Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into a critical tool of the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security. The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, commemorated each year on the 29th of May, is an occasion to salute the more than 116,000 peacekeepers serving in 16 missions in some of the world's most volatile and dangerous environments. It is also a day to pay tribute to the 3,223 peacekeepers -- including 72 Americans -- who have died while wearing the blue beret, including 106 men and women in 2013. 122 member states currently contribute military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, reflecting strong global confidence in the value of United Nations peacekeeping as a tool for collective security.
Today, we honor and recognize the contributions of all who wear the blue helmet. We encourage you to do the same. You can share your message of thanks on social media using the hashtags #PKDay and #Force4Future, and follow @State_IO, @USUN, and @AmbassadorPower on Twitter for more information.
About the Author: Raffi Gregorian serves as Director of Office of Peace Support Operations, Sanctions, and Counterterrorism in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.