Embassy of Liechtenstein and WIIS Co-Host Events on Terrorism, Women and Violent Extremism

In March of 2016 Women in International Security (WIIS) and the Embassy of Liechtenstein launched a roundtable series on Women, Terrorism, and Violent Extremism. The goal of the series is to bring together experts from the women, peace, and security (WPS) and the counterterrorism communities to share insights and perspectives on these critical national and international security issues. WIIS has published a Policy Brief titled "Women, Gender, and Terrorism: The Missing Links" outlining the discussion that took place at the inaugural roundtable in March.

Ambassador Claudia Fritsche addresses the audience at the May 19 roundtable.

Liechtenstein's foreign policy has placed a great emphasis on human rights and international humanitarian law, including WPS issues as outlined in Liechtenstein's Commitment to Women, Peace, and Security. Liechtenstein has implemented Security Council Resolution 1325, as well as Security Council Resolution 2242 which mandates improvements of the implementation of the UN Security Council's WPS Agenda and that it be included in the Security Council's Counterterrorism agenda.

In May and June the second and third editions of the series took place. On May 19 a roundtable focused on "Radicalization and Recruitment," looking into what drives women to join extremist groups. It was moderated by Jeannette Gaudry Haynie, Senior Fellow, WIIS, and featured prominent speakers including Naureen Chowdhury Fink, Head of Research and Analysis at the Global Center on Cooperative Security; Nimmi Gowinathan, Visiting Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Civic Leadership; Seamus Hughes, Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism, George Washington University; and Emilio Viano, Professor, Department of Justice, Law and Society, American University.

The panelists emphasized that as people are exposed to state oppression they are more likely to be drawn in by propaganda and violent videos. They noted that how people are recruited only plays a secondary role. They discussed how local culture is mainly perceived as something static. Culture should be seen as something constantly shifting and women need to be able to create a national identity with a platform for political engagement. Marginalization should no longer be tolerated. In conclusion they agreed that WPS and counterterrorism bodies and agencies deliver different views and outcomes but can complement each other.

On June 20 a roundtable took a deeper look into "Policies and Programming," highlighting the existing approach by various US government agencies as well as the challenges they are facing trying to determine and implement successful projects. It was moderated again by Jeannette Gaudry Haynie. Panelists included: Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, USAID; Trisha Riply, Senior CVE Officer at the National Counterterrorism Center; Irfan Saeed, Director of Countering Violent Extremism in the Bureau of Counterterrorism, US Department of State; and Pamela Faber, Associate Research Analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses.

Panelists emphasized how enormous the global terrorism arena is. Each and every situation is complex and requires a fluid approach - no one-size-fits-all. Panelists discussed how there must be a greater degree of engagement with communities. A top-down approach doesn't work - it's the mindset of the people that needs to be changed to alter the landscape. Cross-agency actors need to compare notes and come together to devise a multi-pronged approach. The role of women must be increased as actors and facilitators. The Security Council's WPS Agenda has done a lot to open a dialogue and get a discussion going, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Visit WIIS' website to learn more about the last two roundtables of this series planned for October 12 and December.

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