Swanee Hunt poses with Dee Dee Myers after her interview for the BBC series What If.
“If women ruled the world, they would make sure that they weren’t ruling the world,” affirms Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Institute founder and chair, in an episode of the BBC series What If… with former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers.
Women leaders have a unique understanding of the needs of their communities that guides them to creative and fresh solutions to intractable problems. They tend towards more collaborative and transformational styles of leadership—for example, Rwanda’s highly successful cross-party women’s caucus or the Libyan mothers of martyrs who mediate intercommunal disputes. Women are a powerful, yet underutilized force for peace.
Evelyn Thornton (left) and Tobie Whitman discuss the powerful influence of women in Integrated Peacebuilding.
Peacebuilding is a complex process. It involves a diverse set of actors utilizing creative tools, engaging multiple communities, and striving to understand the nuances of conflict. Collaboration amongst actors from different sectors—development, humanitarian aid, diplomacy, business, media—leads to sustainable outcomes.
Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict addresses the importance of a holistic method for ending violent conflict. Edited by Craig Zelizer, Founder of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, the book features ideas from a range of leading academics and practitioners in the field.
Institute CEO Evelyn Thornton and I wrote the chapter, “Gender and Peacebuilding.” We discuss the powerful influence of women’s participation and present:
Key theories about women’s inclusion in peacebuilding
Skills and challenges for practitioners
Current policy innovations, such as quotas and National Action Plans
Case studies on women’s participation in peace processes in Guatemala and Kenya
Over the last few decades, we’ve gained a greater understanding of the factors—like women’s inclusion—that contribute to lasting peace. Integrated Peacebuilding is a vital compendium of best practices that will deepen our perspective and push us even closer to that goal.
She believed the key to Rwanda's reconstruction lay in involving women at the grassroots level
This post by Linda Melvern, investigative journalist and author, originally appeared in “The Independent.”
Rwanda’s Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Aloisea Inyumba, who played a decisive role in the rebuilding of her country, has died aged 48. Inyumba was a pioneer in the advancement of women and she received international praise for her achievements.
Inyumba was first appointed to this post in July 1994 immediately after the genocide of the Tutsi and the civil war were over. The country’s infrastructure was in ruins and the social problems were unprecedented. Women now comprised 70 per cent of the population. The estimates from a 1997 report from UNICEF showed 250,000 women and girls had been raped and were infected with HIV with 35,000 made pregnant and more than 100,000 children had been separated from their families, orphaned, lost, abducted or abandoned. There were hundreds of thousands of women who were homeless, internally displaced and had lost their husbands.
Inyumba believed that the key to reconstruction and peace was to involve women in community development at the grass roots levels in society. She created a national women’s movement based on the former administrative structure with local groups run by women in every neighbourhood. Under her stewardship – like other ministers her initial salary came in beans and rice — the ministry grew in size and importance and it attracted international donors. Rwanda developed faster than other countries, Mary Robinson, former UN Commissioner for Human Rights believed, precisely because women had played such a determining role.
“To have a sustainable peace process, we can’t only bring the men with guns to the table; we must also have women.” So says Alaa Murabit, founder of Voice of Libyan Women, in this video for Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
Murabit and Inclusive Security Founder and Chair Ambassador Swanee Hunt sat down before a panel on “Elevating Women for Global Security” at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Forum in January to answer three questions about women and peace.
This post is by Mary Raum, PhD. Dr. Raum is Professor of National Security Affairs with the US Naval War College.
Author’s Note: The thoughts contained herein are the author’s alone and do not represent the Department of Defense, its allied service branches, or the United States Naval War College.
The nature of war has changed over the past several decades. The days of nation vs. nation conflict have been largely replaced with a complex variety of instabilities and conflict compositions. This has forced a paradigm shift in how we prepare for war.
Secretary Clinton is a futurist in this realm of thinking. Her spotlight on the role women play in conflict prevention, resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction signifies an innate understanding of the actualities of modern discord. Her viewpoint, correctly, is that in order to have peace, it’s essential to understand the interplay of social, economic, humanitarian, and military components which lead nations into conflict.
Acknowledging the complexity of these conflict dynamics, leads to the natural conclusion that a broad range of armed and unarmed, male and female stakeholders need to be engaged in the processes utilized to end wars and sustain peace. Secretary Clinton’s inclusive security initiative—which is far removed from earlier, one-dimensional positions that predate her tenure—is innovative because it allows for all the world’s populations to be actively engaged in the stability and prosperity of their nations.
At present, our defense establishment is focused on insurgencies and acts of terror. These threats have the potential to harm societies one diminutive event at a time. The states that house them are among the most unstable and, notably, they’re the nations with the least inclusive local, national, and international decision-making processes.
The concept of women, peace, and security makes sense in light of this new world order. To offset these potential conflicts, strong defense systems and policies today require constructing robust relationships among many different state actors before we revert to fighting—all the while keeping an eye toward the defense of our nation on a larger scale.
Secretary Clinton addressed relationships between nations while still protecting a solid defense establishment within the US. This is perhaps why some view her as having a political rather than a statesman’s legacy. Simultaneously taking a strong stance on “hard security issues” and seeking to address the social dimension of conflict demonstrates how revolutionary Secretary Clinton’s thinking may be regarding the nature of today’s global instabilities.
She understands that defense is a joint, multiparty endeavor and, as such, requires broad inclusion of populations in the assessments, decrees, and determinations of their futures. She is also in tune with the fact that the US military is now organized around joint command and control structures. She recognizes the increased global use of United Nations forces and the rising importance placed by nations upon globalized interventions. She’s been instrumental in pushing forward activities related to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960, as well as in NATO’s development of an overarching strategy to achieve the goals set out in these policies.
President Obama’s executive order establishing women, peace, and security as vital to US security policy is not yet two years old. The institutionalization of inclusive security is a slow and tedious process. Movement forward is rarely exciting enough to rise as a media event but, by institutionalizing first, there is a greater chance for the women, peace, and security initiative championed by Secretary Clinton to become integral to defense and international policies. Grassroots efforts at the institutional level invariably lead to long-term change. It’s a grand strategy in reverse.
**The United States Naval War College will host its Second Women, Peace, and Security Conference in the fall of 2013. The Women, Peace, and Security Conference will be a follow-on conference to its predecessor at the USNWC in the spring of 2012. This conference will expand in scope to include international perspectives as well as additional armed service branches, DoD professionals, and NGOs. Women Peace and Security (WPS) is now an expected, and in some instances, required entity of the United States armed services in conflict and post-conflict reconstruction planning and operations.
Sudan, once the largest nation is Africa, recently split into two. This separation was the result of over five decades of war. I was a child of war. I personally know the bitter experiences of loss and displacement. I wish I could say we have attained peace, but we have not. Within and between both of our nations we are facing many challenges. As women from both countries we are deeply concerned.
On International Women’s Day, I want to highlight one crucial element that has been missing from all the peace negotiations, cooperation agreements and efforts to implement them: the participation of women. After separation we have two new countries, and we need a new approach. Women are tired of being excluded – it is time for us to participate in peace negotiations and governance.
Women: Excluded from the Peace Process
In 2000, while Sudan was still in the midst of civil war, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325: this recognized that around the world, peace and security cannot be achieved unless women participate in peace processes. Yet the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement – and all the agreements since signed between Sudan and South Sudan – have been drafted without the presence of women.
Despite being excluded, women in Sudan and South Sudan have a history of working together across conflict lines to make peaceful coexistence possible. During the decades of civil war, we were never formally invited into the peace talks – but we showed up anyway. We lobbied our leaders to end the war.
Since South Sudan’s secession, we have continued to cooperate across the border even though it is difficult for us to meet in person. In January I travelled to Addis Ababa to meet 19 of my sisters from Sudan and South Sudan – members of the Coalition of Women Leaders supported by the Institute for Inclusive Security – to review the recent Cooperation Agreements signed by our two countries’ leaders in September 2012.
The signing of these agreements, a major success, was meant to normalise relations between our countries, on issues like the Sudan-South Sudan border, citizens’ nationality, trade and particularly oil. But since then, the signatories have not taken one step to implement the accords. Talks are stalled, and meanwhile our people continue to suffer. We see ongoing violence and militarisation. Increasing numbers of refugees and displaced people in both countries is creating a desperate humanitarian crisis.
Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan, July 2012
We wanted to take our recommendations to the senior mediators and negotiators who had gathered in Addis for the biannual African Union (AU) Summit. Our message was this: as women, we are tired. We are tired of the ongoing conditionalities being imposed every time our leaders come to the negotiating table. We are exhausted by the continued lack of information about what is happening and how decisions are being made in the peace process. Most of all, we are deeply concerned about the near complete absence of women in these talks.
Although there is a real danger that Sudan and South Sudan will return to war, let me share a little hope. There is a rich opportunity for women now to contribute to peace. Because the Cooperation Agreements signed in September last year have not been implemented, there are still many entry points for women to engage in the process.
There are several bodies tasked with implementation. This is a chance for women in civil society to be consulted on the mandates of these bodies. More than that, women should be appointed as chairs to committees; they should serve as technical experts, observers and advisors.
This is the message we brought to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) overseeing the peace process. While in Addis we met with former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the Panel, as well as members Pierre Buyoya and Abdulsalami Abubakar, former presidents of Burundi and Nigeria respectively. We specifically recommended that the AUHIP create a consultative taskforce of women to guarantee our engagement – and to ensure the voices of those being impacted most by the agreements make their way to the high-level talks.
Philister Baya Lawiri (centre, back row) meets members of the AUHIP, together with fellow members of the Coalition of Women Leaders. Addis Ababa, January 2013. Photo: Institute for Inclusive Security.
Our hearts leapt when President Mbeki agreed that there is a need for such a taskforce. He said that the time for it is ripe and that his advisers would begin working with our group the very next day to give effect to the idea. It was a fantastic result for us. We still have much work to do – our recommendation has not been formally acted on. But we have created space for our voices and we will continue to add them, invited or not, to the discussions that determine the direction of our nations.
This is a challenging time for relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and for the future of my young state. We will only achieve a lasting peace if women, at last, can be part and parcel of the process.
In this video from the Institute of Inclusive Security, Philister Baya Lawiri and other South Sudanese women leaders from government and civil society discuss women’s participation in South Sudan’s development.
At age ten, Philister Baya Lawiri walked with her family for 35 days through the forests of southern Sudan to escape violence. She traces her desire to build peace to her years as a refugee in Uganda and as a displaced person in Khartoum. Today she chairs South Sudan’s Civil Service Commission, promoting democratic values within the country’s newly formed government. Read Philister’s full bio on the Inclusive Security website.
Today is Hillary Clinton’s last day as Secretary of State. It’s a moment to take stock—not simply of her many accomplishments during these past four years, but also of the lasting impact of her exceptional leadership.
The airwaves this week have been dominated by pundits speculating on her legacy. But few have spotlighted Clinton’s unique contribution: the elevation of women as a powerful force for a more stable world. Like (General, then) Secretary of State George Marshall before her, she’s championed a bold new security paradigm; one that, like his, will “bear fruit in seasons to come.”
This is the case I made on UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC this past Sunday morning, and that I’ve expanded in a piece for The Huffington Post. Hillary Clinton has ensured a systemic shift in the US government (and pushed many abroad) toward what I call “inclusive security.”
Watch the video from Up with Chris Hayes:
Legacies are unpredictable. And certainly, with Hillary barely beginning her much-deserved R&R and newly-confirmed successor John Kerry not yet unpacked, it’s impossible to know what future historians will say about either of them. But earlier this week, President Obama signed a memorandum making permanent the position of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues that Secretary Clinton created (and Melanne Verveer so capably filled).
Coincidence? No. Her work carries on… and will.
Read my Huffington Post piece. I welcome your thoughts.
This image is from “Texts from Hillary,” an internet meme inspired by Sec. Clinton that went viral online. Clinton, whose favorite post showed her texting with Ryan Gosling, even joined in on the fun by contributing her own creation to the tumblr blog.
This past year, Inclusive Security was part of promising change that got more women to more decision-making tables.
We’re proud that our work is part of an even bigger splash women made in 2012. Preventing and ending war requires not just policy shifts but also widespread changes in the way people think about women in politics, business, governance, and beyond.
Here are my must-read articles from 2012:
Valerie Hudson’s groundbreaking research in Sex and World Peace revealed the best predictor of a state’s security. Hint: It isn’t wealth or democracy.
Christina Huffington compiled this list of the 24 best moments for women in 2012. At #9: More positions are formally opened up to female service members.
Inclusive Security’s founder and chair, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, laid out why we should care about getting more women elected on both sides of the aisle. It will lower corruption, broaden the agenda, and encourage bipartisan collaboration.
Ambassador Melanne Verveer also made the case for how promoting the status of women makes for smarter foreign policy. We couldn’t agree more.
The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders published its annual “Women Count” report [PDF], which monitors worldwide progress on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and offers recommendations for improving results.
Jamie Bechtel echoes Wangari Maathai’s stirring call for the women of Kenya to plant trees and how women, war, and natural resources are vitally connected.
Inclusive Security had a banner year, too: we launched a new website and a multi-million dollar initiative called Resolution To Act, designed to support countries developing and implementing National Action Plans.
We expanded our work in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. Here in the US, we moved into a beautiful new office to accommodate our growing staff.
Our next steps promise to be even more exciting. We’re ready to make 2013 the best year yet: more women at the table, more meaningful policies to ensure everyone has a say in decisions that affect their lives, more peace and security in communities throughout the world. We hope you’ll join us.
Sarah Chatellier (sitting in the back right-hand corner) observing the delegation’s meeting with Sen. Barbara Boxer. (Inclusive Security / Swanee Hunt)
During the weeks I spent preparing to bring a delegation of 12 women from Pakistan to the US to talk about one of Washington’s hottest issues—extremism—I couldn’t help but be filled with a slight sense of dread.
Let’s be frank; relations between the US and Pakistan are far from ideal.
A Gallup survey done last year shows America’s perception of Pakistan has sunk to a new low. Bellicose Congressional rhetoric has called for the cutting off of all aid to a country still very much in need of development assistance over concerns about its willingness and ability to combat terrorism.
While the US has provided some $13.3 billion in security assistance and $6.5 billion in economic aid to Pakistan [PDF] over the past decade, recent developments in our relations have many Americans—especially those in Washington with control of the purse strings—wondering where and how this money is being spent, and to what end.
However, because US media coverage of Pakistan overwhelmingly focuses on the country’s links to terrorists, most Western audiences have little understanding of and empathy for the majority of Pakistan’s vastly moderate populace whose lives, homes, and communities have been disrupted or destroyed by extremist violence.
Rarely do stories highlight how deeply most Pakistanis want peace for themselves and others and how much they are striving to secure it. So why not bring women on the front lines of Pakistan’s conflicts to Washington, DC, to share their stories, bridge divides, and begin to rebuild our fragile relationship? With support from the US Embassy in Islamabad and Meridian International Center, we did.
But, how would US officials engage with Pakistanis around an issue that has caused the near collapse of our increasingly fraught alliance? Given the current state of affairs, I envisioned confrontation and hostility rather than constructive dialogue.
Behind the scenes at a meeting with Rep. Jan Schakowsky and women from the Pakistan delegation. This was one of 15 meetings we arranged between the women and US policymakers. (Inclusive Security / Travis Wheeler)
In April, I had the privilege of spending a whirlwind week with 12 members of Amn-o-Nisa, a coalition of women leaders who are mobilizing against extremism in Pakistan, as they painted the town red. Over the course of five days, the group of journalists, educators, lawyers, and civil society activists had 15 meetings at the State Dept., USAID, and Congress (including with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Leader Nancy Pelosi) and two large-scale events, where they sat face to face with prominent DC policymakers to talk about efforts they’re undertaking to moderate extremism in their communities and propose solutions for how the US can better support and implement initiatives to counter radicalization in Pakistan.
As Bushra Hyder, a peace educator who founded her own school in the conflict-riddled region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa explained: “Most Pakistanis are like you and me. We want our children to be able to walk to school and go to the market without fear of bomb blasts…The extremists are a very small group of people; most Pakistanis want peace. But, we need to change how we are doing things to stop the growing trend of extremism. If nothing changes, it will only get worse.”
To my pleasant surprise, the exchanges were anything but confrontational. The delegation was resoundingly met with enthusiasm and even awe. (Their jam-packed schedule was an indication in and of itself of how thirsty US policymakers are for new solutions to countering violent extremism.) Not once did Osama bin Laden come up; on the few occasions when delegates mentioned drones, I saw officials nod empathetically. Better yet, virtually every official acknowledged the women’s courage and touted the importance of supporting their efforts and policy recommendations. Not only were they seen, they were heard.
Qamar-ul Huda, senior program officer in the Religion and Peacemaking Center at USIP, hailed them as “powerful women doing powerful stuff,” noting their unique ability to “creatively rethink relationships” in order to pave a new path for Pakistan’s future. Secretary Clinton noted that Pakistani women are key to building a safe future for their country.
In the upcoming weeks and months, Inclusive Security will continue to work with Amn-o-Nisa and the offices they met with to ensure the delegation’s recommendations are implemented. In the meantime, I hope those they encountered will remember the human side of Pakistan’s conflicts.
Despite what we see in the news, Pakistani women and men are daily risking their lives to promote peace and make their country a safer place for their children and generations to come. But, they can only do so with our continued support, encouragement, and allegiance.
Sarah Chatellier is a program associate and researcher at The Institute for Inclusive Security. She helps coordinate Amn-o-Nisa, a coalition of women leaders working to moderate extremism in Pakistan.
Women from the Amn-o-Nisa coalition of Pakistan meet with Secretary Clinton in Washington, DC. The women traveled to DC to meet with Sen. Boxer, Leader Pelosi, and officials at the State Dept. and US Agency for International Development. (Inclusive Security / Swanee Hunt)
The following is a letter I sent to the US Embassy in Islamabad this morning to thank them for sponsoring a US visit of 12 Pakistani women.
Salaam from Kabul! I hope you all are well.
I wanted to thank you for supporting the delegation of 12 Pakistani women for their exchange visit. Of course, they are still in the US, but we hosted them in DC a couple of weeks ago now, and they are thrilled to report that it was a great success.
I am sure that Mossarat Qadeem and colleagues will brief you upon their return in much greater detail, but in short, they left a big mark on Washington that week.[click to continue…]