Major Suman Gawani, an Indian Army officer and woman peacekeeper who has served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has been selected for the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award (2019).
She has been awarded for her outstanding contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the UNMISS, news agency ANI reported.
This is the first time that an Indian peacekeeper is being given the UN Military Gender Advocate award.
Created in 2016, the award honours the dedication and effort of individual military peacekeepers in promoting the UN principles on Women, Peace and Security in peace operations as nominated by Heads and Force Commanders of peace operations.
Major Gawani was scheduled to visit New York for the award ceremony but due to Covid-19 pandemic, she will receive the award during an online ceremony.
Along with her, Brazilian Naval Officer Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo will receive the award by United Nations Secretary-General Guterres on May 29, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
“I was supposed to go to New York at the United Nations headquarters for this award, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I will be honoured in an online ceremony on May 29. I am the first Indian to get this award,” she said.
In 2011, Major Gawani joined the Indian Army where she graduated from the Officers Training Academy, and then joined the Army Signal Corps.
She completed her schooling in Uttarkashi and holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the Government Post Graduate College in Dehradun.
She hails from Pokhar village in Tehri Garwhal. While her father is a retired government officer, two of her three siblings are serving in the Indian Armed forces.
Presently, Major Gawani is posted in Delhi.