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Afghan election UN Volunteers receive ‘peacemaker’ award
23 March 2005

Bonn, Germany: A group of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) yesterday received the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies’ first Peacemaker Award for their groundbreaking work with the October 2004 presidential elections in Afghanistan.

Kevin Gilroy, Chief of UNV’s Special Operations Unit, accepted the award from UNV’s headquarters in Bonn, Germany on behalf of the more than 600 UNVs who supported the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the UN Electoral Assistance Division and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Voter Registration Project in registering some 10 million people.

The UN Volunteers worked at the district level in every province as provincial field coordinators and registration supervisors, as well as provided logistical support on the technical and administrative side of the registration activities. Three hundred national UNVs entered data and monitored a computerized database of all registered voters.

“The Peacemaker Award is very special to the UNV programme and the UN Volunteers who have earned it,” says Mr. Gilroy. “Quite often, the people behind the missions the United Nations and international community are asked to undertake, be it the Afghan or Iraqi elections, are not adequately recognized. This award highlights their dedication and desire to help the afflicted populations move towards a more peaceful life and promising future.”

To date, some 200 UN Volunteers are in Afghanistan preparing for the next round of local elections due to take place later this year.

About the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
The University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies was established in May 1988 to facilitate dialogue between individuals, groups or communities who are concerned with conditions of positive peace, whether in interpersonal relationships, community relations, within organisations and nations, or with reference to international relations. This is the first such award by the Centre, which believes that it is important to recognize and honour those whose efforts contribute significantly to the creation of peace.