Collaborative Approaches to Global Security will feature inspiring stories from women waging peace all over the world as well as insights from high-level U.S. officials and foreign policy leaders.  

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Maria Abbas
Strategic Adviser, Taskforce on the Engagement of Women in Sudan and South Sudan

Maria Abbas is the Strategic Adviser to the Taskforce on the Engagement of Women. Independently, she is a researcher and trainer on gender and governance issues, as well as an advocate for a rights-based constitution.


Paige Alexander
Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

As Assistant Administrator, Paige Alexander leads USAID’s Bureau for the Middle East, including the efforts of USAID missions and development programs in ten countries from North Africa through the Middle East. She has more than 20 years of experience in international development.


General John Allen (USMC, Ret.)
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

General John Allen (USMC, Ret.) was appointed as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL by President Obama in September 2014. He is a retired U.S. Marine four star General and the former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. 


Paleki Matthew Obur Ayang
Executive Director, South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network

Paleki Matthew Obur Ayang is a lawyer and passionate activist. She is the Executive Director of South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network (SSWEN), a national indigenous network promoting gender equality and women’s rights, and empowering South Sudanese women to build peaceful societies in their country.


Kevin Baron (moderator)
Executive Editor, Defense One

For more than 15 years, Kevin Baron has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress, and politics for Foreign Policy, National Journal, Stars and Stripes, the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau, and the Center for Public Integrity. Baron is former vice president of the Pentagon Press Association.


Ruth Caesar
National Focal Point, Mano River Women’s Peace Network, Liberia

A development economist, Ruth Caesar has focused on issues related to gender, social transformation, and conflict resolution for more than 30 years. Between 2006 and 2009, she oversaw the implementation and monitoring of programs serving 101,000 ex-combatants in Liberia.


Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury
Member, UN High-Level Advisory Group for the Global Study on UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development. As a career diplomat, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of UNICEF Board, UN Under-Secretary-General, and the Senior Special Advisor to the UN General Assembly President, he has a wealth of experience in the critical issues of our time.



Oscar Fernandez-Taranco
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support

With more than 30 years of experience in the UN system, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco has managed development, political, peacebuilding, human rights, and humanitarian operations both at headquarters and in the field. Hailing from Argentina, he was appointed as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support in September 2014.


Wazhma Frogh
Founder and Director, Research Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, Afghanistan

Wazhma Frogh has dedicated herself to advancing the inclusion of women in Afghan society for more than 17 years. She and her co-founder conceptualized the Research Institute of Women, Peace, and Security following their participation in Afghanistan’s Peace Loya Jirga in 2010, where they recognized that the voices and perspectives of women were largely missing.


Swanee Hunt
Founder and Chair, The Institute for Inclusive Security

Ambassador Swanee Hunt founded and chairs the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security, whose bold goal is to transform decision making about war and peace. Through government consultation, research, leadership development, and advocacy, Inclusive Security increases the participation of all stakeholders—particularly women—in preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after deadly conflicts.

Mel Snyder/Inclusive Security

Mel Snyder/Inclusive Security

Esther Ibanga
Nigerian pastor and interfaith peace activist

Regular bloodshed in her home state spurred Esther Ibanga to abandon a lucrative 16-year career in Nigeria’s Central Bank to undertake a full-time ministry. Following a series of religiously-motivated massacres, she founded the Women Without Walls Initiative to unite Christian and Muslim women to fight for peace.

Joe Peoples

Joe Peoples

Miki Jacevic
Vice Chair, The Institute for Inclusive Security

Originally from Sarajevo, Mirsad “Miki” Jacevic assisted efforts to stop the bloodshed and promote post-war reconciliation in his homeland. He has been at the forefront of Inclusive Security’s efforts to design and implement high-impact national policies on women’s inclusion, and previously directed the organization’s programming in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as its training and leadership development work.


Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf (USAF, Ret.)
Director, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

Lt. Gen. Dan “Fig” Leaf became the Director, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in January 2012. Formerly the Deputy Commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), Lt. Gen. Leaf retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008 after more than 33 years of service.


Zana Marjanović
Member, House of Representatives, Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Zana Marjanović has been a member of the House of Representatives, the upper house of the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina since September 2014. She is a member of the multi-party parliamentary Women’s Caucus of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which focuses on ensuring that gender equality issues are mainstreamed across the work of the parliament.


Monica McWilliams
Professor and Research Fellow, Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University

Monica McWilliams cofounded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, a cross-conflict political party that played an instrumental role in the multi-party peace negotiations. She is a signatory of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and chaired the Implementation Committee on Human Rights on behalf of the British and Irish governments.


Luz Méndez
Vice President of the Executive Board, Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas

Luz Méndez is Vice President of the Executive Board to Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas. She participated in the Guatemalan peace negotiations as the only female member of Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, contributing to unprecedented commitments for gender equality in the peace accords.

Flickr/TED Conference

Flickr/TED Conference

Alaa Murabit
Founder and President of The Voice of Libyan Women
Member, High-level Advisory Group for Global Study on UNSCR 1325

In the wake of the Arab Spring, Dr. Alaa Murabit founded the Voice of Libyan Women to address the instability, extremism, and corruption that plague her country. Now, she travels around Libya and the world to advocate for women to have a say in the security issues that govern their daily lives.


Jacqueline O’Neill
Director, Inclusive Security

As Director of Inclusive Security, Jacqueline O’Neill is responsible for overall policy, advocacy, and programs. She oversees all regional initiatives as well as Inclusive Security’s support to governments and civil society on the creation and strengthening of national strategies and action plans.


Stephen Pomper
Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights
National Security Council

Stephen Pomper is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. He advises President Obama on matters pertaining to human rights and global engagement with allies.


Amna Popovac
Owner, Studio 88 Radio Station

Amna Popovac has been the owner of radio station Studio 88 since 1998, which she launched to contribute to the normalization of life in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In April 2011, she produced “Santiceva 88” with Federal Television, a documentary discussing the senseless war, and especially highlighting the places where Studio 88 had a main role.


Mossarat Qadeem
Executive Director, PAIMAN Alumni Trust, Pakistan

Mossarat Qadeem saves not only individual lives; she saves families. A skilled communicator, she uses her detailed knowledge of the Quran to work directly with mothers of radicalized youths to rescue young men—including potential suicide bombers—who are being exploited by extremists.

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Catherine Russell
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues

Cathy Russell currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, focusing on military families and higher education.


Irene Santiago
CEO, Mindanao Commission on Women

Irene M. Santiago is CEO of the Mindanao Commission on Women and Lead Convener of the “Women. Seriously!” Global Campaign on Women, Peace, and Security. From 2001 to 2004, she served on the Philippines Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), making her one of the few women in the world with formal peace negotiating experience.


Joseph Tucker
Associate, Deloitte Consulting

Joseph Tucker currently works for Deloitte Consulting in Washington, DC. Prior to this, he served as the Negotiations Team Leader in the Office of the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan at the Department of State.


Kholoud Waleed (pseudonym)
Cofounder, Enab Baladi, Syria

Kholoud Waleed led one of the largest underground women’s organizations inside Syria, working to overcome violence and promote democracy. Since death threats forced her to leave, she has continued the struggle from across the border, coordinating a network of citizen journalists inside Syria.