This article was originally published @ http://www.theguardian.com
The first woman has been appointed to command a United Nations peacekeeping force – a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf war, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Major General Kristin Lund will replace Chinese Major General Chao Liu on 13 August as commander of about 1,000 peacekeepers in Cyprus, the UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced on Monday.
Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot north and a Greek Cypriot south since 1974 and talks have resumed to reunite the Mediterranean island.
Lund said she had been to Cyprus several times and was looking forward to the challenges of her new job – maintaining the ceasefire and supporting efforts to deal with minefields, unaccounted people and property disputes, among other issues.
She told the Associated Press she was proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. “I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.”
“I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.” Major General Kristin Lund
Lund, 55, joined the Norwegian army in 1979 and went on her first overseas mission in 1986 as transport officer with the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
She said that was where she fell in love with the UN and learned that “maybe the most important weapon that you have is communication and to build relations”.