AMISOM Officers Attend Public Information Officer Seminar

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, speaks to representatives from troop contributing countries to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) during a public information officer seminar, June 3, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. CJTF-HOA Commanding General Speaks to Representatives from Troop Contributing Countries to AMISOM During Public Information Seminar

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, speaks to representatives from troop contributing countries to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) during a public information officer seminar, June 3, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The conference facilitated a forum where the partnering countries could share perspectives on their operational experiences and also gain knowledge on communications and public affairs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

Ugandan Army Gen. Geoffrey Baraba Muheesi, African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM) Deputy Force commander, speaks during the final day of a public information officer seminar June 7, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Ugandan Army Gen., African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM) Deputy Force Commander, Speaks During the Final Day of Public Information Officer Seminar

Ugandan Army Gen. Geoffrey Baraba Muheesi, African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM) Deputy Force commander, speaks during the final day of a public information officer seminar June 7, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The conference facilitated a forum where AMISOM partnering countries could share perspectives on their operational experiences and also gain knowledge on communications and public affairs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

Public Information officers from African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM), discuss conference outcomes during the final day of a public information officer seminar June 7, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Public Information Officers from African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM), Discuss Conference Outcomes during the Final Day of Public Information Officer Seminar

Public Information officers from African Union Mission in Somolia (AMISOM), discuss conference outcomes during the final day of a public information officer seminar June 7, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The conference facilitated a forum where AMISOM partnering countries could share perspectives on their operational experiences and also gain knowledge on communications and public affairs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

Public information officers from troop contributing countries to the African Union  Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) attended a six-day seminar that included discussion and sharing of communication strategies, information operations and other communication disciplines June 1 to 7 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

Twenty officers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Uganda shared best practices related to communicating with the public, local leaders and news media to strengthen regional communications.

Ugandan Army Gen. Geoffrey Baraba Muheesi, AMISOM Deputy Force commander, attended the final two days.

“Allies of Africa, Africa has a great future,” he said. “We will go through these difficulties together … to see Somalia back on its feet.”

Muheesi encouraged the officers attending the seminar to follow a deliberate plan to share the AMISOM message and intent with local radio, news and print media to inform people in Somalia.

“It’s all about the mission, sharing information and building trust,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general.

Grigsby discussed differences between national and regional perspectives in relation to threats from violent extremist organizations. He also said that because each nation deals with multiple social and economic issues internal to their respective nations, each country’s perspective is different.

“If we all look at Somalia through a regional perspective, it isn’t simple or neat,” Grigsby said. “We need to set the stage so our national leaders understand what’s going on. Insights you share on the regional approach helps. You know what needs to be fixed and [CJTF-HOA] is here to continue working with you.”

Among the attendees was Djiboutian Col. Ali Aden Houmed, current AMISOM spokesperson.

“We have to have unity and share information to act together,” he said. “As we improve how we communicate, it will assist all facets of the mission.”

Houmed visited Camp Lemonnier in August 2013 and was involved with planning the PIO seminar.

“Now it is a reality; so far, so good,” he said. “Each of the officers is discussing public information and we are asking ourselves whether we are achieving goals or not. If not – we ask – ‘how will we do it [more] effectively?’”

Houmed said the seminar’s goal is to give information officers a venue to share ideas and collaborate to generate solutions.

“Public information is critical and powerful,” he said. “At the end of the day, we put our differences aside to bring ideas and solutions to leadership.”

Following the final day of the seminar Saturday, the AMISOM information officers returned to deployed locations within Somalia.

To find out more about AMISOM and the work public information officers do, go to http://amisom-au.org/

To read the latest edition of AMISOM Magazine, go to http://amisom-au.org/amisom-magazine/

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African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Public Information Officer Seminar

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