consider the environmental impacts of operations” and manage them appropriately (Davidson 2013). The question asked at the outset of this chapter was whether the UN  now more effectively employs the strategic and tactical information tools  at its disposal. This cannot easily be answered. Doctrine has clearly developed which should permit the use of professional information capacities from the outset of an operation. Nevertheless, realities on the ground combined with bureaucratic resistance and a lack of understanding at senior mission level of the vital need for public information in peacekeeping, continues to inhibit peace communication by the United Nations in the field.

As evidenced in the three case studies presented here, UN public information in peace operations falls short of the high-minded goals set by authors advocating Peace Journalism. Individual journalists covering the UN occasionally can, and will, employ some of these practices. UN Secretariat officials often are not aware of the principles of Peace Journalism and follow guidelines set by the Secretary-General and their individual departments. Those guidelines are often the result of internal power struggles and carefully crafted so as “not to offend.” While all UN officials are bound by the principles set out in the UN Charter – which holds peaceful cooperation among states as its highest priority – the prominent requirement set out in the UNESCO preamble that “it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed” has not yet suffused the public information policies of all international organizations.


Nevertheless, the UN is a highly political actor with a unique legitimacy in the arena of conflict management. Whether one likes the UN or not, it is often the only available international player on the ground able to assist in impossible situations of disaster, conflict and civil strife. As we have seen in the case studies of Kosovo, Haiti and Congo the syndrome of “scape- goating” (i.e., blaming the third party intervener for everything that goes wrong) is a pattern commonly affecting countries in conflict. Exaggerated public expectations of what an international peace mission can achieve in a short period of time is a major challenge for peacekeepers: realistic goals and effective communication with local populations can help in improving prospects for long-term conflict management.


About the Author

Ingrid A. Lehmann is the author of Peacekeeping and Public Information: Caught in the Crossfire (London: Cass, 1999) and many articles on issues of international political communication. She is a practitioner who worked in the United Nations Secretariat for over twenty-five years, including service in the Department of Public Information and in two UN peacekeeping missions. Ingrid has an MA in history from the University of Minnesota and an MA and a doctorate in political science from the University of Berlin. In 1993–94 she was a fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University; in 1996–97 she was a researcher at Yale University’s UN Studies Program; and in 2004 she was a fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. From 2003 to 2014 she taught in the Department of Communication Science of the University of Salzburg. Ingrid now lives near Salzburg, Austria, and is the Co-Director of Peacehawks.


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