President & CEO
Ariela Blätter has more than 20 years of experience in the peace and security field as an international lawyer, grantmaker, social entrepreneur and nonprofit leader.
Most recently, Ariela served as a senior grantmaker on mass atrocity prevention and response for the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. Here, she spearheaded new philanthropic investments in civilian protection, women peace & security, and launched a local action fund with conflict-affected community partners in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Myanmar.
Ariela co-founded the consulting firm Strategy for Humanity, stewarding its growth to an 8-person staff serving over 30 public and private sector clients. Ariela’s work included creating the inaugural research agenda for the Georgetown’s Institute for Women Peace & Security and strategically re-launching the George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute.
Ariela has held senior management roles at Amnesty International USA, Citizens for Global Solutions and Refugees International. She has twice served as an NGO Permanent Representative to the United Nations, working on the negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty and the International Criminal Court’s Rome Treaty.
While at Amnesty, Ariela founded its award-winning global center for preventing and responding to human rights violations in armed conflict. Brokering a groundbreaking public-private partnership, she secured Amnesty’s place as the first human rights organization to use commercial satellite technologies for preventative conflict and displacement monitoring. In recognition of this work, she was appointed by former Secretaries Madeleine Albright and William S. Cohen to serve on the U.S. Genocide Prevention Task Force, resulting in the establishment of the U.S. Government’s Atrocities Prevention Board.
Ariela has served as adjunct faculty at the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC and has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
She holds a law degree from Trinity College (Dublin) and a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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.
Dr. Ellen Haring is a senior fellow at Women in International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative. Haring’s research and work focus on women and gender in the military. She is a West Point graduate and a retired U.S. Army colonel. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and she has taught at the US Army Command and General Staff College, the US Army War College, and Georgetown University. Haring has published numerous articles and papers on a wide array of military and security related topics. She has been a guest speaker on foreign and domestic news shows. She guest lectures and has testified before Congress.
Haring’s publications include:
“Make Women Register for the Draft” US News and World Report (June 22, 2016)
“Integration of Women Depends on Male Leaders” Army Times (May 2, 2016)
“Our Military Shouldn’t Turn Its Back on Servicewomen Who Need an Abortion” Huffington Post (April 30, 2016)
“Give Women All of the Rights of Citizenship, Including Selective Service” Task and Purpose (February 26, 2016)
“That Valor Isn’t Yours to Defend” Task and Purpose (March 18, 2015)
“Is the Marine Corps Setting Women Up to Fail in Combat Roles?” Cicero Magazine (February 18, 2015)
“Civilian leaders need to lead on women in combat,” The Hill Congress Blog, (February 5, 2015)
“A Snapshot: Two Years in to Combat Integration,” Women in International Security, (January 30, 2015)
“Dear Berkeley women: It’s time to lead the next revolution,” The Daily Californian, (August 26, 2014)
“The Sea of Sameness in PME” Joint Forces Quarterly (July 2014)
“Deck Stacked Against Women in Experimental Task Force” Marine Corps Times (July 6, 2014)
“Can Women Be Infantry Marines” War on the Rocks (May 29, 2014)
“Do Military Women Want Combat Jobs” Foreign Policy (April 24, 2014)
“Combat Integration: Good but not good enough” The Army Times (January 2014)
“Rangers are NOT Leading the Way” Foreign Policy (January 2014)
“A Col’s View of Commander’s Authority” Foreign Policy (September 2013)
“Women and the Audie Murphy Model,” Armed Forces Journal (August 2013)
“What Women Bring to the Fight,” Parameters, US Army War College (Summer 2013)
“To Stop Sexual Assault in the Military Add More Women,” Christian Science Monitor (June 24, 2013)
“The Army’s Disservice to Women,” The Washington Post (June 21, 2013)
“Insights from the Women in Combat Symposium,” Joint Forces Quarterly (June 2013)
Dr. Irene Fellin
International Expert in Gender, Peace and Security Policies Irene Fellin has worked for several international organizations for women's rights and gender issues. Dr. Fellin lived in Ankara, where she collaborated with the local offices of UNICEF and UNPD. Her job in Turkey was to train and assist local staff on gender issues by analyzing issues such as domestic violence, honor killings and early marriages. She worked from 2013 to 2014 as Policy Advisor to the "NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security", with the task of training the organization's staff on WPS-related issues, and assisting NATO in the implementation of the Plan National for United Nations Resolution 1325. Since 2014, Dr. Fellin has been working as a Trainer at CoESPU - Center of Excellence for Police Stability, on gender issues, peace and security and sexual violence in armed conflicts and since 2015 she has been a research consultant on gender issues for the Institute of International Affairs (IAI).
Dr. Jana Wattenberg is a Lecturer in International Politics and Security at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. She is also the Deputy Director of the David Davies Memorial Institute for International Studies and a fellow with Women in International Security. Dr. Wattenberg was awarded a PhD from Aberystwyth University. Her PhD thesis Ideas that Stand in the Way of Nuclear Disarmament shows how entrenched ideas about nuclear weapons and disarmament have made global nuclear abolition more difficult. Dr. Wattenberg received a BA in Sociological European Studies from University of Bremen and a MA in International Studies/Peace and Conflict Studies from Goethe University Frankfurt. She is an active member of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium network and the UK Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) network. Her current research projects focus on the roles of women in the nuclear weapons field, gendered dimensions of nuclear discourses, nuclear stigmatization processes and the role of ideas in global nuclear politics.
Ana Laura Velasco Ugalde
Ana Laura Velasco Ugalde (Mexico) is a feminist security analyst and journalist currently studying for a Masters in Gender, Violence and Conflict at the University of Sussex. She also has worked as a researcher for a Mexican NGO focused on security, justice and the rule of law and has previously worked for the Mexican Secretariat of Economy with a posting in Germany. She holds a MA in International Law by the Universidad de Granada and did her undergraduate studies at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.
Diorella Islas Limiñana
Dr Diorella Islas is an independent security and intelligence analyst and an adjunct faculty member in the Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) program at the Marshall Center since 2018. She was instructor of mafia and organised crime culture at the Bader International Study Center of Queens University and member of the Steering Committee of the Standing Group on Organised Crime of the European Consortium for Political Research. She holds a PhD in Politics Languages and International Studies from the University of Bath.
For ten years, her area of expertise has been focused on understanding the expansive process of transnational organize crime and to the design and implementation of related national security policies. She did her Masters Degree in International Studies and her undergraduate degree in International Relations at the Tec de Monterrey, Mexico City.
Some of her recent publications include
The chapter “Guatemala: Organised Crime, fraud and politics” in the Handbook on Organised Crime and Politics. (2019) and the article “Coca leaf boom in Colombia: How it concerns us all” Per Concordiam v.9n.4. (2019)
Public Affairs and Program Manager
Roksana Verahrami graduated with a B.A. in Economics and International Affairs, with a concentration in international development from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in May 2020. 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 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.
Gender and Global Security Program Assistant
Diana Whittemore is the Gender and Global Security Program Assistant at Women in International Security (WIIS). She recently graduated with an M.A. in International Affairs from The New School in New York City, where her studies focused on gendered finance and gendered impacts of conflict. Diana is most proud of her fieldwork in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she interviewed low income women about their savings practices and authored a report about expanding women’s access to banking services.
In the second half of her graduate studies, Diana pivoted to global small arms policy, exploring efforts of NGOs and INGOs to address toxic masculinity as a driver of gun violence. The most rewarding part of this research was her collaboration with the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) to create and distribute a survey to their members. This project allowed Diana to interview representatives of organizations around the world and learn about their work to stop gender-based gun violence.
Prior to graduate school, Diana spent several years as an immigration paralegal in New York, supporting employees in the process of applying for permanent residency. Her interest in working with immigrant communities and finance inspired her to intern with the Economic Empowerment Team at the International Rescue Committee, where she has assisted refugees in creating budgets, applying for credit cards, and learning about financial concepts.
Gender & Global Security Program Assistant
Ava Kalinauskas is a Gender & Global Security Program Assistant at Women in International Security (WIIS) and is currently based in the United Kingdom. A student in the Sciences Po Paris and University of Sydney Dual Degree program, the dual Australian/UK citizen is earning two Bachelor of Arts Degrees in four years through accelerated coursework.
Ava recently graduated Cum Laude from Sciences Po Paris, studying an intensive social sciences curriculum focused on transatlantic relations between North America and Europe. In addition to majoring in Political Humanities and minoring in International Law, at Sciences Po, she was also the Opinion Editor for The Sundial Press, the student newspaper, Publications Executive for the Feminist Society, and a food bank volunteer. Prior to this, her writing also featured in media such as the ABC—Australia’s national broadcaster—who published Ava’s unique generational perspective on Australia’s 2019 Federal Election.
Ava has just commenced the second half of the Dual Degree program at the University of Sydney, as a Dalyell Scholar, participating in a range of tailored enrichment opportunities and majoring in both Political Economy and History. She is interested in exploring how gendered study of genocide and mass atrocities can create new avenues of prevention, as well as how histories of empire and migration intersect with class, race, and gender to shape modern ideas of citizenship and statehood. Passionate about journalism and advocacy, Ava is seeking to pursue people-centered and sustainable policy solutions to global issues.