As part of the fifth edition of the Scholarship for Peace and Security, a joint initiative by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Vienna Office and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), 44 young female professionals from 39 OSCE participating States and two Partners for Co-operation participated in a week-long hands-on training in Vienna from 7 to 11 November 2022. Following eight weeks of thematically based online training and expert workshops earlier this year, the in-person training provided participants with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on key issues related to arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation and gain first-hand insight into the work of Vienna-based institutions. Following a two-year hiatus due to pandemic-related restrictions, this year marked the return of the in-person component of the training. The 2022 edition was made possible thanks to the generous donations of the governments of Andorra, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United States.
The Vienna segment kicked off with introductory remarks from the OSCE’s Secretary General, Helga Maria Schmid, and a virtual welcome message by United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, who encouraged participants to become agents of change in building a more secure, peaceful, and equitable world for current and future generations.
The in-person training offered a diverse programme including a combination of expert discussions, site visits, group work, leadership coaching, and attendance at a closed-door intergovernmental meeting. In addition to engagement with UNODA and OSCE officials, participants benefited from interactive briefings and dialogue with representatives of diverse Vienna-based international and regional organizations and other entities, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the Wassenaar Arrangement and Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP). In addition, participants learned about diverse opportunities available for young professionals and women in the peace and security field and participated in a panel discussion with professionals on first-hand experience working in OSCE and United Nations field operations and missions around the world.
The latest edition of UNODA’s Vienna Conversation Series, “Updating our vision for disarmament: inspiring action from the humanitarian approach”, moderated by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, Melissa Fleming, and featuring a member of the 2022 cohort of scholars among the panellists, provided participants a platform to exchange views on the humanitarian impact of weapons and the role of humanitarian disarmament in advancing international peace and security and a new vision for disarmament. During this event, the 2022 OSCE-UNODA scholars were joined by members of the Vienna-based diplomatic community, international organizations, academics, and civil society actors in the room and online.
Through its educational activities, UNODA, in partnership with other key actors in the field of international security, works towards the realization of a more inclusive, gender-balanced, and diverse disarmament community.
The OSCE-UNODA training course has among its principal goals to advance gender parity by empowering and equipping women and youth to meaningfully engage in international peace and security through knowledge and skills building, as well as deepening their networks with experts and peers throughout the programme. In the past five years, more than 600 young professionals (over 85% female) from 54 OSCE participating States and 11 Partners for Co-operation have participated in the training programme, many of them taking up positions in the peace and security field including in government positions, international organizations, academia, and civil society.