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On May 29, 2002, the world first honored International Day for United Nations Peacekeepers. The mission of the famous “Blue Helmets” is to “help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace.” 
 
Peacekeepers are not a military branch of the UN. They include civilian, police, and military personnel from 122 UN members. As of April 2014, more than 115,000 peacekeepers serve in 16 UN peacekeeping missions around the world. In 1988, UN Peacekeeping Forces won the Nobel Peace Prize.
 
The UN’s first peacekeeping mission was monitoring the cease-fire after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Today, peacekeepers have a wide variety of responsibilities. More than 25,000 peacekeepers—the largest peacekeeping mission—are helping to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo following a civil war. Other peacekeepers are working to help Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010. In Western Sahara, they are supporting residents in preparation for a referendum in which they will choose between political independence or joining the nation of Morocco. Peacekeepers have been observing the cease-fire between India and Pakistan on the disputed Kashmir border since 1971.
Noun

natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

cease-fire
Noun

end to hostilities or conflict.

civilian
Noun

person who is not in the military.

civil war
Noun

conflict between groups in the same country or nation.

conflict
Noun

a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

devastating
Adjective

very destructive or damaging.

dispute
Noun

debate or argument.

earthquake
Noun

the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity.

honor
Verb

to highly respect or recognize as superior.

independence
Noun

state or situation of being free.

military
Noun

armed forces.

Nobel Peace Prize
Noun

award recognizing the contributions of a person or organization to "work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace."

personnel
Noun

employees or all people working toward a common goal.

police
Noun

local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

political
Adjective

having to do with public policy, government, administration, or elected office.

referendum
Noun

direct vote in which voters are asked to accept or reject a proposal.

stabilize
Verb

to anchor or make strong and reliable.

United Nations
Noun

international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.

UN peacekeeping mission
Noun

United Nations project to send armed representatives to regions in conflict.

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