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Backpacks Full of Hope

The UN Mission in Haiti

Eduardo Aldunate

Studies in International Governance Series

Paper 252 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-155-9

Release Date: March 2010

Online discount: 25%

$42.99  $32.24


eBook availability

Backpacks Full of Hope: The UN Mission in Haiti describes the experience of a Chilean general as Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) during the particularly turbulent year September 2005 to September 2006. It details the realities of commanding more than 7,000 men from eleven countries while working to fulfill the mandate of the United Nations in Haiti—to ensure a secure and stable environment, to support the transitional government in a democratic political process, and to promote and protect the human rights of the Haitian people.

Despite the enormous challenges of a complex scenario that included local violence and extreme poverty, the UN command succeeded in its mission, stabilizing the local situation and paving the way for Haiti to hold a presidential election.

Originally published as Mision en Haiti, con la mochila cargada de esperanzas, this work provides a new audience with insight on the peace operation and sheds light on the long-term endeavour of civilians, military, and local and international agencies to support Haiti’s path to prosperity.

Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation

Major General Eduardo Aldunate has served as a Chilean Army officer since 1973. He has been an instructor and commander in mountain infantry units and special forces units and was the Deputy Force Commander of MINUSTAH between September 2005 and September 2006. He is currently Commander of Military Schools for the Chilean Army. He has written books and academic articles on military leadership and strategic and civilianmilitary relations for civilian and military publications.


“A Chilean General finds himself in Haiti leading and coordinating 7,500 soldiers from 22 different countries under the United Nations banner. In addition to military tasks he had to interact with other operators on the ground—the UN police, NGOs, UN agencies, human rights groups, Haitian authorities, political groups, the private sector—many of them with divergent agendas. He went through the ordeal of his commanders suicide. Several of his soldiers were killed and many wounded. Backpacks Full of Hope is a very personal and honest account of an actor who is onstage, taking charge, leading, playing his role as a member of a peacekeeping mission. But this book also has the unique perspective of the actor onstage observing the public and the other actors.”

— Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti

“The real objective of war should not be destruction; it should be a more perfect peace. Indeed, General Aldunate took his ‘mochila’ and gun to Haiti not to bring more destruction to the poorest country of the hemisphere but to contribute to peace, stability, and development. This fascinating book will allow you to accompany him during his journey.”

— Gerard Le Chevallier, former Chief of the MINUSTAH’s Electoral Assistance Section (Haiti, 2004-2006)

Backpacks Full of Hope

Table of Contents

Related interest

International relations

Military history

Related links

Centre for International Governance Innovation

Related books

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Irrelevant or Indispensable?: The United Nations in the Twenty-first Century, Paul Heinbecker and Patricia Goff, editors