On October 15, Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations welcomed Kelley E. Currie, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, as a guest speaker for the Diplomacy Virtual Event Series. Moderated by Alumna Maggie Dougherty, this event piqued particular interests among students since 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.
The Women, Peace, and Security Agenda came into its own as a result of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, and multi-lateral partners, such as the UN, continue to work towards achieving the agenda’s objectives..
Kelley E. Currie was appointed U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues by President Trump in 2019. Ambassador Currie also assumes the role of U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Throughout her career in foreign policy, Ambassador Currie has specialized in human rights, political reform, development, and humanitarian issues.
“After decades of working on human rights, the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda is something that is really close to my heart,” Ambassador Currie began. “I’ve seen the impact that it makes in conflict zones and fragile states around the world, and I’ve seen how women, especially peace activists in countries that are experiencing conflict and fragility look to the agenda that has been set by Resolution 1325.”
In recent years, Ambassador Currie explained, the administration has been fortunate enough to acquire new tools to help implement the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda across the U.S. government’s system for dealing with foreign policy issues. In 2017, President Trump signed the Women, Peace, and Security Act which was passed by a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress. “We remain the only country that has actually passed legislation at the national level to enshrine the Women, Peace and Security Agenda into law and we are really proud of the work that we are doing across those priorities,” Ambassador Currie commented.
The Women, Peace, and Security Act is under continuous development through a national strategy that came out last year, as well as through implementation plans that are being used to track the progress of the strategy and legislation. “We are very fortunate to have a strong bipartisan base of support for the work we’re doing on Women, Peace, and Security and to be able to rely on great partners across our inner agency to actually carry out this work,” Ambassador Currie concluded about the development of the Women, Peace, and Security Act.
Ambassador Currie expressed that working to implement the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda is uniquely done in four key ways: policy, diplomacy, partnerships, and innovative programs. Through the UN’s global presence, the Agenda is being upheld in more than 300 embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the world, Ambassador Currie said. The Women, Peace, and Security Agenda is currently operating in 30 countries, and the work continues to grow. “We look to push back on the malign influence that certain countries around the world are using to expand their power and to undermine the rights of women and girls around the world,” Ambassador Currie said. Through partnerships with other countries, including governments and civil societies, the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda works to make sure that women’s voices are heard.
Through the work being done to implement the objectives of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, it was observed that COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on women and girls around the world, especially those in conflict affected states. “We’re seeing significant spikes in gender based violence, job loss, and increasing instability and insecurity in places such as South Sudan and other places around the world where women are going to be more vulnerable because of state failure,” Ambassador Currie noted. Ambassador Currie explained that the Women, Peace and Security Act works hand in hand with the Global Fragility Act to help solve these issues. Together they work with local women’s organizations to make sure impacted women have access to services and judicial processes.
Ambassador Currie will continue working with the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda to ensure that women’s voices are heard around the globe. “Women bring different issues and perspectives to the table,” Ambassador Currie said, “and it’s really important to ensure their participation.” In the future, the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda will be working to increase the number of female peacekeepers in order to maximize its effectiveness and responsiveness across the globe.