Senior United Nations officials, hundreds of peacekeepers and leaders of Kenya’s armed forces gathered in the capital, Nairobi, today for a tribute to the country’s vast contributions to peacekeeping.
Among those attending were 400 Kenyan troops due to embark on peacekeeping duties in Southern Sudan. Held at the Department of Defence Headquarters in Nairobi, the event also included the participation of students from 14 Nairobi-area schools to salute these troops by preparing for them Messages of Peace for the holiday season.
Just over 2,000 cards and letters were presented by the students to Chief of the General Staff, General Jeremiah Mutinda Kianga, at the ceremony.
Eric Falt, the Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Nairobi, which organized the event, underlined Kenya’s importance to UN peacekeeping and promised an even larger contingent of students and messages the following year when the initiative will be extended across the country, affording all Kenyan schoolchildren the opportunity to show their appreciation to Kenyan peacekeepers.
Calling this “the first time anyone in Kenya had thanked soldiers for their sacrifices on behalf of peace,” General Kianga thanked both the assembled children and the UN for remembering the troops serving in dangerous missions.