July 1, 2014 – Melanne Verveer presented the 2014 Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) Global Trailblazer Award last week in Brussels to Lady Catherine Ashton, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The presentation by Verveer, GIWPS’ executive director, took place at a dinner hosted last Wednesday night by Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson, publisher of European Voice and a Georgetown board of directors member.
Semsar-de Boisséson finished her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the School of Foreign Service in 1990.
Recognizing Gender Equality
“[Ashton has] recognized that gender equality is an essential component for building democracy and called on those in leadership positions to listen to the voices of women, if they and we are to achieve more effective outcomes for peace,” Verveer said, reading the award citation.
Then-Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton launched GIWPS in 2011 to enhance U.S. national and global security by examining and highlighting the effect of women’s participation to improve peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
The institute created the Global Trailblazer Award to acknowledge individuals who have committed themselves to creating a more peaceful, equitable and safe world and who, through their leadership, demonstrate that women are agents of change.
During her tenure as the first female High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ashton worked to establish a dedicated EU policy on women, peace and security. She also recognized the critical work of women in conflict zones, and has met with grassroots leaders around the world, from Afghanistan to Kosovo to Libya.
Clinton, honorary founding chair of GIWPS, sent a personal message to congratulate Lady Ashton.
“Throughout your trailblazing career, you have been a leader in recognizing the important role that women have to play in global peace and security,” Clinton said. “I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with you during my tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, and am grateful for everything you have done for women and girls across the globe.”
In a conversation following the award presentation, Ashton highlighted the importance of “always listening to the voices of women wherever they are.”
“They are 50 percent of the population and 50 percent of the solution, and their voices are not being heard,” she said.