DECEMBER 3, 2014 – WHEN WOMEN PARTICIPATE IN peace processes, “often overlooked issues such as human rights, individual justice, national reconciliation, economic renewal are often brought to the forefront,” former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today at Georgetown.
Clinton spoke on “Smart Power: Security Through Inclusive Leadership” in historic Gaston Hall at an event sponsored by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and the Institute for Inclusive Security.
The talk and a panel discussion that followed took place as part of the launch of the National Action Plan Academy, a collaborative effort among Inclusive Security, GIWPS and the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings Initiative.
The academy will explore how countries can craft strategies to help women rise into leadership roles on security issues and provide training and workshops.
‘DOING THE RIGHT THINGS’
“Today marks a very important next step,” Clinton told an audience of diplomats and other officials from all over the world, “shifting from saying the right things to doing the right things, putting into action the steps that are necessary not only to protect women and children but to find ways of utilizing women as makers and keepers of peace.”
She noted that it was two women, Teresita Quintos Deles, an advisor on the peace process to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the republic’s Government Peace Panel, who recently brokered peace in the 40-year struggle between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“This is what we call Smart Power, using every possible tool…leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand, and insofar as is psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems [and] determine a solution, that is what we believe in the 21st century will change the prospect for peace,” she said.
But she also told the audience that the world still has a long way to go in terms women’s participation.
Of the hundreds of peace treaties signed since the early 1990s, between or within nations, she said fewer than 10 percent had any female negotiators and fewer than 3 percent had women as signatories.
“Is it any wonder that many of these agreements fail between a few years?” Clinton asked.
A NATIONAL EFFORT
It was exactly three years ago that then-Secretary of State Clinton and Georgetown President John J. DeGioia announced the creation of GIWPS at the unveiling of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Since that time, Clinton has spoken at GIWPS-sponsored events a number of times, including an Oct. 30 talk on “The Power of Women’s Economic Participation.”
“It is wonderful to be here on this campus,” she said today, “and have a chance to further the work that is being done by our government along with other governments and the incredibly important role that Ambassador Melanne Verveer and the Institute for Women, Peace and Security is playing.”
Verveer serves as executive director of GIWPS, for which Clinton is honorary founding chair.
The institute examines and highlights the roles and experiences of women in peace and security efforts worldwide through cutting-edge research and scholarship, timely global convenings and strategic partnerships.
DIVERSE CORPS OF SOLDIERS
Unless we have the smart brains who can do the defense and the programming that we need, we will not be able to perform our conventional warfare as well, or our peace-keeping.”
—Ine Eriksen Søreide, MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF THE KINGDOM OF NORWAY
The Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide spoke after Clinton.
Eriksen Søreide noted that a completely new area of warfare – cyberwarfare – will require both men and women to serve in the military.
“Unless we have the smart brains who can do the defense and the programming that we need, we will not be able to perform our conventional warfare as well, or our peace-keeping,” she said. “So that means we need to be able to both recruit and keep a more diverse corps of soldiers and that means for the female part of it, of course, making it an attractive place to be. …”
A panel discussion also took place in Gaston with Ambassador Marriët Schuurman, special representative to the NATO Secretary General for Women, Peace and Security; Maj. Gen. Adrian Foster, deputy military adviser for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency; Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, director of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies; Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (via video); and Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria (via video).
FRONTLINES OF PEACE
The event also marked the launch of a book called Women on the Frontlines of Peace and Security, the outcome of a joint effort between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense to advance women’s participation in preventing conflict and keeping peace.
“Some 48 countries and regional organizations around the world have adopted national action plans to implement the principles of historic U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325,” Verveer noted before the event. “This global symposium will spotlight opportunities and challenges by bringing together thought leaders and expert practitioners.”
The resolution, passed in 2000, acknowledged the importance of women in peacemaking roles and the disproportionate effect of violent conflict on women.
Swanee Hunt, founder and chair of the Institute for Inclusive Security, said the partnership is building momentum so that more countries will create national action plans with serious impact.
“The academy is about sharing innovative ideas that will propel us collectively toward this new global standard,” she said.