English for UN Peacekeepers

The UN has identified English as a priority training need for Peacekeepers and the British Council is working in with countries including Thailand and Indonesia to help improve their English capacity and develop English skills for Peacekeepers.  

Training is aimed specifically at the military, police and other security forces, and is about more than teaching English; it aims to develop awareness of global issues, change attitudes and develop professional skills to help to deal with conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

Read more about some specific developments in our projects with Peacekeepers below.

Developing global resources for UN Peacekeepers in Indonesia

English for UN Military Peacekeepers was launched earlier this year in Jakarta and is a practical training resource aimed at teaching UN Military Peacekeepers English language to help them carry out their missions overseas.

It was developed by Colm Downes, Peacekeeping English Project Manager, British Council Indonesia, with input from The Indonesian National Defence Forces Peacekeeping Training Center and The Indonesian Defence Education and Language Training Centre.

Indonesia is committed to increasing its peacekeeping efforts around the world. We are delighted to be working with the British Council to develop English language skills of our peacekeepers and instructors needed to achieve this aim."  Chief of international co-operation at the Indonesian National defence Forces Peacekeeping Center, Lieutenant Colonel Victor George

How English for UN Military Peacekeepers will be used

It will primarily be used as an English language training resource during pre-deployment training for UN Peacekeepers. As well as teaching key English language, the training material revises key learning points from UN Core Pre-Deployment Training Modules. The book can be used in the classroom or as a self-study resource. 

It has units dedicated toward traditional peacekeeping tasks, such as patrolling, monitoring ceasefires, escorting humanitarian convoys, and a key part of the book is the integration of learning on preventing sexual and gender based violence, human rights and international humanitarian law. 

All Indonesian UN Peacekeepers will be issued with a copy, which they will take with them on deployment. They can continue to use it to improve their English skills on peacekeeping operations in the field. The book also provides space for them to add translations of key vocabulary in the local language spoken in the country of their UN Mission.  

It is non-country specific, so it can be picked up and used by any UN Military Peacekeeper regardless of their mother tongue. 

Future development

English for UN Military Peacekeepers is a work in progress and the first edition is a pilot. It will be revised with the aim of producing improved future editions, and hopefully an interactive online version and an app for smartphones. 

For more information about English for UN Military Peacekeepers contact Colm Downes.

Training for prospective UN Peacekeepers in Thailand

British Council teacher trainers and teachers are working with Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop the English skills and English teaching skills of Thai soldiers and police hoping to take part in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions around the world.

With Thailand hoping to win a seat on the UN Security Council in 2017-18, the country’s record in peacekeeping and its future ability to provide peacekeepers to missions will support its bid.    English is the language of interoperability for the majority of UN missions, and with English levels amongst Thai security forces being comparatively low it has become a limiting factor in Thailand’s plans to expand its peacekeeping presence.

The programme devised by the British Council, now in its 3rd year, aims to address this English deficit through a mixed and integrated programme of direct teaching and trainer development.  The direct teaching supports Royal Thai Police Officers and Royal Thai Armed Forces personnel to succeed in the selection processes for UN peacekeepers.  The trainer development components address a longer term need to develop English training capacity within the peacekeeping units.

The materials and resources for the project were developed by the British Council’s former Peacekeeping English Project, which ran from 1996 to 2010 and also used more current materials developed by Peacekeeping English specialists from British Council Indonesia.  In addition to the face-to-face training, the project has also supported the wider learning of English through the development of a Self-Access Centre at Thailand’s Peace Operations Centre in Bangkok.

We wish our students success in the UN Peacekeeping selection processes and look forward to hearing about Thailand’s continued positive contribution to global peacekeeping in 2015 and beyond.

For further information on this project, please contact Brian Stott, Head of English Programmes, British Council Thailand.