Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sweden Day 12: Graduation Dinner

Today I graduated from NATO/Sweden's Gender Field Advisor course.  This 2-week training course was intense and amazing.  We looked at how to incorporate the gender perspective and gender tasks at all levels of command.
Gender perspective is when planning and operations are conducted with specific attention to how all aspects of the operation affects women- both within our troops and for local nationals- security forces and civilian populations.  This includes work like security sector reform (ensuring our own militaries don't exclude women, have facilities and equipment dedicated to women's needs), disarmament demobilization & reintegration (taking special care to ensure plans and policies do not exclude women soldiers (rebel groups/freedom fighters) and children taken as slaves or child soldiers in recovering from armed conflict, and other plans and policy that ensure that rape is not a weapon of war or being used to create genocide.
International law requires that all governments and militaries, all states, increase the appointment of women to positions of leadership, enable women to participate at all levels of planning, peace building, and conflict resolution, and ensure access to judicial systems and protections from sexual violence- particularly during and after armed conflict.  Rape is a human rights violation and is NEVER acceptable.  Forced prostitution, forced labor, child pornography, and other forms of enslavement are also illegal according to international law and states must take a zero tolerance approach to these forms of human trafficking.
You can see the national action plans for supporting these laws on this website.
This topic is so serious and heavy, but we've had a beautiful experience in navigating these critical topics.  Thanks to my course mates and instructors for the things you've taught and shared with the rest of us.  Gender work matters.  Your efforts make direct impact in the world.  A small selection of photos from the evening's events appear below.

In Sweden there are always pre-dinner drinks at formal events.  This allows everyone to connect prior to the meal.  Savoring our last evening together.  

UK sports an enormous watch that could double as a plate, or weapon.   

Namibia, Sweden, Nigeria

Belgium, Italy

Our wonderful servers.  

The General.


Course Director and the General.

tired, but happy!

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