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Women, Peace, and Security: Gulf Perspectives on Integration, Inclusiveness and Integrity

Featured Speakers: Dr. Dania Thafer, Ambassador Julianne Smith, Ambassador Rend Al-Rahim, Dr. Banafsheh Keynoush, Ms. Maali Al-Asousi, and Dr. Mira Al-Hussein.

This panel discussion is the final event in the joint program between Gulf International Forum and the U.S. Mission to NATO.


In the ever-changing global security landscape, the increase of women’s participation in peacebuilding is crucial for the stability, good governance, and gender equality of the Gulf region. Through coordinated public diplomacy efforts that seek to increase female inclusion in conflict prevention and resolution processes, the Gulf states, the United States, and other NATO member countries can address shared threats and improve collaboration in the security realm.

Throughout the Gulf region, security risks and challenges are on the rise. However, there is a growing body of evidence which shows that the meaningful participation of women in peace operations and conflict resolution—especially in leadership positions—makes for stronger and more effective peacebuilding. Women’s efforts in government institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector were substantial in easing the effects of armed conflicts and geopolitical tensions. Therefore, current global dynamics that underpin the Gulf region’s stability provide a strong foundation for constructive dialogue on women’s role in peace and security in the context of domestic and regional policies, and the NATO-Middle East relationship.

Throughout this one-year program, we delved into the analysis and sharing of best practices on the role of women in current and recent Gulf region security issues. In the final event, our panelists will discuss the factors that continue to limit more meaningful participation of Gulf women in the security establishment, the most effective methods for enhancing participation—grassroots activism or state-driven initiatives, what does successful integration look like? and what are the consequences of continued exclusion?

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