Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan
Peace Strategic Initiative Grant Highlights
In 2015, the Compton Foundation Board of Directors committed up to $5 million over three years for a special peace and national security initiative. The initiative responds to evidence that demonstrates that national security policies and peace processes are more effective, just, and lasting when they engage women’s voices—and an inclusive policy lens. Distinct from the Foundation’s existing peace program, this initiative aims to leverage the upcoming presidential transition and the opportunities it brings for media attention, policy development, and agency appointments to integrate an inclusive, gendered perspective into US foreign policy and national security for the next administration and beyond.
The Women, Peace, and Security Initiative (WPSI) launched in Spring 2016 with a set of exploratory grants, with subsequent grant rounds in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. The grants fall into three strategic approaches:
1) The first aligns messaging on women, peace, and security (WPS) to engage mainstream foreign policy and national security connections, ranging from traditional communications to creative storytelling that illustrates the importance of an inclusive gender lens.
2) The second integrates WPS into mainstream foreign policy and national security organizations by building relationships between those groups and WPS organizations, cultivating mainstream voices as new WPS champions, and supporting the academic centers that strengthen the field with research and train the next generation of national security leaders.
3) The third influences the appointments and policy positions of the new administration to ensure they include an inclusive security perspective.
This initiative is time-limited and grants are made by invitation only. A description of the grants we have made so far can be found below.
|Center for a New American Security||Finding a Balance: Putting Women at the Center of National Security||$100,000|
|The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) was founded in 2007 to develop strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies. As an independent and nonpartisan research institution, CNAS engages policymakers, experts, and the public with innovative fact-based research and analysis to shape national security conversations. CNAS employs a nimble, bipartisan team of experts and former (and future) policymakers with strong connections throughout the national security community. It is small, focused, and has a track record of influencing debates on key national security and defense issues. With Compton support, CNAS plans to continue bringing to its projects a special focus on the importance of inclusivity, women’s leadership, and gender balance.
|Council on Foreign Relations||Project on Women, Peace, and Security||$125,000|
|The Project on Women, Peace, and Security will continue to leverage the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) role as a preeminent nonpartisan foreign policy think tank to elevate the issue of women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution on the mainstream US foreign policy agenda. Despite strong evidence that women’s participation in peace and security processes improves stability around the world, policymakers continue to minimize or overlook the importance of policies to promote women’s inclusion. A Compton grant to this project will help elevate awareness of the strategic value of women’s participation, and provide education, analysis, and concrete policy recommendations for government officials, policymakers, business executives, civic actors, and other elite opinion leaders who have the ability to reform security policies and ensure that inclusive security is a priority in US foreign policy.
|Futures Without Violence||WPS under the New Administration: Ending Violence Against Women as Central to National Security||$75,000|
|Research shows that ending violence against women is a means to create safety and stability for women and nations. Through this framework, Futures Without Violence will convene leaders across the political spectrum who are actively working on women, peace, and security, in order to develop a strategy to advance a coordinated agenda within the context of the new administration. In preparation for the proposed workshop, Futures Without Violence will conduct key informant interviews, with a focus on identifying and testing strategies to reach and engage conservative-leaning leaders in this area. With data in hand, Futures will help ensure the group’s resulting strategy is practical, actionable, and informed by a diverse set of perspectives.|
|Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative / University of Denver||The Role of Inclusion in Successful Nonviolent Protest Campaigns: Research and Implications for Practice||$100,000|
|Inclusive approaches lead to more successful, durable, and peaceful outcomes, and this key insight drives a range of policy decisions around the globe. With the rising prevalence and visibility of protest campaigns to resist authoritarianism and protect the rights of all people worldwide, there is an urgent need to better understand whether and when inclusive strategies also lead to more successful movement outcomes. As part of the Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative at the University of Denver, Professors Erica Chenoweth and Marie Berry are conducting research to operationalize and measure the participation of women in nonviolent protest campaigns. Their goal is to evaluate how strategies that prioritize the inclusion of women are related to movement success. This research has the potential to reveal essential knowledge for building movements that prioritize women’s leadership and engagement.|
|New America Foundation||Not Secondary, But Central||$125,000|
|New America brings its unique blend of security policy experience, media expertise, and narrative skill to the challenge of moving the women, peace, and security agenda from social science data to policy reality. With Compton’s support, New America’s groundbreaking research—the first ever to query elites and policymakers on their understanding of gender’s role in policymaking—showed major gaps in the field. Having documented that the media misses the stories of how gender shapes violence and peace, New America will broaden media perspectives by working directly with reporters and editors. Having demonstrated that security policymakers don’t know the social science that demonstrates how gender-differentiated analysis and policymaking shed light on policy outcomes, New America will partner with Peace is Loud, the Institute for Inclusive Security, and others to develop curricula and teaching modules for college and graduate school, to ensure that the next generation of policymakers is familiar with the data and how to use it when they move into decision-making roles.|
|San Francisco Film Society||Women, Peace, and Security Fellowship||$75,000/2 years|
|The Women, Peace and Security Fellowship will support documentary and narrative filmmakers dedicated to elevating women’s efforts to end conflict and advance peace. To ensure that projects developed during these fellowships will result in compelling, completed films, SFFILM will offer fellows financial support, networking opportunities, connections to advisors with expertise in the subject matter of their films, and active mentorship from SFFILM staff and SFFILM’s mentorship advisory board. SFFILM aims to inspire filmmakers to tell stories of courageous female leaders and their impact on war and peace, generate conversation across public audiences, and influence policymakers to invest in women as essential actors in effective peacebuilding and violence prevention. A Compton grant will support this new fellowship over the course of two years.|
|Truman Center for National Policy||Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Women in Peace and Security||$100,000|
|The Truman Center for National Policy (Truman) strives to create a more inclusive national security sector in which highly qualified women achieve equal representation in leadership positions and policymaking roles. This goal grows out of Truman’s underlying belief that female national security experts can share a necessary, gendered lens as a critical aspect of their professional expertise, that can help lead to more effective security policies, and that seeing women national security experts can, in and of itself, help to shift the debate about which experience is most relevant in security debates. Truman will leverage its unique position as a convener and trainer to develop a cohort of women from across the country working in security-related positions including military leadership, civilian policymaking, political advising, and communications at the national, state, and local levels, and position them as vocal and visible leaders within the national security space. Truman will provide its next class of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) members with opportunities to build skills and relationships through leadership development, networking, and training programming.|
|US Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security||Maintaining US Leadership on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda||$100,000|
|The US Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (US CSWG), established in 2010, is a nonpartisan network of 35 civil society organizations with expertise on the impact of violent conflict on women and the participation of women in peacebuilding. With Compton support, the US CSWG will leverage its expertise to advance US leadership on the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. Building on a foundation of collaborative work, the US CSWG will focus on outreach to the executive branch around national security concerns and the WPS agenda, cultivating continued bipartisan support and leadership of WPS in Congress, and strengthening connections with the traditional security community, and national and international civil society actors.|
|Center for New American Security||Finding a Balance: Putting Women at the Center of National Security||$100,000|
|Election years are an ideal time to inject the national security community with fresh ideas. To that end, the Center for New American Security (CNAS) will prepare a series of events for the transition teams of leading candidates, focusing on the “what” (what to do about ISIS or China) as well as the “how” (how to govern or build an effective team). With Compton support, CNAS plans to give its projects a special focus on the importance of inclusivity, women’s leadership, and gender balance. CNAS will include designated panels on these issues at its annual conference and its “transition” conference, draft a stand-alone transition memo on the importance of women in the national security apparatus, and host a high-level dinner as part of its “Extending American Power” dinner series. CNAS’ reputation as a strong think tank in national security, and its vast network on both sides of the aisle, position it well to take on a women, peace, and security agenda.
|Columbia University||Toward the Establishment of a Network of Scholars focused on Women, Peace, and Security and a New Foreign Policy Agenda||$50,000|
|The leadership of women on the world stage creates an opportunity for realizing a new foreign policy that assigns a central role to the WPS agenda. But the agenda’s success depends on its translation into practice, and the field needs advocates and policymakers capable of applying a gendered lens to the entire policy process: from defining an issue and addressing backlash to identifying lessons learned. Universities throughout the world are preparing professionals to take on these tasks. To deliver the best education possible, the faculty leading these programs needs to learn from one another. Compton support will allow Professor Yasmine Ergas at Columbia University to explore the possibility of creating a network that spans disciplinary, institutional and national boundaries; allows faculty to share best practices, circulate resources, and develop collaborative teaching and research projects; and fosters connections between education and the worlds of practice.|
|Council on Foreign Relations||Project on Women, Peace, and Security||$125,000|
|The Project on Women, Peace, and Security will leverage the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) role as a prominent nonpartisan foreign policy think tank to elevate the issue of women’s participation in peace and security processes on the mainstream U.S. foreign policy agenda. The project will produce scholarship and convene high-level events to educate the elite foreign policy community—including government officials, policymakers, civic actors, journalists, and other opinion leaders in national security fields—about the relationship between inclusive security and international stability. CFR will also outline concrete policy recommendations to advance women’s inclusion within U.S. national security strategy and create a new online tool that measures the relationship between women’s security and national stability.
|Double Hope Films||“All Hearts and Minds”||$100,000|
|In “Sex and World Peace,” Dr. Valerie Hudson proved that improving the security of women improves the security and peacefulness of nation-states. In a historic move in 2016, the people of Taiwan elected their first woman president, Tsai Ing-wen. President Tsai heads a democracy that is facing down a growing threat from authoritarian China, which includes no women in political office and evinces little interest in advancing women’s issues. On the contrary, China is cracking down on civil society and cooling relations with Taiwan, which it claims as a renegade province. Filmmaker Vanessa Hope is making a feature documentary film that presents President Tsai’s regime in Taiwan as a “case study” of the data set forth in Dr. Hudson’s book, providing an important and timely exploration of women, peace, and security issues globally. A Compton grant will support the film’s impact campaign.|
|Fuller Project for International Reporting||General Support||$75,000|
|The Fuller Project for International Reporting is a global, multimedia organization that produces solution-driven news about women, peace, and conflict. Its team of seasoned, award-winning, international journalists envisions a world where the media carries stories about women that move solutions forward, where newsrooms are no longer dominated by one gender, and where an inclusive lens ensures that women receive due credit in the news. The Fuller Project focuses on elevating women’s voices and ensuring that US foreign policy and national security advance gender equality and equity, not the opposite. Compton funding will support the team to produce research-based news content focused on women’s vital role in US foreign policy and national security; amplify the work of others in the field and work to reduce silos; and promote coverage of women leading change, and of men as allies in gender equity.|
|Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace, and Security||Profiles in Peace Oral Histories Project||$100,000|
|The Profiles in Peace Oral Histories Project is a research initiative of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security that captures vivid stories, best practices, and lessons learned from peacemakers around the world and at all levels of society. From heads of state to unsung heroes at the grassroots level, the oral history project compiles the experiences of men and women who are on the frontlines, doing the important work of advancing women in global peace and security. The changemakers profiled in this series showcase how advancing women in peace and security processes is a means to resolve conflict, combat violent extremism, mitigate humanitarian crises, promote sustainable prosperity, and build more viable peace. Compton funding will help the Institute broadly disseminate the testimonies of these trailblazers, which serve as tools to better understand the roles women play in peace and security at all levels of society in all regions of the world.|
|Institute for Inclusive Security/Inclusive Security Action||Advancing Inclusion in a Time of Transition||$150,000|
|Because exclusion is a key driver of violent conflict, governments, organizations, and individuals must reflect and deeply engage the diverse populations they serve. To that end, Inclusive Security inspires, equips, and connects policymakers and women leaders to build inclusive peace and security. With support from the Compton Foundation, Inclusive Security will execute a collaborative and strategic advocacy and communications plan during the election and political transition periods. Activities will include assessing the potential for a joint communications strategy among inclusive security organizations, preparing a transition memo for the incoming administration, and educating select administration nominees to prepare them to address women, peace and security issues in their work.|
|International Center for Research on Women||National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security Transition Advocacy||$25,000|
|The US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues has asked ICRW policy lead Lyric Thompson to lead a process between the government and civil society to articulate recommendations to preserve and improve gender foreign policies into the new presidential administration. This request for civil society transition support provides an unprecedented opportunity. ICRW will lead the consultation and ensure key stakeholders in civil society and government participate. In consultation with the group, ICRW will also draft text for officials to use in their internal transition memos. A grant from Compton will fund this process specifically for the UN National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
|International Civil Society Action Network||From Stories that Move to Policies that Matter: Applying the US NAP on Women, Peace & Security in MENA/Asia||$100,000|
|The International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) bridges gaps between the US policy community and women peacebuilders in conflict-affected countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Compton support will fund two main activities. First, ICAN will help to move the WPS agenda from theory to practice among US government staff (including the State Department, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and USAID) by producing animated videos that share practical know-how on integrating gender and women into programs. Second, ICAN will influence the public policy discourse through regular op-eds that provide a gendered analysis of key security issues, and through a set of compelling stories from Middle Eastern and North African history that challenge negative stereotypes about women from the region and show how women’s contemporary efforts are part of a long tradition of courage and leadership.|
|Ms. Magazine||Advancing Ideas and Action through Storytelling and Advocacy Journalism||$100,000|
|Because Ms. has long been influential in both the women’s rights community and journalism circles, it is in a unique position to move ideas that frame policy debates around women, peace and security. The magazine provides a platform for robust dialogue from a women’s lens that other media often overlook or will not cover, and Ms. can demonstrate how women’s empowerment is fundamental for peace and security, for fostering an active democratic civil society, and for reducing extremism. With this grant, Ms. will feature women’s personal stories of their experiences with peace and security, as well as experts who can present the larger frameworks around gender inclusion policies. The goal is to demonstrate how women’s empowerment is fundamental for peace and security, building and informing a constituency in the US to support a gender-inclusive foreign policy agenda. Ms. will collaborate with other Compton grantees and the broader women, peace, and security community to influence critical policy positions and to press policymakers to be accountable for implementing a foreign policy agenda that puts women at the center.|
|New America Foundation||Not Secondary, but Central: Securing Gender in the Mainstream||$125,000|
|With Compton’s support, the New America Foundation will conduct a journalism project that will use original research to craft storytelling that can shift policymakers’ attitudes toward the inclusive security agenda. A first-of-its-kind survey will ask policymakers when they consider gender while designing legislation, when they do not, and why, in order to understand why much of the advocacy in this area has fallen short and how experts can more effectively influence the next administration. This research will also map policymakers’ media consumption habits, and will inform an editorial strategy to develop and place stories that highlight the centrality of gender in security issues where it is not often considered. New America will also produce a toolkit for policymakers with ideas about where and how to mainstream gender throughout key policymaking organizations.|
|NGO Working Group on WPS||Accentuating Women's Voices through Increased Civil Society Engagement||$150,000/2 years|
|The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (NGOWG) aims to ensure that the voices of women human rights defenders, activists, and peacebuilders are directly integrated into the decisions of the UN Security Council. Working in partnership with women human rights defenders and civil society leaders from conflict-affected countries, and leveraging its highest levels of access to UN leadership and UN Member State missions in New York, the NGOWG advocates for the respect of women's human rights, for gender to be mainstreamed throughout every peacekeeping and peacebuilding mission, and for women to have meaningful participation across all conflict prevention and resolution efforts. Twice a year, the NGOWG briefs the UN Security Council on the women, peace and security agenda. Two years of support to the NGO Working Group will provide capacity to critical infrastructure for the women, peace, and security field.|
|Peace is Loud||Women, War, & Peace: Part II||$150,000|
|The next generation of peace and security experts can currently be found in classrooms and training programs, and the representation (or lack thereof) that they see of women matters. Peace is Loud’s Women, War & Peace: Part II film series will tell new stories of women who have persevered against great odds to gain a political voice and a seat at the table, from Tahrir Square to Belfast and Bangladesh. With Compton support, Peace is Loud will use the films to work with top-tier international relations and national security graduate programs to build support among students, faculty, and administrators to create gender courses and gender analysis specializations where they are not currently offered. Additional activities will include working to integrate the films into training courses for new US Foreign Service appointees prior to their tours.|
|The OTHRS||The Radicals Project||$100,000|
|The Radicals Project is a multimedia project of the filmmaking collective The OTHRS that aims to use creative media to redefine the term “radical” to mean someone who works for peace and justice, not a violent extremist. Its first initiative will focus on telling powerful and universal experiences from inside the Muslim community, particularly the stories of women who are working as change agents in the struggle against extremism. This initiative aims to look for the “news behind the news,” exploring a diverse community under siege, which is frequently misrepresented and distorted. A grant from Compton will support the team’s work to produce a film and shorts that can expand the public conversation around the connections between women, violence, and peace, and can begin to break out of stereotypical imagery.|
|Truman National Security Institute||Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Women in Peace and Security||$100,000|
|With support from Compton, the Truman Center will leverage its unique position as a convener and trainer of national security professionals to build a roster of women working in a variety of national security areas—including military leadership, civilian policymaking, political advising, and communications—who are capable of providing a strong, gendered lens to leadership in national security. Truman will refine its existing leadership development model to address the unique challenges that women face when working in the national security sector and prepare them to lead in a variety of roles, positioning them for appointments in political campaigns and the upcoming administration.|
|US Civil Society Working Group on Women||WPS: Strengthening Engagement Between the US Government and Civil Society||$150,000|
|The US Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) will convene its prestigious group of organizations and experts to engage directly with key policymakers and governmental institutions to ensure the next administration's commitment to and implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP). The US CSWG also seeks to reach out to those in the "traditional" security community, which has hitherto not been engaged on the WPS agenda and the US NAP. The work will consist of thematic and country-specific briefs highlighting gender aspects of critical issues; meetings and roundtables to inform and advise senior officials and members of the security think tank community; and the development of and advocacy for a clear "first 100 days" plan of action to ensure the next administration establishes a high standard of practice on the WPS agenda and can legitimately act as a global leader in international forums.|
|WomanStats/Texas A&M University||Women, Peace, and Security in the Heartland: Leadership, Research, Education||$100,000/2 years|
|Leading up to a presidential transition, it is crucial to broaden the constituency supporting the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. The Program on Women, Peace, and Security at Texas A&M University's George HW Bush School of Government and Public Service is uniquely positioned to do so, in both the short- and long-term. A two-year grant will support the Program on WPS to 1) continue cutting-edge research through Professor Valerie Hudson's WomanStats Project, which examines the link between the security of women and the security of the countries in which they live; 2) convene policymakers from the heartland to discuss the legislative WPS agenda, including Congresswomen from Texas, Oklahama, and Kansas; and 3) educate and mentor Masters students at the Bush School who are entering public service in the national security and foreign policy arenas.|
Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan