Major Radhika Sen: UN Gender Advocate of the Year

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Image credit: shethepeople

Major Radhika Sen, an Indian Army officer, served with the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) from March 2023 to April 2024. On May 30, she will receive the UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2023 award from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He praised her for promoting gender equality and the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

Born in Himachal Pradesh in 1993, Major Sen is a biotechnology engineer who was studying for her Master’s degree at IIT Bombay before joining the army in 2016. During her time with MONUSCO, she served as the engagement platoon commander with the Indian Rapid Deployment Battalion (INDRDB) in North Kivu province. She is the second Indian peacekeeper to win this award, after Major Suman Gawani in 2019.

Major Sen led mixed-gender patrols and activities in a dangerous area, helping people, including women and children, who were fleeing conflict. She stressed that gender-sensitive peacekeeping is a shared responsibility, saying, “Peace begins with all of us in our beautiful diversity!”

Speaking about the award, Major Sen said, “This award is special to me because it recognizes the hard work of all the peacekeepers in the challenging environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo who are doing their best to bring positive change.”

The UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year award is chosen from candidates nominated by force commanders and mission heads from all peace operations. Major Sen’s award highlights the important role of Indian peacekeepers in international missions and their contributions to global peace and security.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the People.

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