Events with external partners
Guest speakers: Professor Jacqui True and Farkhondeh Akbari. Hosted by the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on 15 August 2021 undid the significant achievements of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in Afghanistan and reinstituted gender apartheid.
Since 2001, there have been concerted efforts, at least institutionally, to promote women’s participation in the parliament, in government and the security sector, and to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and other violations of their human rights.
As a conflicted society, Afghanistan had a long way to achieve its gender equality goals sustainably and meaningfully.
The irresponsible withdrawal of western forces not only destabilised these achievements, but revealed the lack of commitment to protecting women’s rights as the Taliban were ceasing power militarily. On 15 August 2022, UN Women issued a Gender Alert saying that one year on from the Taliban take-over in Afghanistan, women “are systematically excluded from public and political life, and restricted in their access to education, humanitarian assistance, employment, justice and health services”.
What can the international community do to restore women’s fundamental rights and freedoms? What is the scope for supporting Afghan women representatives to negotiate directly with the Taliban, and for including Afghan women as equal partners to inform advocacy and policy priorities? What can Australia do to promote an inclusive peace settlement in Afghanistan?
After the Taliban's Takeover of Afghanistan - Where are the Women and Girls?
This webinar brings together experts and local voices to critically explore and make pragmatic recommendations on what Australia and other countries can do to support women and girls' rights and security as part of the international Women, Peace and Security agenda in Afghanistan.
Scholars at Risk Lecture Series
Presenter: Dr Marta Havryshko, URIS Fellow at Basel University
Presenter: Roya Hakakian, leading Iranian-American scholar, human rights activist and journalist.
An unprecedented nationwide uprising - not see since the 1979 revolution - is currently underway across Iran since the extrajudicial killing in detention of 22-year-old #MahsaAmin in September 2022.
GPS Seminar Series
2022 Seminar series
Guest: Dr Jennifer Thomson, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
In recent years, the idea of a feminist foreign policy has gained traction in states and international organisations. Sweden, Canada, Luxembourg, France, Mexico, Spain Libya and Germany have now all adopted (or are in the process of adopting) feminist foreign policies. Yet, compared to other international interventions on gender equality such as UNSCR 1325 or CEDAW, there is no agreed upon text or resolution which addresses what exactly a feminist foreign policy should consist of. Instead, it remains up to individual states to decide what such policies should focus on. As a result, feminist foreign policy looks very different across these states, with each country prioritising different areas, referencing different international and national agendas and adopting different frameworks.
In her research, Dr. Jennifer Thomson explores the different feminist foreign policies of five of the states that have adopted it thus far, asking what they all aim to do. What similarities and differences exist in these policies? What motivations are apparent in each for following this agenda? Can we talk about a unified feminist foreign policy across these states, or do we see instead five different (and perhaps competing) agendas?
Guest: Claudio J. Delfabro - Director, Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law - International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo, Italy
The end of the Second World War led to the building of an articulated framework for the rights and the protection of refugees. At first, the effort remained limited to the European dimension, but it soon acquired a universal scope and a customary nature. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instituted the right to seek and enjoy asylum as a basic human right thus protecting persons from being returned to a country where they may face persecution.
Thereafter, the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and subsequent regional instruments outlined the elements necessary to grant refugee status and set out legal obligations for States to ensure that the full spectrum of human rights of refugees is respected. In the drafting and ratification of these instruments, States included specific safeguards that clearly set out the conditions under which refugee status can be excluded, cancelled, and revoked thus ensuring that no international protection is provided to those who do not need it or deserve it. Through this body of norms and principles, the institution of a fair and efficient asylum procedure enables States to meet their international obligations under refugee law, human rights law, and customary law while complementarily upholding their national security interests. In fact, the provision of secure avenues to seek asylum, the prompt registration and status determination of asylum- seekers, and the inclusion of refugees in education, social services, and the labour market will prevent marginalisation and disempowerment and intrinsically enhance the safety of host communities.
Guest: Dr Julia Zulver, Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, UNAM, Mexico.
Dr Zulver will be presenting her new book, High-Risk Feminism in Colombia. The book documents the experiences of grassroots women’s organizations that united to demand gender justice during and in the aftermath of Colombia’s armed conflict. In doing so, it illustrates a little-studied phenomenon: women whose experiences with violence catalyze them to mobilize and resist as feminists, even in the face of grave danger. Despite a well-established tradition of studying women in war, we tend to focus on their roles as mothers or careers, as peacemakers, or sometimes as revolutionaries. This book explains the gendered underpinnings of why women engage in feminist mobilization, even when this takes place in a ‘domain of losses’ that exposes them to high levels of risk. It follows four women’s organizations who break with traditional gender norms and defy armed groups’ social and territorial control, exposing them to retributive punishment. It provides rich evidence to
document how women are able to surmount the barriers to mobilization when they frame their actions in terms of resistance, rather than fear.
Guests: Sarala Emmanuel, feminist activist from Batticaloa, in Eastern Sri Lanka, Mythri Jegathesan, Associate Professor in Anthropology at Santa Clara University, USA, and Nimanthi Perera Rajasingham, Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Colgate University, USA.
Sri Lanka is experiencing an acute socio-economic crisis sparked by a politically-driven financial collapse. Dire living conditions for the majority of the people led to widespread protest movements that toppled the Rajapaksa regime that has been in power for almost 2 decades. The protests often collectively referred to as the Aragalaya (the People’s Struggle) have emphasised the ruptures in the current socio-economic and political system in the country and how the state has continued to ignore, disregard and violate the rights of the people. Within this discourse of crisis and responsibility of the state, the gendered experiences of women require further attention. There is a concerted push to increase women in the labour market and increase foreign remittances by reducing the age for women migrant workers to 21 and removing night work restrictions on women.
This roundtable discussion attempts to examine the centrality of women’s labour in understanding the economic, political and social crisis that has unfolded in Sri Lanka over the past year. The discussants will examine the variegated relations between the state, ethnonationalisms and women’s labour, as well as explore the ruptures, contradictions and continuities in the relationship between the state and women’s labour. Questions around labour mobilisations and movements, as well as women’s leadership and participation in the recent Aragalaya will be used to interrogate women’s encounters with the state.
Guests: Melissa Jardine, author of Women, Policing and Security: Reforming the Afghan National Police, Professor Jacqui True, Director of Monash GPS, Dr Eleanor Gordon, Senior Lecturer, Monash GPS, Ms. Parisa Sekandari, Master of International Relations, Monash University.
"This book is a valuable addition to the literature on security sector reform. It provides further evidence of how a lack of gender considerations within reform programming has a negative impact. Moreover, that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to women’s inclusion does not work. This leads us to question “Who are we trying to benefit, the women themselves or their ‘assumed’ benefits as perceived by international organisations?” In 2014, the International Association of Women Police launched a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by women in the Afghan National Police. Our stance then, and still remains, is that “If you cannot safeguard the women in the police, how can you possibly improve the situation for women in the community?” This book provides an important evaluation of what had changed between 2014 and 2021. Sadly, it demonstrates the underlying issues were not addressed and what women themselves wanted was largely ignored. Women officers need to be part of the discussion to identify solutions and the application of meaningful participation of women is critical if we really intend to achieve positive outcomes."
Jane Townsley, MSc. Executive Director, IAWP
2021 & Earlier Events
16 Days of Activism 2021
The Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre in partnership with the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre were thrilled to host Natasha Stott Despoja AO on 26th November 2021 to deliver a keynote speech on gender based violence to coincide with the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women. Following Natasha's keynote speech, she joined a panel of Monash GPS and GFVPC scholars to explore current challenges and commitments to ending violence against women in Australia, across the region and globally.
Events with Monash International Affairs Society
Collaboration with The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
The Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre joined the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law to co-host two events focussing on women in Afghanistan.
24 June 2021
Sustainable peace requires women’s voices to be heard. To-date, the peace negotiations have been marked by limited participation of women, which poses a concern not only for the process of negotiation but also the broader implications which any agreement will have on the enjoyment of rights, peace and security for millions of women and girls in Afghanistan.
This event brings together speakers from different spheres of public life in Afghanistan to discuss important issues which have not received sufficient attention in official negotiations and debates. This includes the role of women for sustainable peace and the long-term effects of any agreement on the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan. The event also considers how the situation in Afghanistan affect Afghan diaspora in Australia and what we could all do to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
This is the first panel discussion in a two-part series, the second to take place in August, focusing on more of the legal technicalities of conflict and the extent of which international law provides protection for women and civilians more broadly in Afghanistan.
12 August 2021
In recent times, there have been an increasing number of targeted attacks on civilians in Afghanistan. The conflict in Afghanistan is complex and longstanding, involving many international, as well as non-international actors. As a starting point, this event will discuss the nature of the conflict. The panellists will also consider the extent to which international law protects women and civilians more broadly.
Past GPS seminar series
Recordings from the 2021 and 2020 Seminar Series
Dr. Marie Berry and Sinduja Raja
Tuesday 11 May 2021
In the wake of war, gender equality reforms have become part of a standard toolkit for recovery. This project compares and evaluates women's empowerment interventions that followed war in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia, DR Congo, Iraq, Colombia, Liberia, Nepal, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. At the core of our research is a simple question: who benefits from these postwar gender reforms? We map new opportunities for women and sexual and gender minorities that have emerged after war by evaluating laws, policies, and the experiences of individuals side-by-side. Critically, we explore the conditions under which the implementation of gender egalitarian reforms can reinforce existing socio-political cleavages, aggravate conflict-era fissures, and/or serve politically expedient goals — all processes which ensure that some women gain while others remain sidelined.
Dr. Marie Berry is an Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is the Director of the Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative (IGLI).
Sinduja Raja is a Doctoral Student in International Studies from India at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is also Project Manager of the Women’s Rights After War project.
Tuesday 6 April 2021
The signs of growing far-right extremism are all around us, and communities across America and around the globe are struggling to understand how so many people are being radicalised and why they are increasingly attracted to violent movements. Hate in the Homeland by Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss shows how tomorrow’s far-right nationalists are being recruited in surprising places, from college campuses and mixed martial arts gyms to clothing stores, online gaming chat rooms, and YouTube cooking channels.
Dr Cynthia Miller-Idriss is a professor at the American University in Washington, DC, where she directs the Polarisation and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Centre for University Excellence (CUE). She has testified before the U.S. Congress, has briefed the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, and frequently serves as a keynote speaker and expert panellist on trends in white supremacist and far-right extremism to global academic and policy communities.
Dr Elizabeth Pearson, Dr Katherine Brown and Emily Winterbotham
Tuesday, March 9 2021
This webinar is based on findings from the forthcoming book, Countering Violent Extremism: Making Gender Matter (Palgrave, 2020). The book presents original research on gender and the power dynamics of diverse forms of violent extremism, and efforts to counter them. Based on focus group and interview research with some 250 participants in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK in 2015 and 2016, it offers insights from communities affected by radicalisation and violent extremism. It introduces the concept of gendered radicalisation, exploring how the multiple factors of paths to violent extremist groups – social, local, individual and global – can differ for both men and women, and why. The book also offers a critical analysis of gender and terrorism; a summary of current policy in the five countries of study and some of the core gendered assumptions prevalent in interventions to prevent violent extremism; a comparison of Jihadi extremism and the far right; and a chapter of recommendations. This book is of use to academics, policy-makers, students and the general reader interested in better understanding a phenomenon defining our times.
Elizabeth Pearson is Lecturer at Swansea University and Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, UK. She specialises in gender in extremism and counter extremism in the UK, Europe and West Africa.
Katherine E. Brown is Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, UK, and focuses on the role of religion and gender in violent extremism and counter extremism. Katherine has a particular interest in the gendered impacts of state responses on the human rights of religious communities.
Emily Winterbotham is Director of the Terrorism and Conflict group at RUSI focusing on extremism and radicalisation, countering violent extremism and peacebuilding. She also has regional expertise in South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan. She has over ten years' desk and field experience in an international policymaking environment and is a Deployable Civilian Expert for the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit.
Wednesday 18 November 2020
The panel reflects on our stocktaking of the 20th anniversary of WPS agenda in October, 2020 and the ASEAN Summit in November, 2020 in light of security and human rights challenges, and featuring youth and gender perspectives from the Pacific and South-East Asia. Professor Sara Davies from Griffith University will guide the discussion with the panellists Betty Barkha (Monash GPS), Dr Elise Stephenson (Griffith University), Yuyun Wahyuingrum (Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN-AICHR), Fiona Hukula (Senior Research Fellow at PNGHNRI) and Noor Huda Ismail (film maker and social enterprise). Co-hosted by Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre and Griffith University Gender Equality Research Network WPS.
Professor Sara Davies (Griffith University – Co-Program Director, Gender Equality Research Network)
Yuyun Wahyuingrum (Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN-AICHR)
Fiona Hukula (Senior Research Fellow at PNGHNRI)
Noor Huda Ismail (film maker and social enterprise)
Betty Barkha (Monash GPS)
Elise Stephenson (Griffith University)
Monday 3 November 2020
Based upon the argument Caron Gentry makes in Disorder Violence (2020), in this talk she creates an academically grounded argument for ‘misogynistic terrorism.’ By tracing out the historical trajectory for this idea, she builds upon the older legacy of ‘patriarchal terrorism,’ which examines a particular type of domestic abuse, one that is enduring, controlling, and dependent upon patriarchal structures. Overtime, different scholars have morphed the term and definition from patriarchal to intimate to everyday terrorism. With each turn, the idea of this form of terrorism broadened to include other forms of gender-based violence. Nevertheless, all of these violences were still dependent upon patriarchal structures and misogynist ideology. Misogynist terrorism goes even further by including the mass shootings in the US, where women are the disproportionate victims, and the rise of Incel violence.
Caron Gentry is a Professor in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Her work focuses both on gender and terrorism and feminist political theology. Her most recent monograph is Disordered Violence: How Gender, Race, and Heteronormativity Structure Terrorism (Edinburgh University Press 2020). She is published in a number of journals including International Feminist Journal of Politics, International Affairs, the Journal of International Relations and Development, Critical Studies on Terrorism, and Critical Studies on Security.
Ayelet Harel-Shalev (Ben-Gurion University) and Shir Daphna-Tekoah (Ashkelon Academic College/Kaplan Medical Center)
Monday 12 October 2020
In critical security studies and Feminist IR, studies explicitly devoted to violent state actors, particularly women who engage with violence, remain limited. The book focuses on the study of women combat soldiers in the fields of Security Studies and International Relations. It addresses this issue by bringing the soldiers' voices and silences to the forefront of research in these domains. The narration of the soldiers’ experiences sheds light on the analysis of violence, state violence, combat trauma, security and in-security. The book explores women who served in combat roles in the IDF; but the analysis extends beyond the Israeli case insofar as the book offers important general insights into the larger issues of the links between war and gender, body and gender, trauma and gender, and politics and gender. Presenting soldiers, veterans and women soldiers as narrators and describing their multiple nuanced voices make a valuable contribution to understanding political violence and to comprehending the multiple and multilayered battles faced by soldiers within the spaces of combat and war.
Ayelet Harel-Shalev is a political scientist. She is Associate Professor at the Conflict Management and Resolution Program and Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Shir Daphna-Tekoah is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work of the Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel, and Head of the Social Work Department, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel.
Dr Keshab Giri (University of Sydney)
Monday 14 September 2020
Same Battlefield Different Wars: Intersectionality and Experiences of Female Ex-Combatants in the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal
War produces winners and losers and this applies to female ex-combatants in post-war period as well. In fact, for some, post-war peace is riddled with the continuum of violence. Which female ex-combatants are more likely to adjust back to the society and lead a decent life and who aren’t? Answer to this question is important because female combatants are not a homogenous group. Their diversity results in variegated experiences before, during, and after the war. This paper follows the stories of the two female ex-combatants in the same rank before, during, and after the Maoist insurgency in Nepal to illustrate the complexity of the women’s war and post-war experiences. The intersectional framework inspired by Patricia Hill Collins’s ‘matrix of domination’ is suitable to capture the messiness of the war even when seen through the stories of the female ex-combatants within the same rank and file during the war. Using the ‘matrix of domination’ framework, I examine the experiences and stories of two female ex-combatants in the same rank and file but coming from a different class, caste, social status, education level, and geographical location. Together with a ‘decolonial thinking’ and ‘matrix of domination’, I use feminist approach with poststructural narrative methodology in my research.
Dr Keshab Giri completed his PhD thesis from the Department of Government and International Relations, The University of Sydney. He is postgraduate course coordinator Department of Government and International Relations, The University of Sydney and Lecturer at CIEE, Sydney.
Dr Joana Cook
Wednesday 9 September 2020
In this seminar, Dr. Joana Cook will discuss gender dynamics in ISIS in relation to the roles of women, particularly female returnees and ISIS-affiliated women who remain in Iraq and Syria. The second part of the seminar will discuss implications of a gender lens for counterterrorism efforts, drawing off her book, "A woman’s place: US counterterrorism since 9/11."
Dr Joana Cook is a Senior Project Manager at ICCT, and Editor-in-Chief of the ICCT journal. She is also an Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University. Her research more broadly focuses on women and gender in violent extremism, countering violent extremism, and counter-terrorism practices. More recent scholarly interests include non-state actor governance, and factors and pathways to radicalization.
Dr Charlotte Mertens (University of Melbourne)
Wednesday 26 August 2020
Sexual violence in the conflict of eastern Congo is predominantly understood and represented as a ‘native’ phenomenon – a direct consequence of the economic civil war – unrelated to imperial violence. In this paper I offer a historicized perspective on Congo’s enduring conflict in which sexual violence continues to ruin lives. Drawing on extensive archival research I advance a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and patterns of sexual violence in the Congo Free State (1885-1908). I argue sexual violence is not a direct result of the regime's demand for resources but is an integral aspect of a patriarchal and capitalist order constructed by the colonial state. This has important consequences for current understandings of sexual violence in the conflict of DRC (and elsewhere). Sexual violence is deeply entangled in the colonial and capitalist project of resource extraction, slavery and forced labour, yet it cannot be reduced to economics nor is the violence inevitably calculated or planned. Positing colonialism in a non-linear frame, I unpack the ways in which rape occurs over multiple trajectories beyond the urgent politics of the present, and conclude that empire as globalized process and its role in producing sexual ruination is key to understanding contemporary wartime rape.
The research presented in this paper was supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
Dr Charlotte Mertens is a researcher at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on sexual violence in conflict settings, particularly in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. She is interested in representations of violence, humanitarianism, the sexual politics of empire, colonial histories and racial epistemologies. Her research is attentive to histories of colonialism and how these endure in present eastern Congo, where she has been conducting fieldwork since 2012.
Professor Bruce Hoffman (Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service) and Jacob Ware (Council on Foreign Relations)
Friday 14 August 2020
In recent years, increasingly serious incidents of violence have been committed by young men predominantly in the United States and Canada who self-identify as incels (involuntary celibates). Although these attacks often specifically target women, the principal source of their animus, men as well as children have been among the casualties in the series of shootings and vehicular homicides that have occurred at universities, high schools, shopping malls, and on city streets. Although the incel worldview is not obviously political, its core ethos entails the subjugation and repression of a group and its violence is designed to have far-reaching societal effects. Accordingly, incel violence arguably conforms to an emergent trend in terrorism with a more salient hate crime dimension that necessitates greater scrutiny and analysis—especially as it spreads to Europe and shows similarities to and has nascent connections with other terrorist movements.
Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for over four decades. He is a professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and also the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Visiting Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the George H. Gilmore Senior Fellow at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. Hoffman previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and co-founded and was the first director of St Andrews University’s Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, where he is currently visiting Professor of Terrorism Studies. Hoffman was appointed a commissioner on the 9/11 Review Commission by the U.S. Congress and has been Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency; adviser on counterterrorism to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq; and, adviser on counterinsurgency to Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad, Iraq. He is a recipient of the United States Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, the highest level of commendation given to a non-government employee, and the author of the award-winning book, Anonymous Soldiers (2015). Hoffman’s most recent books include Inside Terrorism (3rd edition, 2017), cited as one of the 25 most notable books published by Columbia University Press on the occasion of its 125th anniversary; and, The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat (2014). He holds degrees in government, history, and international relations and received his doctorate from Oxford University.
Jacob Ware is the research associate for counterterrorism at the Council on Foreign Relations and a graduate of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.
Professor Johanna Niemi (University of Turku) and Dr Lourdes Peroni (Sheffield Hallam University)
Monday 20 July 2020
The signing of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in May 2011 was a significant development in the protection of women against violence. The Istanbul Convention confirms that States have an obligation to protect women and others against violence. A new book on the Convention, International Law and Violence Against Women Europe and the Istanbul Convention, edited by Johanna Niemi, Lourdes Peroni and Vladislava Stoyanova, highlights the place of the Convention in the landscape of international law and policies on violence against women and equality. The authors argue that the Convention with its emphasis on integrated and comprehensive policies has an important role in promoting equality, but they also note the debates on “genderism” that the Convention has triggered in some member states. The book analyses central concepts of the Convention, including violence, gender and due diligence. It takes up major commitments of the parties to the Convention, including support and services to victims, criminal law provisions and protection of migrant women against violence.
Johanna Niemi (University of Turku) joined the faculty in Turku 2014 as professor of procedural law. From the beginning of 2015, she has been appointed Minna Canth Academy Professor. Johanna Niemi holds LLM, Lis.L and JD all from the University of Helsinki. She trained on the bench in Rovaniemi district court in 1984. Her research interests include criminal procedure, violence against women and human rights. In 1998–2004 she led two research project analysing the discourses on gender violence in legal contexts. Her book Criminal Procedure and Violence in Intimate Relationship was published (in Finnish) in 2004.
Lourdes Peroni (Sheffield Hallam University) is a Lecturer in Human Rights at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. Before joining SHU, she held positions at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University (Postdoctoral Research Fellow), at Yale Law School (Fellow) and at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Fellow). Her areas of teaching and research include equality and non-discrimination; gender and migration; gender-based violence against women; women’s rights in cities; and feminist legal theory in the contexts of the United Nations, Council of Europe, and Organisation of American States.
Dr Aaron Y. Zelin (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Friday 3 July 2020
Tunisia became one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State—even though the country stands out as a democratic bright spot of the Arab uprisings and despite the fact that it had very little history of terrorist violence within its borders prior to 2011. Tunisian women have been involved in jihadist activity both in Tunisia and more militarized activity abroad since the 2011 revolution. The role and prominence of Tunisian female jihadists grew even more as they joined IS abroad. Drawing on findings from his new book, Your Sons Are at Your Service, Aaron Y. Zelin uncovers the longer history of Tunisian involvement in the jihadi movement and offers an in-depth examination of the reasons why so many Tunisians became drawn to jihadism following the 2011 revolution, including women. He highlights the longer-term causes that affected jihadi recruitment in Tunisia, including the prior history of Tunisians joining jihadi organizations and playing key roles in far-flung parts of the world over the past four decades. He contends that the jihadi group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia was able to take advantage of the universal prisoner amnesty, increased openness, and the lack of governmental policy toward it after the revolution. In turn, this provided space for greater recruitment and subsequent mobilization to fight abroad once the Tunisian government cracked down on the group in 2013.
Dr Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Visiting Research Scholar at Brandeis University, and an Associate Fellow of the Global Network on Extremism and Terrorism for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. He is author of the new book Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad (Columbia University Press). Zelin is also the founder of the widely acclaimed and cited website Jihadology.net and its podcast JihadPod. Zelin’s research focuses on Sunni Arab jihadi groups in North Africa and Syria as well as the trend of foreign fighting, online jihadism, and jihadi governance.
Dr Catherine O'Rourke (Ulster University)
Monday 15 June 2020
Laws and norms that focus on women’s lives in conflict have proliferated across the regimes of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and the United Nations Security Council. While separate institutions, with differing powers of monitoring and enforcement, implement these laws and norms, the activities of regimes overlap. Drawing on research from her new book, Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020), the seminar addresses challenges posed by legal fragmentation and the relatively weak legal status of many women’s rights norms in conflict. The seminar will focus on the potential for synergies between CEDAW and WPS to enhance the protection of women’s rights in conflict.
Dr Catherine O’Rourke is Director of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. She was commissioned by UN Women (with Aisling Swaine) to author the Guidebook on CEDAW general recommendation no. 30 and the UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security (2015), the leading guidance for UN member states and civil society on achieving synergies between CEDAW and the Security Council to advance women’s rights in conflict.
Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (La Trobe University)
Monday 4 May 2020
Jasmine-Kim Westendorf's discomforting book investigates sexual misconduct by military peacekeepers and abuses perpetrated by civilian peacekeepers and non-UN civilian interveners. Based on extensive field research in Bosnia, Timor-Leste, and with the UN and humanitarian communities, Violating Peace uncovers a brutal truth about peacebuilding as Westendorf investigates how such behaviors affect the capacity of the international community to achieve its goals related to stability and peacebuilding, and its legitimacy in the eyes of local and global populations.
As Violating Peace shows, when interveners perpetrate sexual exploitation and abuse, they undermine the operational capacity of the international community to effectively build peace after civil wars and to alleviate human suffering in crises. Furthermore, sexual misconduct by interveners poses a significant risk to the perceived legitimacy of the multilateral peacekeeping project, and the UN more generally, with ramifications for the nature and dynamics of UN in future peace operations.
Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University. Her research focuses on civil wars, negotiated peace processes, international approaches to peacebuilding, the politics of international law and international organisations, and the role of women in peace and war. She has conducted field research in East Timor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nepal, Cyprus, Palestine, and at UN Headquarters in New York and with the humanitarian sector in Geneva.
Listen to the recording (via Big Ideas, ABC Radio National)
Consortium of W/GPS Centres and Institutes Online Events
Register for future events and watch past event recordings below.
Tuesday 8 September 2020
As we look forward to the next decade of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, this event will examine the role, contributions and potential of academic institutions – in research, advocacy, education and cross-sector engagement – in addressing the gaps that exist, determining how best to prepare and serve the next generation and contribute to the full realisation of the WPS agenda.
Twenty years ago, in adopting Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, the UN Security Council recognised the critical role that women play in preventing conflicts and building peace, and committed to upholding women’s rights in the global peace and security arena. Ten resolutions and over 80 states now support the ‘Women, Peace and Security agenda’. There is ample research, evidence and practical guidance and experience in terms of how to improve international humanitarian and security processes to ensure the participation and protection of women. Yet, in practice there are persistent and systemic obstacles to implementation and achievement of positive change. The UN has failed to align country-specific activities to its WPS objectives and the commitment of national governments is undermined by engagement in warfare, supplying arms and an overall lack of investment and funding. Women peacebuilders undertake innovative activities, learn from each other and locally effect real change. Yet these lessons and experiences are rarely translated into international policy change and local implementation at a time when conflict and violent extremism are escalating and new threats such as climate-induced disasters and a global pandemic abound.
The problems are identified, the challenges well understood, and even the solutions are provided. But systemic change in standard practices is lacking. The lessons that should be learnt from successes, failures and good practice in a range of contexts are rarely taught or addressed effectively.
The inertia in global institutions is at direct odds with the growing interest from a new generation of students and practitioners, who understand the relevance and importance of the WPS agenda to breaking the stalemate that hounds formal peace processes, relief and development efforts.
This event is hosted by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security in partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security, Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre and the Women, Peace and Security Institute in Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Dr Fatima Akilu, Professor Mia Bloom, Dr Noor Huda Ismail, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini MBE, Dr Cathrine Thorleifsson and Dr Alexandra Phelan (Chair)
Wednesday 3 June 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented crisis internationally. Though focus is often placed on government responses, the pandemic has also allowed for violent extremist groups to both leverage and capitalise on the effects of COVID-19, impacting women and men differently. We have seen VE organisations respond to the virus by ramping up online propaganda messages, spreading conspiracies and engaging in misinformation campaigns. These organisations seek to foster perceptions of inefficiency and mistrust in government. In some countries, non-state armed groups have adopted state-like functions by providing social welfare services and enforcing local lockdowns vis-à-vis the state. This event will bring together international experts to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted on gender dynamics in violent groups around the world. It is part of a series co-hosted with: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security and the Women, Peace and Security Institute in the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Wednesday 27 May 2020
This seminar asks how and in what ways the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) from the perspectives of policy making, advocacy and practice. This seminar also asks how the COVID-19 responses have impacted women, girls, and LGBTQ+ persons affected by conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV).
Hosted by the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security in partnership with Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security; Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre; and the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Tuesday 12 May 2020
The impact of the Corona pandemic in countries already wracked by years of war and violent extremism is difficult to fathom. From crowded camps where the lives of refugees and internally displaced populations are at risk, to communities where basic water and sanitation systems, food supplies and already-fragile livelihoods are devastated, the long-term implications of the virus are profound. Recognising this, the UN Secretary General called for a global ceasefire in March to end the destruction, save lives and bring a degree of security that would enable better access for humanitarian and relief services, with 110 states currently signed up to the pledge to-date.
Hosted by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security in partnership with Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre; the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security; and the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Wednesday 29 April 2020
Perhaps more than previous epidemics, COVID-19 has demonstrated that whilst outbreaks can affect anyone, women are often differentially affected – within the home, within the economy and within policy space. This seminar considers the role of women in leadership and the impact of COVID-19 on women.
Co-hosted by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and the LSE Institute of Global Affairs and is part of a series of events from the gender, peace and security academic consortium including Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre; the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security; and the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Wednesday 8 April 2020
Join leading experts for a virtual discussion on the urgent need for a gender-responsive approach to mitigating COVID-19 and global strategies for effectively addressing the pandemic's impact.
Hosted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in partnership with the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security; Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre; the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security; and the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Australian Launch of the Gender and Security Toolkit
This event launched the Toolkit in Australia with three of the Tools being presented by authors Lisa Denney (Policing and Gender), Eleanor Gordon (Justice and Gender) and Henri Myrttinen (Security Sector Governance, Security Sector Reform and Gender). The event is co-hosted by DCAF, Monash GPS and the Law and Justice Development Community of Practice. The Toolkit is jointly published by DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, and UN Women and is available online here: https://dcaf.ch/gender-and-security-toolkit. DCAF acknowledges the support of Switzerland, Sweden and UK DfID in the production of this Toolkit.