Too many photographs of European or NATO summits are made up of rows of grey suits. Too often women remain on the sidelines of key discussions, negotiations and decision-making in foreign policy.

WIIS Brussels started almost two decades ago as a loose group of volunteers aiming to change the status quo. In 2013, under the leadership of Cristina Gallach, the then Director for Media and Communications and the Council of the European and now Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information at United Nations, we began the journey from an informal “band of sisters” to an organised and registered not-for-profit association of male and female professionals dedicated to making waves in the Brussels,

European and global foreign affairs and security sector. Under the leadership of our President, Dr. Corinna Hörst, WIIS Brussels has become a key actor of the Brussels security and gender discussion. We offer our network of some hundred members and close to a thousand contacts regular activities, ranging from professional development and training workshops to networking opportunities and gender-balanced policy debates.

Diversity is as much about making sure half of the world’s population is involved in decision-making as it is about leveraging the diversity of ideas that is necessary to develop the innovative and sustainable solutions to global security challenges. We believe in paying more than just lip-service to diversity and gender-balance: we offer our members the tools to enhance their skills and develop their career, and partner with forward-looking organisations such as The Brussels Binder to offer concrete solutions to the “all-male” syndrome plaguing the Brussels policy debate. We regularly welcome leading female speakers and writers to contribute new proposals to current debates


Women In International Security (WIIS – pronounced ‘wise’) Brussels is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation, registered under Belgian law.

It belongs to the global family of WIIS chapters which are dedicated to advancing the leadership and professional development of women in the field of international peace, security and defence. There are currently 47 independent chapters around the world whose members include policymakers, military personnel, diplomats, legislative aides, scholars, students, journalists and business representatives at all stages of their careers.

WIIS Brussels promotes leadership training, mentoring, and networking programmes as well as intellectual diversity through discussions on current policy challenges. It benefits from the presence of the EU institutions and NATO as well as a very high concentration of diplomatic representations, international organisations and other influential stakeholders, putting it at the centre of key policy discussions on international relations, security and defence.

WIIS Brussels is led by an energetic team of volunteers who constitute its Steering Committee. A high-level Advisory Committee provides strategic guidance.

Cristina Gallach

Honorary President

Cristina Gallach was nominated the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information in December 2014. She previously served as Head of the Public Relations Unit in the Council of the European Union after being Spokesperson to Javier Solana, then European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and NATO Deputy Spokesperson. Cristina was instrumental in bringing new energy to WIIS Brussels and moving it from a loose association to a dedicated group of volunteers. Read more… 

Corinna Hörst


Dr. Corinna Hörst is deputy director at the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. (GMF) supporting the executive director in all aspects of strategic planning, operations, personnel, management and communication. She also manages the day-to-day operations of the Transatlantic Foundation, a project in support of GMF’s transatlantic activities with European partners. She monitors and frequently comments on transatlantic relations and EU affairs and is engaged in various women leadership development activities. Read more…

Pauline Massart

Vice-President, Operations and Outreach

Pauline Massart has been an active member of WIIS Brussels since 2010, and coordinates the group’s outreach, membership, fundraising and network. She is Deputy Head of the EU Office of CEIS, a French strategic advisory company. She was previously Head of Media & Communication at the European Defence Agency, after heading the Peace, Security & Defence Programme of the Brussels-based think-tank Friends of Europe (previously the Security & Defence Agenda) for eight years. She began her career in the defence industry after studying at King’s College London. Read more…

Claire Craanen-Francis

Secretary General

Claire Craanen-Francis is a Strategic Analyst at the NATO Headquarters in the Strategic Analysis Capability (SAC) team within the Emerging Security Challenges Division (since 2010). She writes policy papers on security developments in areas of relevance to the North Atlantic Alliance, notably in the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, South Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, and on security developments in the maritime domain. She also provides policy recommendations on possible courses of action to the senior leadership at the NATO Headquarters. Read more…


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