Blue hats and helping hands around the world

Female peacekeepers help reduce conflict and provide a greater sense of security to women and children. (U.N. Photo/JC McIlwaine)

United Nations peacekeeping is more critical than ever. It has proven to be one of the most effective tools to help countries emerging from conflict achieve a sustainable peace.

Recognizable in their blue helmets and berets, U.N. peacekeepers are called on not just to prevent conflict and protect civilians. They also support the organization of elections, assist in restoring the rule of law and serve on the front lines in the fight against violent extremists.

More than a million people have served as U.N. peacekeepers since 1948. Today, 125,000 uniformed and civilian personnel from nearly every country are working together for peace.

(UNAMID/Albert González Farran)

Police officers with the U.N.–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) facilitate English classes for women at a refugee camp. As part of their confidence-building responsibilities, U.N. peacekeepers often initiate programs so that local populations can learn new skills.

(U.N. Photo/JC McIlwaine)

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) worked with humanitarian partners to improve conditions in a flooded protection-of-civilians site. Protecting civilians from violence has become part of a number of U.N. peacekeeping operations.

(UNAMID/Albert González Farran)

UNAMID peacekeepers from Thailand show children at a refugee camp in Darfur how to greet according to Thai tradition. U.N. peacekeepers bring different cultures and experiences to the job, enhancing their effectiveness and enriching the lives of those they serve.

(U.N. Photo/Staton Winter)

Pakistani peacekeepers with the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) teach young Liberians to lay bricks as part of a job training program. Pakistan is among the three largest contributors of uniformed personnel to U.N. peacekeeping.

(U.N. Photo)

Students draw their visions of peace at festivities held by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). One of the oldest peacekeeping missions, UNIFIL now includes humanitarian and development work such as teaching children hygiene practices and road safety.

(U.N. Photo/Pasqual Gorriz)

A French demining team is at work in South Lebanon as part of UNIFIL. Mine clearance makes it possible for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance and for ordinary citizens to live without the fear that a single misstep could cost them their lives.

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