R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – find out what it means to us! UNFICYP launches #Respect Campaign

20 Nov 2017

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – find out what it means to us! UNFICYP launches #Respect Campaign

NICOSIA, 20 November 2017 – The importance of respect to our inter-personal relationships, and, by extension, our work, cannot be overestimated. This week, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) launches its first-ever #Respect campaign, aimed at promoting mutual respect within the Mission and, more broadly, building a more positive workplace culture.

The brainchild of UNFICYP’s Chief of Mission Support, Joel Cohen, the #Respect campaign will take place between 20 and 24 November. Mr. Cohen has asked the Mission’s Inside the Blue team – an initiative pioneered in the UN by ASG Lisa Buttenheim during her time as SRSG in Cyprus – to conduct a series of activities to boost the understanding of respect and encourage greater respect within the workplace.

Research shows that a respectful work environment improves job satisfaction, boosts employee engagement and commitment, reduces stress and creates a fair environment, among other things. And it doesn’t take much to ensure colleagues feel valued and respected – being deliberately polite and courteous, encouraging co-workers to express their opinions and ideas, actively listening to others and avoiding insulting or negative language all help to create a more respectful and enjoyable workplace.

“Respect is very much an ‘eye of the beholder’ concept. Many cultures perceive respect in different ways,” Mr. Cohen said. “Respect starts with self-respect. If you can’t respect yourself, you will never be able to truly show respect for someone else. Simple really!”

The campaign aims to reach all UNFICYP personnel through a series of activities including a talk by the regional Ombudsman; screening of videos with UNFICYP staff explaining what respect means to them and the difference it makes in their lives; screening of relevant Ted Talks; a Town Hall; local guest speakers and staff speakers, and colourful #Respect posters across the Mission.

“To me, respect is about empathy. It is about being able to look at the world from another person’s eyes, seeing things from where they are standing,” said Celia Richardson, Political Affairs Officer with the Office of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus. “That way, it allows us to see them as human beings and therefore respect them as people. So empathy is the start of it.”

The Campaign has strong support from the Mission leadership, including SRSG and Head of Mission, Elizabeth Spehar. USG Atul Khare of DFS has also joined in, sending a video of encouragement to UNFICYP in its quest to boost respect within the Mission.

The Mission aims for the #Respect Campaign to last well beyond this week, and will continue to encourage staff to practice the lessons learned within the workplace.