Jaki Azmi, Chief Security Officer, Addis Ababa
After several years at a military boarding school in Bangladesh, I became a commissioned army officer, rising to the rank of Major. Working as a military peacekeeper in Liberia in 2007 gave me my first exposure to Africa – and to the United Nations. The poverty and desperation in the post-conflict Liberia overwhelmed me; the civil war may have ended but the scars were still visible everywhere. I was impressed by the great job done by the United Nations.
I applied to join UNDSS in 2009 six months after being accepted for a place on the UNDSS roster, I was invited to become the Assistant Chief of Security and Safety Services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Retiring from the military and joining the United Nations represented quite a culture change. In the army, everybody wore the same uniform, had the same background and had the same training. In Addis Ababa, I have had the chance to work with people from over 60 nationalities getting exposed to amazing cultures languages and experiences. That’s the real beauty of working here. I also worked in Beirut and New York, and enjoyed the diversified culture and work experience.
I now consider Ethiopia as my second home. The local people are lovely, friendly, and respectful, and the weather is fantastic – 13 months of sunshine a year, as they say! I also love Ethiopian food and whilst there is an ongoing conflict here, I’m positive it will be resolved soon.
Ultimately, what the UNDSS does is to make things happen. We are enablers, we’re here to ensure that United Nations personnel are safe and secure and that the United Nation’s activities are up and running. This isn’t just a job – it’s a way of life. It’s completely different from the corporate world as you’ll get to embrace challenging situations and support the UN in solving problems for mankind. If I had to sum up my 11 years here in one word, it would be “exciting”.