Washington, D.C. (May 16, 2012) — In recognition of the more than 120,000 United Nations peacekeepers working to promote peace and security worldwide, the Better World Campaign today launched its 2012 “Thank a Peacekeeper” campaign. The campaign commences in anticipation of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 29, and it will collect messages of thanks from people around the world through September 21, the International Day of Peace.
The Better World Campaign, together with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, will deliver the messages to the UN peacekeepers who are serving on 17 separate operations globally to: protect civilians from armed conflict; disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate ex-combatants; prevent the collapse of fragile states; facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance; train national police forces; and promote free and fair elections.
“In the darkest hours of global conflict, time and again it is UN peacekeepers who carry forward a torch for stability,” said Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign. “From Haiti to South Sudan, to the Middle East and beyond, UN peacekeepers stand on the frontlines of protecting civilians, promoting development, and paving the way for democracy. Americans recognize the commitment of these men and women in blue helmets as they put their lives on the line to build security around the globe. I consistently hear from Americans who want to express their appreciation for UN peacekeepers — this campaign gives them that opportunity.”
“UN peacekeeping is one of our most vital foreign policy and national security tools, and American voters agree. New bipartisan polling shows that 75 percent of American voters across the political spectrum agree that the United States should pay peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full. As we thank UN peacekeepers, it is also important to urge Congress to continue to meet US commitments at the UN,” Yeo continued.
While the United States authorizes—and in many cases advocates for—new UN peacekeeping missions, it in fact provides only 136 personnel to the operations, approximately one-tenth of one percent of the total personnel who are serving from across the globe. Yeo added, “It is thanks to the dedication of our partners and allies at the UN that the United States is not faced with the insurmountable task of promoting international security alone.”
The “Thank a Peacekeeper” campaign will formally kick off in Washington, DC this evening with a reception on Capitol Hill. Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund will thank Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, along with the ambassadors of leading troop-contributing countries for their commitment to UN peacekeeping.
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.