Webinar Explores Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Security and Peacekeeping

A two-day joint webinar titled "THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN SECURITY AND PEACEKEEPING" was organized by the School of Behavioural Forensics (NFSU) in India, the European Counter-Terrorism and Security Research Institute (EUCTER) in Brussels, and the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) in Sri Lanka. This collaborative effort brought together esteemed speakers and experts from various fields to discuss the pivotal role of women in security and peacekeeping efforts.

Key Highlights:

Inauguration and Welcoming: The event commenced with an inaugural session where stakeholders were welcomed by Ms. Priya Kaushal, Lecturer, School of Behavioural Forensics, NFSU; Dr. S. O. Junare, Campus Director, Gandhinagar, NFSU; and Padam Shri, Dr. J. M. Vyas, Honb’le Vice Chancellor, NFSU.

Inaugural Speech: H.E. Dewi Gustina Tobing, The Ambassador (Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary) of the Republic of Indonesia to Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, delivered the inaugural address.

Special Addresses and Keynote Lectures: Notable speakers including Maj Gen Akash Kaushik, SM, PhD, Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Intelligence A Division), HQ IDS; Prof. Christian Kaunert, Director EUCTER, Professor of Policing and Security Director of the International Centre for Policing and Security, University of South Wales | Professor of International Security at Dublin City University, Ireland | Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, Director of the Marie Curie Doctoral Training Network EUGLOCTER; Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar (Retd), Former Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Former Commander in Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN), Former DG, Centre for Land Warfare Studies; and Lt Gen Asit Mistry, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Retd), Former Commandant of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, shared insights and expertise on various aspects related to women in security and peacekeeping.

Session Presenters:

• Session 1 – Inclusion in Peacekeeping Missions: Chaired by Lt Gen Cornelis Johannes (Kees) Matthijssen, Former Force Commander United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Presenters included Brig Anil Mahadev Kakade, SM, President, Ahmedabad Cantonment Board and Commander (LS) KAC Jayamini, Acting Deputy Director, Naval Legal Services, Sri Lankan Navy.

• Session 2 – Challenges, Backlash and Examples: Chaired by Prof. Maneesha S. Wanasinghe – Pasqual, Senior Lecturer, Department of International Relations, University of Colombo. Presenters included Eliana Zatschler, Secretary General, European Women Lawyers Association and Mr. Keshav Kumar, Retd IPS, Consultant Home Dept. Govt of Assam.

• Session 3 – Relevance of WPS in Nonviolent Movements vis-à-vis Violent Movements: Chaired by Lt General Vinod Khandare (Retd), PVSM, AVSM, SM, Principal Adviser, Ministry of Defence. Presenters included Mr. Abdul Qadeer Mutfi, Fellow Researcher, Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS), and Major Disanthi Mendis USP SLAGSC, Staff Officer 1 (Administration) Logistic Command.

• Session 4 – Research on Women's Participation and Impact: Chaired by Prof. Sarah Leonard, Professor of International Security, Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, Criminology, Policing and Security Research and Innovation Group, University of South Wales. Presenters included Smt. Sampat Meena IPS, Addl. Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, Government of India and Air Commodore SNSN Dias, Legal Advisor to Ministry of Defense Sri Lanka.

• Session 5 – Policy Frameworks: Crafting Inclusive Counter-Terrorism Strategies: Chaired by Colonel M B B Nalin Herath, RSP Overlooking Director General & Acting Director (Research), Institute of National Security Studies, Sri Lanka. Presenters included Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh, Convenor, Middle East Studies Forum, Deakin University, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Middle East Council on Global Affairs.

• Session 6 – The UN’s call for Action and Community Engagement: Chaired by Dr Mike MacArthur Bosack, Special Adviser for Government Relations, Yokosuka Council, Founder, Parley Policy Initiative and Former Foreign Area Officer, U.S. Air Force. Presenters included Prof. Akshat Mehta, Professor, School of Police Science and Security Studies, National Forensics Sciences University, and Lieutenant Colonel PAS Cooray USP SLAGSC, Commanding Officer 3rd Battalion of Sri Lankan Army General Service Corps.

• Session 7 – Preventive Forensic to Create Peace and Harmony Among Cultures Around the Globe: Chaired by Prof. (Dr.) Asha Srivastava, Dean, School of Behavioural Forensics, National Forensics Sciences University. Presenters included Dr Sorcha MacLeod, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, and Commander (ASW) A.P. Amila Prasanga, Military Research Officer, Institute of National Security Studies, Sri Lanka.

Insightful Sessions: Throughout the two days, sessions covered diverse topics such as inclusion in peacekeeping missions, challenges faced by women in security, relevance of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) initiatives, and policy frameworks for crafting inclusive counter-terrorism strategies. Each session included discussions and Q&A sessions, allowing participants to delve deeper into the topics and exchange valuable insights.

Closing Ceremony: The webinar concluded with a special closing address by Prof. Christian Kaunert and a vote of thanks by Dr. Krishna Kumar Mishra, Associate Professor, School of Behavioural Forensics, National Forensics Sciences University.