You are here: UNA-UK announce details for Europe’s largest peacekeeping memorial and conference

20 May 2019

The United Nations Association is delighted to announce the programme for our conference and memorial to commemorate the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

The conference will start at 0930 at RUSI on Whitehall this Thursday, the 23rd May, and the memorial will take place at 1300 that same day outside the cenotaph.

The event, the largest of its kind, will look at how UN Peacekeeping is about much more than the deployment of troops. Sessions will consider the role and practice of UN policing, the relationship between the mission and the host nation, and the interrelation between peacekeeping and peacebuilding in the case of Somalia. 

150 experts and practitioners will attend a day-long conference. The keynote speech will be given by Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj. Ambassador Løj was Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of two UN Peackeeeping missions: in Liberia (2008-2012) and South Sudan (2014-16). Prior to joining the United Nations she served for 35 years in the Foreign Service of Denmark including two years representing Denmark on the UN Security Council.

The event will finish with a talk by Professor Paul D. Williams of George Washington University, a world-leading expert on UN peacekeeping, and the author of Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission.

Other speakers include:

  • Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

  • Sarah Fountain Smith, Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to the UK 

  • Lenneke Sprik, University of Groningen

  • Andrea Meyer, Deputy Director, Peace Operations, Stabilisation and Conflict Policy, Global Affairs Canada

  • Col Nicola Mangialavori, Italian Carabinieri 

At 1300, a memorial service will be held at the cenotaph. The Secretary of State for Defence, Penny Mordaunt MP, will lay a wreath on behalf of the British Government. Other VIPs and representatives of the embassies and high commissions of over 100 countries will lay wreaths to commemorate fallen peacekeepers.

As in previous years the ceremony will be led by the Colour Guard of the United Nations Veterans Association, retired United Nations peacekeepers who served in the Irish and British armed forces. This year they are joined by a contingent of recently returned UN peacekeepers from the British armed forces. This contingent is made up of members of the Defence Medical Services, who served for the UN in South Sudan, and members of the Scots Guards, who served for the UN in Cyprus.

The conference is organised jointly with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and our Westminster branch. UNA-UK and RUSI are pleased to partner with the High Commission of Canada in support of this event.

Photographs will be live tweeted over the hashtag #PkDay19

For more information about UN peacekeeping please read our recent article on the legacy of Sir Brian Urquart, one of the architects of peacekeeping.

Some tickets for the conference are still available, click here to register. The memorial service is open to the public.