March 29, 2018

Keynote speaker Michèle Flournoy, CEO of WestExec and founder of the Center for a New American Security

The sixth annual Global Women in Leadership conference brought leading practitioners in policy, diplomacy, security, international development, and sustainability to the Washington, DC campus to examine the critical role women have in shaping national and global identity.

Panelists discussed the gendered impacts of conflict, early childhood exposure to violence, and the engagement of men with gender programming to help promote institutional change. Speakers examined the different notions of feminism across the globe, emphasizing ways that women have become agents of change in their societies.

The role of the West in development assistance was examined, with speakers noting that the West is often in a rush, pressuring post-colonial countries to skip important steps in the development process. When the West imposes its idea of governance on other countries, a project can lose its relevance to the local community.

Attendees also enjoyed networking opportunities, including introductions to mentorship programs and a discussion on launching a career in gender policy. 

For more information, visit or @saiswomenlead.

Event photos are available at the SAISHopkins Flickr page.


Introductions and first keynote:
Michèle Flournoy, CEO of WestExec and founder of the Center for a New American Security


Panel 1: Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Women in Politics
Elizabeth Cafferty, Founding Head, UN Women Liaison Office
Clare Bresnahan English, Executive Director, She Should Run
Caroline Vicini, Deputy Head of EU Delegation
Moderated by Charles Stevenson, professor of American Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins SAIS


Panel: Defeating the War: the Role of Women in Armed Conflicts
Melissa Dalton
, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Ellen Haring, Senior Fellow, Women in International Security
Kathleen Kuehnast, Director of Gender Policy and Strategy, US Institute of Peace
Virginie Viscardy, Deputy Head of NCI Agency Strategic Partnership Office, NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency
Moderated by Sarah Sewall, Speyer Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar, Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs


Panel 3: The Problem With Being Saved: Insights from Civil Society
Laurie Adams, CEO, Women for Women International
Belquis Ahmadi, Senior Program Officer, Afghanistan Program, US Institute of Peace
Mary Bridger, CEO, Equal Measures 2030
Charito Kruvant, Founder and CEO, Creative Associates International
Moderated by Kent Davis-Packard, Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS



Panel 4: Stories from the Trenches
Anna Abelson
, Program Officer, Columbia University School of Public Health
Caroline Schoenaker, Partner, Risk Advisory, Deloitte
Moderated by Virginia Volpe, Managing Director, SS&C Technologies