by Raf Callaerts, Belgium

“Everyone say IPSIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!” *Click*

We are standing on the steps of the Peace Palace, an iconic structure that originated from the ideals of pacifism and world peace, its beautiful hallways, rooms and gardens realized thanks to a collective cooperation of countries from all around the world. Such a diverse, multicultural, plurilingual group in a single frame, very grateful and fortunate to experience this great learning environment, sharing the same moment for just a couple of seconds. A moment facing the sun, peacefully, smiling and although very impressed, very much ‘at ease’.

‘At ease’ are the last words a commanding officer will have in mind, when he has but a split second to make a very important decision, Lt. General Ton Van Loon eloquently points out in the afternoon. Going through a more than well constructed simulation, we can do nothing but agree. Sharing his various interesting thoughts on the application of military force and its legal implications, we realize that when the mandate meets the field, different approaches concur when ensuring public safety and order. A different timeframe is to be kept in mind, one’s perception can be put into another perspective and power dynamics, communication, context and ethics are to be considered at all times. Indeed, when tackling the issue of establishing security in transitions, we’re looking into a vast complexity. If anything, once again we are confronted with the fact that there is no black and white. As future leaders and policy makers we can not but face this gray.