Meet Cecilia Piazza
Why did you want to start working in the peacekeeping sector and what was your entry point?
Since my early age, I have always aspired working in post-conflict/conflict settings. Before joining the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Tell us the story about what you consider most rewarding during your career?
I have always cherished working towards ending violence against civilians. Supporting younger staff with their professional development is also very rewarding for me.
What has been your greatest challenge during your career?
Setting up an office in an insecure environment is always difficult and I have done it many times. I take great care to ensure the office is set up well and protected against hostile attacks.
What are the most important lessons that you would like to share with anyone interested in pursuing a career in UN Peace Operations?
Be driven by the values of the United Nations. The UN and its work demands full dedication and a positive attitude.
Do you have a personal habit or trait that has been critical for your success?
I believe for me, not being afraid of change and an ability to take risks have been crucial personal qualities throughout my career. I am also generally confident that my choices correspond with my aspirations and remain confident even when others are arguing for another approach.
What is your job description?
I am currently serving in MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo as head of the Civil Affairs Section. This is a large section of staff deployed largely at the local level in field offices. Civil Affairs mainly works on community-based protection issues, including local conflict management.
Why did you choose to work for MONUSCO?
This is a position I have been interested in for a long time. I have served as a civil affairs officer and senior civil affairs officer and Head of Office. It builds on my interest in conflict/post conflict locations and management.
What do you believe are the most important skills needed for a UN career?
Having the core UN Values, especially professionalism, integrity, and respect for diversity.
We know that many of our followers would like to hear some advice on how to get a job with UN Peace Operations. Do you have any good tips to share?
Apply to positions that correspond with your own personal motivation, while being realistic about your suitability. Gain prior experience elsewhere, in NGOs or other organizations working in conflict zones. Do extensive field work before aspiring to a headquarters position. Be familiar with the recruitment process and understand what is required of you.