Catherine Ashton

The Trailblazer Award | 11/01/2014

Cathy Ashton smiles on a panel
Catherine Ashton became the first High Representative of EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in December 2009.

We have watched her over the years since her appointment carry out some of the most difficult diplomatic assignments from Syrian refugee camps to the Iran nuclear talks, from Afghanistan to Ukraine and from Nigeria to South Sudan.

We saw firsthand the close transatlantic partnership she forged with Secretary Clinton, and today that continues with Secretary Kerry –a partnership to reduce a range of threats and conflicts around the world. She brokered the first ever talks between the heads of governments of Serbia and Kosovo and it resulted in an agreement.

We honor Lady Ashton for her powerful leadership on behalf of women in conflict-affected countries who play a critical role to advance peace, stability and security.

Women have been on the frontlines of change all over the world. In Afghanistan, for example, Lady Ashton and Secretary Clinton teamed up, meeting with Afghan women leaders in Kabul and giving voice to their efforts, reminding the world that if women’s participation is marginalized or if their progress is reversed, any prospects for a sustainable peace will be lost.

She met with women in Iran, Kosovo, Libya and beyond. In addition she has established a dedicated EU policy on women, peace and security. Next year, we will mark 15 years since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 underscoring the importance of women’s equal participation in all efforts to promote and maintain peace and security.

And at the recent London Summit sponsored by the British Foreign Secretary – to end sexual violence in conflict, which has become a strategic tool of war– she called for an end to impunity and access to justice and accountability and committed the EU to being a strong partner in ending this egregious human rights violation and global scourge.

She has also 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.

For her leadership, commitment and unstinting efforts to advance women’s progress in peace and security, Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace & Security is proud to present the 2014 Global Trailblazer Award to Lady Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy.