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In this edition, feminist scholars, practitioners and activists discuss what feminist peace entails, and reflect on new ways forward for the European Union as a peacebuilder.

Event details of ‘Building feminist peace: what way forward for the EU?’
Date 18 May 2021
Time 14:00 -15:30

Some EU member states – such as Sweden and France – have declared to pursue a Feminist Foreign Policy. In June 2020, the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy released a report, commissioned by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, in which it argued for “A Feminist Foreign Policy for the European Union”. Among other things, such a Feminist Foreign Policy calls for disarmament, reversing militarisation, and prioritising human security. While in fact, the EU’s latest Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security is more ambitious than previous proposals, EU leaders are also moving towards a more military approach when it comes to security and development objectives. For example, the new European Peace Facility allows the EU to deliver and finance arms for third countries.

So, how do and should feminist visions of peace figure in the EU’s peacebuilding? How to challenge dominant paradigms and practices of peace and security? In this panel, scholars, practitioners and activists discuss what feminist peace entails in relation to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, women’s peace activism, and the politics of knowledge production. They contextualize the EU’s role as peacebuilder and sketch new ways forward.

About the speakers:

Laura Davis, Senior Associate for Gender, Peace and Security (GPS) at the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office.  She is also a senior consultant on gender and political economy analysis and transitional justice. She is based in Uganda after a decade working in and on central Africa and the Middle East. In 2013 she published her book “EU foreign policy, transitional justice and mediation” (2014, with Routledge).

Gina Heathcote, Professor at School of Law at SOAS University of London. She is a feminist scholar working at the Centre for Gender Studies and the School of Law at SOAS. She is the author of “The Law and the Use of Force: A Feminist Analysis” (2013, with Routledge), “Feminist Dialogues on International Law” (2018, with Oxford University Press) and co-editor of “The Law of War and Peace: a Gender Analysis Vol. 1” (2020, with Zed).

Helen Kezi-Nwoha, Executive Director of Women’s International Peace Centre in Uganda. Her research interests focus on women’s peace efforts and women’s participation in peace building and post conflict reconstruction; documenting women and girls’ refugee experiences; and gender and humanitarian response. She is currently researching grassroots women’s peace efforts in South Sudan and gender and post conflict reconstruction in northern Uganda. She is also a member of FEMWISE Africa, Uganda Technical Working Group on the National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325 and a Board Member of the Women Human Rights Defenders Network, Uganda.

About the series

This series Gender and Sexuality in European (Geo)politics brings together practitioners and scholars from different disciplines engaging both in conceptual and theoretical debates around feminist and intersectional theory, as well as discussing concrete policy debates linked to the role of gender, sexuality and intersectionality. The events will focus on topics including: projections of (racialized) femininities and masculinities in European identity, discourses and practices; gender and populism in Europe; gender and race in migration policy; gender equality in the EU, and the theory and practice of feminist foreign policy in the European context.

In Focus: A Feminist EU in the World

This ‘In Focus’ subseries zooms in on the European Union’s ambitions to become a feminist or gender actor in the world. The world faces increasing levels of poverty and inequality, rising militarism, protracted conflicts, and a pressing climate crisis. Women are affected disproportionately by these harms, while their involvement in decision-making processes to overcome these problems is marginalized at best. In fact, recent years have seen a massive encroachment on the rights of women, and marginalized groups, as well as backlash against feminist, human rights and climate justice activism. Feminist activists, scholars and policy-makers have long argued that there can be no peace and that these challenges cannot and should not be tackled without an intersectional feminist approach. In this series, we discuss such a feminist approach in relation to the EU’s external action.    

Series coordinators:

Pola Cebulak: Humanities Faculty, Department of European Studies and Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

Hanna L. Muehlenhoff: Humanities Faculty, Department of European Studies and Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

Lara Talsma: Law Faculty, Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG)