Counter Terrorism Officer Camilla Bognø - Photo:OSCE
Counter Terrorism Officer Camilla Bognø OSCE

Interview with Camilla Bognoe

The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization, and has projects in many of its participating states. The staff comes from all over the OSCE region, and several among them are Norwegians. In this series of interviews, we ask Norwegians working within the OSCE system to share stories about their work.

“When you work with so many different people with different backgrounds and ideas, you always learn something new, and challenge your own thinking and worldview,” says Camilla Bognø, Counter Terrorism Officer in the OSCE Transnational Threats Department (TNTD). “But the highlight is definitely when we get to see the result of a project we’ve worked on for a long time.”

The TNTD is situated in Vienna, and provides assistance to the participating states’ efforts in combatting transnational threats like terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime and border management. Camilla works in the Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU). “Our work is very much shaped by the OSCE’s multi-dimensional approach to security, and we work closely with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to ensure that everything we do is rooted in human rights.”

She elaborates on her last point. “It is a common misconception that security and human rights are separate concepts, and that we have to compromise on one or the other. However, there can never be security without human rights and vice versa. I had the same experience in almost every country I have worked from people with all kinds of background.”

We ask her about her day-to-day work. “The days are very different depending on what we work on. We travel extensively to contribute to training events, workshops and policy seminars,” she says. “We work actively with governments to support them in policy planning as well as give technical input, which often requires us to go to the country in question.” She continues, “The main bulk of my time is currently invested in two projects: Leaders against Intolerance and Violent Extremism (LIVE), a capacity building project to help civil society safely speak up and take action against violent extremism, and Gender Mainstreaming and CVE: A Security Sector Manual
, a handbook being developed for security sector actors with a mandate in countering violent extremism.”

“The frustrating thing about being at HQ is that we sometimes feel a bit disconnected or isolated. Therefore, I was happy that I got to organize the first ever national seminar on preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that leads to terrorism in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2017. It was a fantastic chance to get to know such a beautiful and unique place.”

When asked what personality traits is most important in her job, her answer is clear. “Patience, persistence, adaptability and a sense of humor.”