Women, Peace, and Security

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Women are disproportionally affected by violent conflict and vastly underrepresented in formal peace negotiations, yet they continue to make vital and often unrecognized contributions to transforming conflict and building peace worldwide. At the grassroots level, women peacebuilders play integral roles in lessening violence, challenging and changing systems of injustice, educating for peace, and promoting human security in their communities every day.

Our Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program seeks to magnify the impact of everyday women peacebuilders and contribute to a greater understanding of why, how, and in what ways women have been able to successfully influence sustainable peace.

Under the visionary leadership of Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Associate Director Dr. Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, the WPS Program will bring together Columbia University students, faculty, and global practitioners in the field of women, peace and security, to generate new insights from the experience of women peacebuilders in the field.


Our People

Leymah Gbowee
Executive Director of WPS,
Nobel Peace Laureate

Dr. Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland
Associate Director of WPS

Kristen Rucki
WPS Coordinator

This program seeks to:

  • Bolster and leverage opportunities for everyday women peace activists through the sharing of resources, knowledge, and experience.
  • Provide Columbia graduate students with real-life peacebuilding experience and interdisciplinary knowledge through their interaction with community-level women peacebuilding practitioners from conflict and post-conflict areas around the world.
  • Provide Columbia faculty and students with research opportunities that will serve to study, document, and highlight the many formal and informal roles women play in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and state building.
  • Inform policy and public discourse based on the knowledge and expertise of everyday women peacebuilders and practitioners.

The vision is to advance research, education, and practice in the rising field of women, peace, and security, while providing opportunities for Columbia students, faculty, and women peacebuilders to learn from one another. WPS also aims to provide unique educational offerings, including relevant internships, to Columbia graduate students.

Throughout 2017 the WPS Program is working with activists, policy makers, faculty and civil society leaders, to build curricula and partnerships around the world. We are also conducting research on the role that women and women’s activism plays in peacebuilding and human security in select pilot countries. Please take a moment to hear Leymah Gbowee introduce this new vision, presented in a keynote talk at Columbia University at the annual Sustaining Peace Conference in 2016.

Featured Research

“Gender and Sustainable Peace” by Abigail Disney and Leymah Gbowee (2012)

Getting Involved

The WPS Program is actively building partnerships around the world. For more information on getting involved, please email kristen.rucki@tc.columbia.edu.


Photo Credit: Oxfam International.