Students at Viking 22

Students took part in Viking 22 – a multinational staff exercise led by the UN and NATO

Four students on the Peace and Development Programme at Linnaeus University took part in the multinational UN exercise Viking 22. The purpose of the exercise was to train military personnel, police, and civilians for peacekeeping operations.

The students Daniel Lind, Lisa Algotsson, Esther de Boer, and Brian Bruggeman were all nominated to apply by Manuela Nilsson, who is the head of subject for Peace and Development Studies at Linnaeus University.

They took the chance to apply, seeing the exercise as an opportunity to learn more about peace and security issues and to build networks in preparation for their upcoming work in the field.

For the duration of the exercise, which took place at a military base in Enköping, the students took on different roles. All four think they did well, and they all agree that having had the chance to participate in a peacekeeping exercise in a time of global uncertainty added an extra dimension to the experience.


More information:

  • Viking 22 was a computer-aided multinational staff exercise that took place 28 March–7 April.
  • The exercise was a collaboration on military and humanitarian operations led by the UN and NATO.
  • Over 50 nations and 70 civil organisations were trained in military and civil cooperation.

Daniel Lind, the Peace and Development Programme

Role: Civil society

What was your mission?

– My mission was to train the military audience in cooperation with the local and regional government and humanitarian organisations on the ground. I was to take on different roles and make the military audience consider the humanitarian situation and find solutions to different problems that arose. 

What was it like being part of the exercise?
– It was fantastic; I learnt a lot I didn’t know before, and I got to meet and be with people from all over the world, with jobs that I think are among the most awesome jobs around. Many of them had over 40 years’ experience of humanitarian operations and had seen pretty much the whole world and been able to help people on the ground, having a huge impact on their lives. 

What was the most important thing you got out of the exercise?
–The contacts I made and the advice and experience I got from the other participants, and also inspiration to work with things that make a difference in the world.

Lisa Algotsson, Peace and Development Work, Master Programme

Role: Civil society and a representative of Save the Children.

What was your mission?

– My mission was to take on the role of different civil and non-profit organisations for UN and military representatives to train against. I answered phone calls, responded to, and wrote emails, made phone calls, played civilians in the conflict, and attended meetings, all in line with whatever role I was playing.

What was it like being part of the exercise?

– It was really exciting, and I learnt a lot! Getting insight into how things are done, but also the contacts I made, was beyond price.

What was the most important thing you got out of the exercise?

– All the contacts that I made and all the wonderful people I got to meet! But also the experience as such. It feels truly unique.

Esther de Boer, Peace and Devolpment Work, Master Programme

Role: I was part of the human rights offices that’s ere played in the exercise.

What was your mission?

– To make the training audience aware of the human rights aspects of the activities. 

What was it like being part of the exercise?

– It was an intense but great learning opportunity. 

What was the most important thing you got out of the exercise?

– I`ve learned more about how different organizations cooperate within conflict settings, about human rights related issues in conflict settings, about negotiation and negotiation strategies, cooperation between the different people who were at the exercise and many other things.

Brian Bruggeman, Peace and Development Work, Master Programme

Role: ACTORS expert. ACTORS is a virtual program that keeps track of where all the units in the simulation are. I also joined the Safety and Sector Reform (SSR) training team. We were responsible for training the SSR UN team, which we also did by role playing a national SSR committee. 

What was your mission?

– My mission on the SSR team was training the SSR UN team and making sure they reach their training objectives. At the end we also focused on training the UN police department training audience.

What was it like being part of the exercise?

– Very interesting, for many different reasons. I have been in several Dutch military bases, but to work in a Swedish military base for several days was nice to experience. Additionally, the working environment was very pleasant, and civil-military cooperation went better than expected. Finally, the other trainers in my cell all had a lifetime of experience and life stories, which were deeply interesting to hear.

What was the most important thing you got out of the exercise?

– I have learned many things, as this was all fairly new to me. But mostly I have learned about work ethic, cooperation between the UN and NATO, UN Missions, working with ACTORS, and finally a lot about SSR.

Lisa  and Brian students at Linnaeus University
Lisa Algotsson and Brian Bruggeman
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