Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2016 Contents A peacekeeping course in Kenya tops off training experience
56 Defence Issue 1 2016
UN TRIP HIGHLIGHT
OR RECENT graduate Bianka Zyra,
a trip to Kenya, Africa, to instruct a
United Nations peacekeeping course
was a definite highlight of her time in
the Graduate Development Program.
It also enabled her to put her qualifications
and experience in international relations, public
relations and communications to good use.
The trip was the final phase of her third
rotation with the ADF Peace Operations
Training Centre (POTC), which serves Defence,
government organisations, and international
defence forces by providing peace operations
training, education, engagement and advice.
Leading up to her month-long stay at
the Humanitarian Peace Support School in
Nairobi, Bianka spent a month at RAAF Base
Williamtown and a month in Russell Offices in
In Williamtown, POTC conducted a United
Nations Military Expert on Mission Course
for military representatives from 21 different
“Participating as a student was a wonderful
experience as it allowed me to gain a thorough
understanding of peacekeeping operations,”
“I engaged with servicemen and women
from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, New
Zealand and many other regional partners on a
daily basis in training activities and syndicate
“I underwent training in a variety of areas in
which I had never been exposed, including radio
communications, GPS, navigation, first aid and
The next phase of Bianka’s rotation was
in Canberra where she was instructed on how
to be the administrative officer for the United
Nations Military Expert on Mission Course to
be delivered in Kenya. Here she acted as the
focal point for the international instructors who
POTC had invited to help conduct the course.
She liaised with five international teams to
book flights, accommodation, prepare course
material and present lessons.
The two phases prepared her for her time
in Kenya where she supported Australian and
international instructors in facilitating the UN
course, which was targeted at military officers
from the Eastern Africa Standby Force and
reinforced Australia’s relations with its African
Bianka prepared and instructed two
UN-mandated lessons to 22 students: Respect
for Diversity and Protection of Children.
“Travelling to Africa and being able to
instruct on the course was a great achievement
and I was proud to support my team and
represent the Department in this multinational
setting,” she says.
Instructing the course on Respect for
Diversity proved a particularly interesting
experience for Bianka.
“I was rather nervous to be female,
Caucasian and civilian teaching a room of male,
African, military officers about diversity.
“I thought it would be intimidating but once
I started the presentation the students were
interactive and respectful. The lesson went
While in Kenya, Bianka says she enhanced
her interpersonal and verbal communication
“The experience taught me that a smile goes
a long way no matter what language someone
speaks, culture they value, or religion they
“I also built on my ability to interact in a
culturally sensitive manner and respect differing
views and ways of operating.”
Bianka is currently Staff Officer
Multinational Relations and Interoperability
with the Chief Information Officer Group.
With her background in communications, she
is enthusiastic about working with people from
around the world.
“I enjoy being the focal point for
international project coordination, events
management and multinational dialogue.”
Bianka says she found the Graduate
Development Program to be challenging and
She encourages future graduates to look for
and create their own opportunities within
“POTC had never previously taken on a
graduate so they were very interested when
I contacted them and asked if they would be
willing to take me,” Bianka says.
“Graduates need to know what they want,
seek opportunities and create their own
Bianka Zyra is encouraging graduates to seek their
Links Archive Issue 2 2015 Issue 2 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page