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Cultural Awareness Training in Crisis Management, its Position in the ESDP/CSDP Today

Blaise Nkfunkoh Ndamnsah

Most civilian and military actors receive some briefing on Cultural Awareness before deployment to peacekeeping missions abroad. Such training is typically insufficient for the successful achievement of mission objectives; therefore programmes, research and case studies should be developed to refine preparation. In this conference we propose to focus on culture from the anthropological, sociological and political point of view to provoke academicians, policy-makers and politicians to rethink this continuing problem. The nature of war has also changed, crisis management - which has become more complex and increases in complexity almost on a yearly basis. The types of intervention have also changed to multinational and multicultural projects, thus increasing the need for reforms in the cultural awareness training method. Before arriving at the current CSDP, many treaties were signed to promote the progressive integration of European security and defence efforts. European Union conferences have been held since right after the Second World War and since the end of the Cold War. Concrete progress has been made, but the modest results achieved are at risk today from the dual blows of shrinking budgets and nationalist political impulses. And yet, Cultural Awareness has not been mentioned explicitly in official documents, even though hints have been offered in this direction. The time is ripe, within the new EU extended action service, to adopt rules that do not exist at the national levels. Cultural awareness occupies little space in the CSDP today, and unsatisfactory results from crisis management missions, for example, demonstrate the perils of ignoring the exigencies of cultural awareness training. These principles must be incorporated into the normative consensus, as the treaties should define carefully under what terms European military assets may be engaged abroad.

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