Peacekeeper Profile: Vildana Sedo
Vildana Sedo from Bosnia and Herzegovina has more than 22 years of experience in policing in her country. She has served in several UN peace operations, including Liberia, Afghanistan and Libya. In her current role as Deputy Sector Commander, UNPOL, for UNFICYP’s Sector Two, Vildana capitalizes on a wealth of experience in international conflict contexts during her daily efforts in support of the Mission’s mandate. Here, she speaks about the overarching issues she has dealt with as an UNPOL officer in field locations and why she is proud to serve under the UN flag.
Q: Tell us a bit about your work with UNFICYP.
I was deployed to UNFICYP in May 2018, initially as a patrol officer at Ledra Station in Sector Two and was promoted to UNPOL Deputy Sector Commander in March 2019. As one of the key United Nations Police officers in the sector, I work with my military and civilian counterparts every day to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order in the UN-administered Buffer Zone, monitor civilian activity in our area of operations and, overall, to assist in the return to normal conditions within the buffer zone. I also interact with my local counterparts on both sides of the island. Peacekeeping in Cyprus is a tough job, given the political sensitivities, but immensely rewarding.
Q: What, do you feel, are some of your biggest achievements in your career with UN peacekeeping?
I have been fortunate to work in peace operations in Africa and Europe; in my various tours of duty with the UN, I’ve worked in different capacities – I was the Child Protection team leader and the Gender Adviser in Liberia; a Police Adviser for the Criminal Investigation Department in Libya and deputized for the Senior Police Adviser in Afghanistan. One of my achievements that gives me great personal satisfaction was working with the Liberian National Police to successfully process cases of gender-based violence. My team in Liberia contributed greatly in changing societal attitudes towards women through outreach among local communities as well as community policing initiatives.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about the challenges faced and sacrifices made by peacekeepers across the globe?
All peacekeepers sacrifice hugely while serving in remote locations – we consistently miss important moments in the lives of our friends and family. We leave ourselves open to security and health risks. However, whenever I weigh the benefits of serving for peace against the sacrifices required, I feel that devoting myself to a larger cause through peace operations is perhaps the best thing I have ever done. I am exceedingly proud of being a UN peacekeeper.
Q: Would you encourage more people to join peace operations worldwide? If yes, why?
My father was a career police officer and he taught me that as uniformed personnel our role is to protect and serve. Being from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I grew up during active conflict. I witnessed and benefited from the support given by the UN to my country. As an UNPOL officer, I now can repay that debt in some small measure. I will always encourage people to join peace operations because peace is the only sustainable legacy we can leave for future generations.