ZIF at 15! | “Fit for the Future – civilian, innovative, flexible”


Fifteen years of commitment to civilian expertise in peace operations, crisis prevention and election observation – that is ZIF at 15 years. Today, we take this opportunity and celebrate our anniversary with our experts, partners and friends. Having completed our transformation process ZIF2016, one of the event’s highlights will be the signing of the first employment contract between ZIF and two of our secondees.

In a press release issued today, Almut Wieland-Karimi, director of ZIF, demands for the future regular debates in the German Parliament regarding civilian experts in international peace operations. Germany does not only need its parliamentary army but also a solid share of parliamentary civilians for international operations. This is due to the fact, that peace operations are an important tool for international crisis prevention and conflict management. They help to prevent violence, to secure a ceasefire and to guarantee sustainable peace.

Founded in 2002 on the initiative of the German government and German parliament, ZIF today has a staff of around 50 in Berlin and 150 secondees in the field. ZIF is mandated to recruit, train and second civilian experts for international peace operations, and to provide analysis and policy advice on peacebuilding and peacekeeping issues.

This year, ZIF will become the official implementing and seconding agency of the German Federal Foreign Office as the German center of expertise for peace operations. So far, we have recruited civilian experts for peace operations of the OSCE, EU, UN and NATO and have prepared them for their missions. Now, ZIF itself will become the employer of all German secondees in peace operations, taking on new responsibilities ranging from social security to duty of care.

However, ZIF does not only look at its past – we like to keep ahead of our time. A key issue for us is the future of international peace operations. They have changed substantially over the past decades. What factors are shaping the international system and the nature of conflicts in the future? What resources, instruments and strategies are needed to make and sustain peace?

In addition, we display, in cooperation with Tanja von Unger (Neue Galerie Berlin), an exhibition of interesting photographs from areas of peace operations.

Further impressions of the event will be published in the coming days.