One Year Later: The Initiative for Women, Peace and Security
One year ago, on December 19th 2011, the Obama Administration took an historic and unprecedented step in American foreign policy by launching the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. The NAP is meant to serve as blueprint for action to improve U.S. national and international security, by strengthening the capacity of women to act as agents of peace and security and to better protect women in conflict-affected settings. The NAP was the U.S. Government's answer to the ground-breaking U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security that was passed in 2000.
Georgetown University hosted Secretary Clinton at an event in Gaston Hall where she unveiled the U.S. National Action Plan and cemented her leadership and commitment to elevating the status of women in peace and security efforts through her role as America's top diplomat. During her speech, she also announced an exciting new Georgetown Initiative for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) spearheaded by Carol Lancaster, Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, with support from President John J. DeGioia.
Since then, both the U.S. Government and Georgetown University have taken some important steps towards changing the landscape of the women, peace and security field. In particular, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released implementation plans that emphasize the importance of identifying concrete actions that can be taken to reinforce the NAP's objectives. These plans stress budgeting, measurement, and evaluation processes that agencies can take in pursuit of implementing the women, peace and security agenda.
The Initiative for Women, Peace and Security is founded on the principle that lasting peace and security can only be achieved when threats to women are recognized as threats to all and when women become equal partners in peace, security and stability. Dean Carol Lancaster commented, “The Initiative for Women, Peace and Security has been an important addition to the efforts at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and the university as a whole. The research agenda surrounding women’s roles in peace and conflict connects with Georgetown’s Jesuit identity. Furthermore, it addresses a pressing need for documented research in the field. With an anticipated formal launch in late January 2013, the Initiative presents a large number of exciting research opportunities for both our faculty and students.”
Over the past year the Initiative has taken substantive steps in enacting the vision articulated by Secretary Clinton and the U.S. NAP. Primary among these accomplishments has been the creation of an online research repository providing researchers, practitioners, and students access to a wide range of sources on women, peace and security. The repository is an unparalleled resource for the field of women, peace and security through its depth of materials and ease of access. Aligned with the Initiative’s broader effort to close the data gap in the field, the repository is poised to have a profound impact on those engaging with women, peace and security.
Also central to the Initiative’s efforts has been the Profiles in Peace: Oral Histories Project. Through this project the Initiative has conducted and recorded interviews with leaders working to increase women’s agency in areas of peace, security, and post-conflict reconstruction. The recorded narratives from this project provide not only primary data on women, peace and security, but also easily distributed and interactive stories that could have easily gone untold. Notable interviewees include President of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga.
GIWPS is an active member of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security, which is comprised of various organizations and expert practitioners who advocate for implementation of the U.S. NAP and provide technical support to the U.S. Government on relevant issues. Additionally, GIWPS launched a formal collaboration with the Institute for Inclusive Security as part of the Resolution to Act project. GIWPS was also invited an interagency meeting to brief members of the U.S. National Security Council on women, peace and security in December 2012.