Karin Limdal appointed new head of the EU mission EUPOL COPPS in Palestine

The EU mission EUPOL COPPS supports the establishment of a functioning legal system and police force in Palestine. This year, former FBA secondee Karin Limdal assumed the position as the highest-ranking chief of the mission, thus becoming the first Swedish woman to reach that position in an EU civil crisis management mission.

Nearly 20 years ago, Karin Limdal embarked on her first international assignment to the observer mission Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron in Palestine. It was the starting point of a successful international career where she has worked, among other things, for the EU's knowledge center for civil crisis management in Berlin and the EU External Action Service in Brussels.

In October 2023, she returned to Palestine as the new Deputy Mission Chief for the EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUPOL COPPS). But her time as deputy was short-lived; in April of this year, she stepped up to become the highest-ranking chief of the mission. Looking back on what led her there, she leans more towards curiosity than careful career planning:

– My driving force has been to work in exciting and dynamic places. When I went on my first mission, I had no ambition for an international career, but one thing has since led to an-other without any real plan behind it. I have jumped on things and seized opportunities as they have arisen.

As the highest-ranking chief within an international peace mission, what advice do you give to some one aiming for leadership roles in international missions?

– Dare to venture out and work in less comfortable environments on short, insecure con-tracts, far from fancy corridors but close to reality, and alternate that with work at head-quarters level and also work for different organizations.

– If you aim to become a leader, you should first and foremost ask yourself what drives you to become a leader – are you genuinely interested in becoming a leader or do you see it as the only career path? I have worked with many brilliant experts over the years, much more brilliant than I am, but they were not, or should not become, good leaders. I believe that the starting point for becoming a good leader is actually having a genuine interest in other people. If you don't have that, there are also alternative career paths. In addition, I want to say that you should not listen to those who say that it is not possible to combine an interna-tional career with being a mother or father. Look at me! In general, you should try to listen to yourself and follow what suits you, whatever it may be.

What challenges and enlightening moments do you remember from your time deployed?

– One challenge is spending so much time away from your family. It's important to find the right life partner who understands and supports you in your career choices. As in all rela-tionships, it's a give and take, but it's somewhat put to the test considering the environ-ments we work in and the challenges we face. I have learned a lot from all my different deployments as an envoy, but a period where I really tested myself is the years when I was the press chief at EULEX Kosovo in a very politically sensitive environment during and short-ly after the declaration of independence and in a mission with a fairly extensive executive mandate. Generally, I have learned the need to have a place in the world that you call home in an otherwise nomadic existence and to have family and friends who are complete-ly separate from your professional career.

What support have you received from FBA?

– FBA has ensured that I have received certain leadership training and have participated in exercises that have trained my leadership. Throughout all my years as a deployed person, FBA has supported me administratively and also in many other ways. FBA has offered me the opportunity to develop a fantastically interesting career and as an employer for de-ployed personnel, they are truly unique with few other employers in the world supporting their deployed personnel in the same way.

What challenges and opportunities do you see in your role as chief of EUPOL COPPS, especially considering the serious security situation in the region?

– Being able to support our Palestinian partners in a meaningful way in the areas of security and justice, to be able to offer their citizens security and to live in a rule of law despite the serious security situation both in Gaza and the West Bank.
What do you hope to achieve during your time as chief and how do you want your leader-ship to affect the mission's future and peace and security in the region?

– I hope to be able to lead the organization in an inclusive and energetic way, outline a clear vision for our work today and in the future that ultimately can deliver on the EU's goal of creating effective and sustainable law enforcement and justice authorities for a future Pal-estinian state, as part of a two-state solution.

Karin Limdal, a Swedish national, appointed to lead EUPOL COPPS in Ramallah: news article about Karin Limdal on the EUPOL COPPS website.

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