Essay Contest Jury
WIIS and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC would like to thank the members of the jury: Fauziya Abdi Ali; Joanna Barelkowska; Chantel Cole; Jessie Evans; Chantal de Jonge Oudraat; Karma Ekmekji; Jessica Grün; Layla Hashemi; Karin L. Johnston; Miriam Laux; Maxinne Rhea Leighton; Kayla McGill; Hannah Neumann; Chiedo Nwankor; Hannah Proctor; Liane Schalatek; Donald Steinberg; Dominik Tolksdorf; Anna Von Gall; Roksana Verahrami; Karin Warner; Ursula Knudsen Latta. Special thanks to Kayla McGill and the members of the WIIS team for organizing the competition and to the Mobilizing Men as Partners for WPS (Our Secure Future) for contributing to the Honorable Mention awards.
President, WIIS Kenya and Chair, Sisters without Borders
Ms. Fauziya Abdi Abdi is the founder and President of WIIS Kenya and chair of Sisters without Borders a network of Kenyan organizations devoted to the prevention of violent extremism. Fauziya is a devoted advocate for women engagement in peace and security. Her passion for socioeconomic and political empowerment of women has given her a deep understanding on the effects of violent extremism on women, their children and families, and consequently informed her interventions in prevention of violent extremism. She has achieved significant successes in development projects encompassing peace building, women and youth programming and conflict resolution. Fauziya developed and implemented one of the first projects on countering violent extremism (CVE) in East Africa a decade ago. Since then, she has become a regional expert on violent extremism, advising Governments and non-governmental organizations. Her work in Preventing violent extremism has enabled her be termed as amongst “leading woman” in Preventing Violent Extremism by News Deeply, a Women and Girls independent news and information platform covering issues of females in the developing world.
Prior to working diligently on PVE, Fauziya worked with several organisations on areas relevant to PVE such as governance, peace building, and conflict transformation such as Governments, intergovernmental, regional bodies and United Nation agencies in countries within Eastern and Horn of Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Somalia. She is now supporting Tanzania and Uganda to finalise their National strategies and Action Plans on Preventing Extremism, after supporting the Kenya National Strategy on Countering Violent Extremism in 2016. Fauziya was accorded an excellence award for effective leadership while serving as Senior Project Development Officer for the USAID /Kenya Transition Initiative (KTI) Programme. In this role, Fauziya successfully advocated and supported development of an accountability and advocacy charter on countering violent extremism, which was endorsed by 40 state and non-state actors, the first of its kind in Africa.
Fauziya is a frequent speaker and has written many articles on counter terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism. She has also spoken at various key events including, UNDP Norway annual PVE forum, Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) amongst others. She focuses on peace building, conflict transformation and good governance in conflict settings. She holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics.
Project Officer International Politics Division, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin
Joanna Barelkowska, who holds a master’s degree in German philology, has worked for over 20 years in international civic education and for 10 years in gender responsive peacebuilding. From 2006 to 2009 she was co-project manager of the project “Mobile Peace-Academy OMNIBUS Line 1325” in the North and South Caucasus for the German women’s organization OWEN e.V. This was a capacity building project focusing on the gender dimensions of civilian peacebuilding and targeted women and men from all regions of the North and South Caucasus. In March 2010 she organized and conceptualized the international conference “Gender counts: 10 years of UN Resolution 1325.” Since October 2010 Joanna has worked as a project manager with the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s International Division in Berlin, where she has been responsible e.g. for internal capacity building, knowledge management, and networking in connection with the division’s gender-sensitive work. From 2012 to 2019 she co-facilitated several gender workshops at the hbs foreign offices (e.g. in Kiev, Warsaw, Prague, and Tbilisi) and international workshops in Berlin. In 2013 she was the co-publisher on behalf of the hbs of Good news! How women and men stop violence and save the planet, a book that contains lots of good examples of how one can pursue gender responsive peacebuilding and sustainable development. 2014-2019 Joanna was member of the German Women’s Security Council on a voluntary basis. The council has lobbied for the adoption of the National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 in Germany. As a member of the Women’s Security Council, Joanna provided comments on the draft of the second NAP and the implementation report of the first NAP. She took part in the consultation meetings between representatives of German civil society and government on implementation of the NAP 1325.
Executive Director, WIIS Canada
Chantel Cole previously served as the founding executive director of WIIS-Toronto since 2017. She completed a Masters of Arts in Political Studies at Queen’s University and was awarded the G. G. Baron van der Feltz prize for her thesis which focuses on the experiences of women who have had sexual relations with United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Haiti. She graduated with High Distinction from the University of Toronto where she received a Bachelors of Arts specialist honours degree in International Development and Political Science. Chantel has extensive experience working in the non-profit and community development sector, most notably as a Program Assistant for an Indigenous community development organization in Guatemala called Maya-Mam Association for Research and Development (AMMID). During her time with AMMID, Chantel assisted in the development of programming that centered on women and political participation. While in Guatemala, Chantel conducted extensive research and engaged with community members, academics, health professionals, and NGO personnel, producing an undergraduate thesis that examined women’s access to reproductive health services. Chantel was awarded the 2017 Best Thesis Award by the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough for her work. In addition to Guatemala, Chantel also has field experience in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and in her hometown of Toronto where she worked as the International Youth Coordinator for OneChild, an organization dedicated to combatting the commercial sexual exploitation of children globally.
Chantel will begin her doctoral studies with the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto in September 2020. Her research interests lie at the intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and development studies. In particular, she is interested in understanding the causes and dynamics of organized criminal violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. She hopes to coalesce her research training and expertise in politics, development, gender, violence, and conflict to work in academia, a research institute, government or in an international organization to develop tangible solutions towards the goal of combating organized violence in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Africa Program Lead, Institute for Security Governance
Jessie Evans is the Africa Program Lead for the Institute of Security Governance at the U.S. Department of Defense. She works closely with foreign security sector partners across Africa on institutional capacity building. Prior, Jessie served as a security sector reform advisor to the United States Mission to Somalia in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Nairobi, Kenya. Her team managed over $115 million dollars in US- security assistance to Somali forces and other African partners serving in Somalia. She pushed for tougher conditionality and as a result, the US Ambassador paused and realigned millions of dollars of assistance to address issues of waste, corruption, and poor alignment to policy goals.
Previously, she served six years as a Conflict Specialist in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations supporting US embassies in Burma, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Before the State Department, Jessie worked at the Harvard School of Public Health on international health and human rights. Jessie received her master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. While at Fletcher, Jessie was a Rosenthal Fellow in the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Office of African Affairs. She received her BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College and originally hails from Bend, OR.
Anna Von Gall
Legal Advisor, the Heinrich Boell Foundation Gunda Werner Institute
Anna v. Gall is a lawyer and has expertise on Women, Peace & Security (UNSRC 1325) She is a lawyer by trainee and worked before at ZIF, the German Association of Counselling Services on Child Abuse, at the German Association of Women’s Shelters and for five years at the ECCHR, where she coordinated the work on gender and human rights. She has litigated cases of sexual and gender-based violence and worked on situations of sexual and gender-based violence in Colombia, Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She gives workshops on WPS, the rule of law and gender, and published on WPS, and the use of law regarding sexual and gender-based violence. She is also a member of the German Women's Security Council.
President, WIIS Austria
Jessica Grün is Austrian-Canadian and currently enrolled in the “Master of Advanced International Studies” at the Diplomatic Academy. During her undergraduate, she developed a strong interest in security studies and women’s roles in conflict resolution and settlement. Since then she has dedicated much time to the advancement of research on this topic and was keen to take on the role of president to help advance gender equality in international security and build an active network in Vienna.
Layla M. Hashemi is a PhD Candidate at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and a graduate research assistant at the George Mason University’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC). Ms. Hashemi received her M.A. from New York University in International Relations with a concentration in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Ms. Hashemi has worked for various governmental and non-governmental organizations including Forum 2000 (Prague, Czech Republic) and The Journal of Civil Society. She is currently an adjunct professor of Political Science at Montgomery College where she teaches a variety of courses including Comparative Politics, International Conflict Resolution and a course she helped develop on Global Human Rights. Her current research focuses on illicit trade, human trafficking and corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Senior Fellow,WIIS & Adjunct Professor, the School of International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C
Dr. Karin L. Johnston is a Senior Fellow at WIIS and an Adjunct Professor at the School of International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research interests include foreign and security policy analysis, U.S.-European relations, migration policy, conflict analysis, and security sector stabilization. From 2017-2019, Dr. Johnston served as a Franklin Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), focusing on conflict in fragile states, security sector development, and stabilization strategies. She has worked in policy research institutes in Washington, D.C and has written on German policy decision-making on out-of-area operations, German public opinion during the Bosnian crisis and the Iraq war, and security sector reforms and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) planning. Her current research includes projects on the securitization of Europe’s migration policy, democratic governance and use of military force, and cooperation between military and civilian components in multilateral peace and stability operations. Fluent in German, Dr. Johnston was a Mercator Fellow at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2014 and a former fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program.
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat
President, Women in International Security
Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat has been President of Women in International Security (WIIS) since February 2013.
She was the founding and executive director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) North America (2012-2014). Previous positions include: senior advisor to the U.S. Institute of Peace Center for Gender and Peacebuilding; associate vice president and director of the U.S. Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program; adjunct associate professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; and senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. She has also held senior positions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC; and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva.
Her areas of specialization are: women, peace and security, gender, international organizations, arms control and disarmament, terrorism and countering violent extremism, peacekeeping, use of force, economic sanctions, U.S.-European relations.
Dr. de Jonge Oudraat is co-editor of The Gender and Security Agenda: Promoting Equality and Peace in the 21st Century (forthcoming 2019); Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century (USIP Press, 2011); and Managing Global Issues: Lessons Learned (Carnegie Endowment, 2001).
Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Ursala is the Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding. Ursala lobbies Congress to change U.S. foreign policy from an overly militarized and security-driven approach to one that prevents, mitigates, and transforms violent conflict and builds sustainable peace.
Ursala received her B.A. in religions and theology from the University of Manchester (U.K.), where her research focused on religion and conflict in south Asia. She worked with the Anchorage Interfaith Council, and the North American Interfaith Network before graduating with a M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.
Prior to joining FCNL, Ursala was the policy and advocacy coordinator for Saferworld’s Washington, D.C. office, where she advocated for U.S. foreign policy driven by the needs and interests of conflict-affected communities. She has facilitated advocacy strategy development workshops in Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Somalia with Saferworld’s country teams and partners. Ursala chaired the U.S. Civil Society Working Group for Women, Peace and Security for two terms and has previously worked at the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) and Women in International Security.
Ursala is also a volunteer and troop leader with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.
Transatlantic Dialogue Intern, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Washington DC
Miriam is a graduate student at the University of Gothenburg where she is pursuing her degree in European Studies. Prior to moving to Gothenburg, Miriam studied political science and communication studies at the Technical University of Dresden where she also worked as a scientific assistant at a research network focusing on migration and democracy in the EU. Her research interests include international migration, particularly migration policies in the EU, foreign affairs, populism and the radical right.
Assoc. AIA, Vice-President
Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Assoc. AIA has held leadership roles in design firms for the past twenty years. She is pioneering research on the impact of climate change on design and planning professionals in completion of her PhD. A senior-level strategist in business development, marketing and communications for Jaros, Baum & Bolles, she has facilitated panels on building infrastructure and climate change at the United Nations and the NYC AIA.
Ms. Leighton’s passionate commitment to advancing peace and security in the built environment was intensified post-9/11. As a member of the initial ground zero planning team, Leighton served as a liaison between the design/planning professionals and the victims’ families. Post-Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy she was part of a number of recovery efforts. It was there that the nexus between communities segregated by class and culture in the post-disaster recovery and the role of security was further underscored.
An Honorary Council Member for the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization Global, she is a member of the New York AIA’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction, Advisory Council Member for Save Ellis Island and an advisory board member for A Movement in Water™, an interactive multimedia public art installation on the reverence and reciprocity of water.
Leighton is co-author of Educating for Social Justice, A Dangerous Game: Matilda Joslyn Gage Center (Journal of Museum Studies), a suffrage’s fight for social justice and co-editor for The Future of Cities: An Integrated Approach to Urban Challenges (2016), based on the February 2015 conference at UN Headquarters in New York City; co-author of Grand Central: Gateway to a Million Lives (recipient of Chartered Builders of the United Kingdom Silver Literary Awards) and author of An Ellis Island Christmas, a book for children about immigration.
Leighton earned a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Binghamton and a Master of Arts in Urban Studies at New York University. In 2018 she was recognized with WBC’s “Outstanding Women in the Building Industry” award as well as being honored as one of New York’s Power Women.
Program Manager, WIIS Global
Kayla graduated with her Masters of International Affairs from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M in 2018 where she focused on Women, Peace & Security, Diplomacy, and Intelligence. She received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Civic Engagement from Brigham Young University. Kayla is a trained Analytical Researcher focusing on gender and national security, culture and narrative studies, Eastern European tribalism, and U.S.-China relations. She has presented her research to The U.S. State Department and The U.S. Institute of Peace and at numerous conferences. Kayla previously worked for the WomanStats Project contributing to publications, working with qualitative and quantitative data, and representing the Project at events such as Beijing+20/CSW59 at the United Nations. Kayla strongly believes in the importance of public service and cultural understanding. She speaks French, has lived in China, Germany, the UK, and France, and has traveled abroad extensively.
Research Fellow, WIIS Global
Hannah Proctor is a Gender and Global Security program assistant. Hannah is a recent graduate from the inaugural MSc in Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics. Her dissertation focused on the role of girls' right to education in conflict prevention. Previously, she studied Women's Studies and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. Hannah's research interests include militarized masculinity's connection to sexual violence; the Women, Peace and Security Agenda; and bringing feminist perspectives to sustainable peace. She has experience planning the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, working with a Croatian soccer club developing the Girl's Empowerment Program, and working with low income families in Los Angeles.
Member of the European Parliament (The Greens/EFA)
Hannah Neumann is the Peace and Human Rights Coordinator for the Greens / EFA Group, Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee (DROI), Member the committees of the Foreign Affairs (AFET), Security and Defense Policy (SEDE) and Chair of the Delegation for Relations to the Arabian Peninsula (DARP).
Hannah Neumann studied and received her PhD in media sciences and peace and conflict research in Ilmenau, Berlin, Manila and Monrovia. Before joining the European Parliament, she was a self-employed consultant and consultant for peace projects, ia. in projects for the United Nations, the Society for International Cooperation, the European Commission, the DGAP, GPPi and aid organizations. She advised ministries and non-governmental organizations on campaigns on anti-discrimination, democracy promotion, local climate change and human rights. From 2013 until 2016, she worked as policy advisor in the German Bundestag.
Lecturer and Director, SAIS Women Lead
Dr. Nwankwor oversees SAIS Women Lead (SWL) and serves as a Visiting Research Associate and Lecturer. Her primary areas of specialization are Comparative Politics with a focus on African politics, and Women and Gender Studies. Within women and gender studies, her research and teaching interests include women’s political participation with an emphasis on ministerial level politics in Africa, women’s health and health policy, feminist international relations, and the political economy of gender in Africa. As director of SAIS Women Lead, Dr. Nwankwor develops and teaches SWL’s practicum courses; facilitates collaboration with SAIS Women’s Alumni Network (SWAN), SWL’s Women Who Inspire Lecture Series, and Global Women in Leadership to co-sponsor programming; strengthens alumni mentoring activities affiliated with SWL; and advises students.
Associate Director, the Heinrich Böll Foundation Washington, DC
Liane Schalatek is the Associate Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America. In this capacity, she supports the Director in his representational duties and overall program management. Liane brings 10 years of experience in global governance, specifically international trade and finance, as well as the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment in the international program work to our team. A particular interest of her work has been awareness and capacity building work on the need to engender macroeconomic policy. Currently, her work focuses on international climate finance, with an emphasis on public climate finance flows and on equitable access to climate funding. A special consideration of her current work is addressing the gender dimensions of climate change (adaptation and mitigation), including with respect to climate finance.
Before joining HBF in 1999, Liane served as Program Officer for Transatlantic Economic Relations at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Washington. She is a formally trained newspaper editor and also worked as a free-lance journalist for several years. She researches and publishes on international development, climate and gender issues.
Liane holds a M.A. in Political Science and Political Economy from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and a M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Fellow, Our Secure Future
Donald Steinberg recently stepped down as president and CEO of World Learning, an international nonprofit organization that provides education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries. For more than 80 years, World Learning programs have helped empower new generations of global leaders to create a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous world. Steinberg currently serves as a senior fellow at the NGO umbrella organization, InterAction, supporting the CEO’s of its members in expanding the diversity and inclusion of their institutions. He is also a senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and serves on the boards and advisory councils for a number of non-profit organizations, including the Women’s Refugee Commission, Trickle Up, and USA for UN Women (SF).
Steinberg has more than 40 years of experience in government and nongovernmental organizations, and expertise in the fields of international relations and development; Women, Peace and Security; and atrocity prevention. Prior to World Learning, Steinberg served as deputy administrator at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he focused on the Middle East and Africa; organizational reforms under the USAID Forward agenda; the inclusion of women, people with disabilities, LGBT persons, and other marginalized groups into the development arena; and expanded dialogue with development partners.
In his previous work with the United States government, Steinberg served as director of the US Department of State’s Joint Policy Council, White House deputy press secretary, National Security Council senior director for African Affairs, special Haiti coordinator, US Ambassador to Angola, and the president’s special representative for Humanitarian Demining. He was also deputy president for policy at the International Crisis Group, a Randolph Jennings senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, and has advised the Women's Refugee Commission, the UN Development Fund for Women, the UN Civil Society Advisory Group for Women, Peace and Security, and the Institute for Inclusive Security.
Program Director for Foreign and Security Policy, the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America
Dominik Tolksdorf is Program Director for Foreign and Security Policy at the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America, focusing on transatlantic cooperation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Prior to joining the foundation, Dominik worked for think tanks in Munich, Brussels, Paris, and Washington, focusing in his research on Eastern Europe, EU foreign policy, and international conflict resolution efforts (see publications here). He also worked as adjunct professor at Vesalius College Brussels and as consultant. Dominik holds a PhD in Political Science from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and a MSc in European Politics, Economics and Law from the University of Turku (Finland). In 2012, he published a book on the European Union’s support for reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Nomos).
Program Assistant, WIIS Global
Roksana Verahrami is currently a B.A. candidate in Economic and International Affairs, with a concentration on international development at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She has previously worked with the Save Darfur movement, studying genocide and the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. She also worked on some the issues surrounding the ensuing refugee crisis from Sudan into neighbouring countries and abroad and helped organize an annual symposium designed to bring awareness to the situation in Darfur and its impact on women. Her interests also include studying the gendered dimensions of climate change, especially the intersectionality of race and class on these gendered dimensions, analysing the subversion or exploitation of traditional gender roles during times of violence, rebellion and war, and looking at the how religious norms shape gender roles cross-culturally. She has also spent a semester studying at Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland studying international politics, economics and religion.
Captain, Nurse Corps, USN (Ret.) & Professor School of Nursing, Department of Nurse Anesthesia Graduate School of Public and International Affairs University of Pittsburgh
A member of WIIS since her graduate studies at the University of Maryland in the late 1990’s - Dr. Karin Warner is a full professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, with a secondary appointment at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).
Dr. Warner served over 30 years in the United States Navy in numerous clinical and leadership positions in stations in the United States, Sardinia, Italy, and the Asian Western Pacific.
Her broad clinical experience includes work in cardiac step-down, neonatal intensive care and pediatric outpatient settings, emergency room, education and training. Leadership roles included Senior Nurse and Director of Wellness Programs, Primary Care and Head of Quality Management, Regional Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Black Belt for the Western Pacific Medical Alliance (U.S. Naval Hospitals Guam, Okinawa, and Yokosuka), Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Navy Medicine Enterprise, and Chief Operating Officer for a health clinic which operated 4 separate clinics in two states. She has extensive experience in emergency management and disaster preparedness. Dr. Warner served on Capitol Hill as a legislative fellow working on national and veteran’s health policy and is the past Navy Director of the Federal Nurses Association 2007-2011.
Dr. Warner earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from Duke University (2014), a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College; with a concentration in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (2015), a Master a Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College (2012), dual Master of Science Degrees in Medical-Surgical Nursing and Nursing Health Policy from the University of Maryland (1996) as well as her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Maryland (1990).
A Senior Member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), she is also a certified LSS Black Belt, LSS Green Belt instructor, and expert facilitator. She is a Board Member of the non-profit Pan Africa Children’s Advocacy Watch (PACAW, Inc.), and her active research is focused on how security affects population health in the Niger Delta.
Dr. Warner, along with Julia Santucci and Sandra Monteverde (co-PI’s) received a $50,000 SEED Grant from the University of Pittsburgh to support the establishment of the University of Pittsburgh Chapter of WIIS Global.