On Thursday the 28th of April, the Institute for Peace in Partnership (IPP) presented its findings and recommendations to its clients Dr. Rory Keane, Head of the United Nations Liaison Office for Peace and Security, and his assistant Annika Kohnert. The Institute for Peace in Partnership’s findings derived from a long and enriching research process, summarized in a 40-pages report and 3-pages policy brief. Paul Grossmann and Ingrid Silalahi offered a professional presentation of the findings, concluding with the three main recommendations of the report. First, IPP recommends establishing a UN-EU database that allows mutual understanding of each organization’s culture, structures, procedures, concepts, and terminology of peacekeeping and crisis management, as well as outlining the modalities and standards for UN-EU cooperation in peace operations. Second, IPP suggests organizing a strong outreach campaign to EU capitals in order to clarify UN Command and Control working methods and the improvements that took place in this field. Third, IPP advises the use of the UN peacekeeping budget to finance the deployment of EU Battlegroups under UN Command and Control, in support of UN peace operations.
After the presentation, the clients provided us with honest feedback and insightful remarks on IPP’s work, including both the final written product and the presentation. Dr. Keane first provided us with general comments on the think tank. Starting with the area of teamwork, Dr. Keane highlighted the fact that teamwork skills can always be improved and stressed the need for constant reflection and communication in order to be more successful in the future. He further stated that there are four personality types, all represented in one team. The perfect team has all four types, namely the active, the passive, the analytical and the reflective team members. It is the main challenge of teamwork to include all characters in the process and consolidate the different perceptions and views.
Furthermore, Dr. Keane stressed the importance to produce a high-quality written product, as “writing survives” in contrast to presentations. Especially the policy brief and the executive summary should be of high quality as most professionals don´t have the time to read the whole document. Moreover, the client was impressed by the variety of the primary sources used by IPP in its report. About 16 interviews with high-level experts and officials from the peacekeeping field had been conducted, which provided the group contribution with valuable in-depth knowledge. Additionally, he was impressed by the conference organized by the IPP, as he heard of it at the offices of the European External Action Service. The client was also impressed also by content and variety of articles of blog post. Concerning the presentation, the client praised IPP’s professionalism and wording.
Dr. Rory Keane concluded that IPP’s written product was good, and the presentation was excellent, reflecting strong knowledge and hard work. He suggested that in the future, IPP should put greater emphasis on the methodology and critical thinking.
When it came to choosing the group having the best recommendation, the client chose the other group’s recommendation on joint AU-EU training facilitated by the UN, as it appeared more feasible. Nonetheless, Dr. Keane liked the idea of IPP to establish an online database, but he stressed the difficulty to get people to use databases in general. To conclude, Dr. Keane’s remarks were highly valuable for the Institute for Peace in Partnership, which members were very grateful to receive such helpful comments for their future academic and teamwork projects.
Antonia Rechberg and Alice Stelmach