First UN female force commander takes reigns in Cyprus

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Defence & Security News - UNFICYP

 
 
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:52 AM
 
First UN female force commander takes reigns in Cyprus
Major General Kristin Lund today officially assumed her duties as Force Commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus where the top UN official, Lisa Buttenheim, is also a woman. That UN operation is now the first in the world to have a dual female leadership.
     
Major General Kristin Lund today officially assumed her duties as Force Commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus where the top UN official, Lisa Buttenheim, is also a woman. That UN operation is now the first in the world to have a dual female leadership.
Major-General Kristin Lund signing the hand-over document with outgoing Major General Chao Liu at the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus headquarters
     
At a brief ceremony held in the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Buttenheim, thanked Major General Lund’s predecessor, Major General Chao Liu, a Chinese national who served from February 2011. The Special Representative paid tribute to his “dedication, professionalism and leadership which greater contributed to United Nations efforts on the island.”

In Cyprus, Major General Lund is commanding a force which over the years has rotated through more than 150,000 troops. UN troops supervise the de facto cease fire lines established in 1974, and maintain control over the buffer zone dividing the island. Despite the general calm, UNFICYP records on average about 1,000 incidents in the buffer zone every year.

In addition to its military activities, UNFICYP also undertakes humanitarian activities and supports the good offices mission of the Secretary-General, according to its website.

“When you approach a challenge in a country, such as Cyprus, it’s important also that you represent – because there are so many men force commanders – the other 50 per cent of the population in the world,” Major General Lund had said.

“I think it’s very important that the UN took this step to appoint a female force commander and I hope that I can be a role model for other female officers that see that it’s possible.”

The Norwegian Major General has had a distinguished military career, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, with over 34 years of military command and staff experience at national and international levels.

She was appointed Norway’s first female General in 2009, having taken deputy command of the country’s armed forces in 2007. Her most recent position was head of Veteran Affairs on the Norwegian Defence Staff.

Ms. Lund rejoins the Organization as the UN Department of Peacekeeping is spearheading a modernization campaign in its missions “to do more with less,” at the request of the Secretary-General and the resource-contributing Member States.

 

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