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BIPR | Kathryn Knowles Women in International Affairs Lecture - Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda for Transformational Change
Kathryn Knowles Women in International Affairs Lecture - Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda for Transformational Change

March 28, 2022 - 18:30

Christina Bache, United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education, Working Group on Business for Peace

Event Recap

Dr. Christina Bache joined BIPR to discuss the challenges and opportunities of global efforts to advance the position of women in all matters of peace and security. Professor Michael Plummer began the talk with an introduction and mentioned the importance of Dr. Kathryn Knowles to the SAIS Europe Community as a staff member, colleague, and friend. Dr. Bache then began the discussion by highlighting the three central elements of her presentation. First, the need to challenge traditional peace and security perspectives, why advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda is critical to ensuring greater gender equality, equity, and women's meaningful inclusion in peace and transition processes, and how the deeper economic inclusion of women is a means to making that a reality.

Dr. Bache then moved to a general discussion of the peace and security paradigms often showcased among foreign policy circles. She asked the audience their thoughts on peace and security and received a collection of answers to help guide the talk. Participants in the audience noted the military aspect of security and more novel ideas of peace and security, such as food security and access to healthcare. Others stressed the importance of understanding the myriad dimensions of the topic. After the discussion, Dr. Bache offered her interpretations of these topics. For peace, she highlighted two prominent perspectives: negative and positive peace. She defined negative peace as the absence of war, assault, and physical violence. In contrast, positive peace refers to the absence of poverty, inequality, and other forms of structural violence. Full peace comes, she says, with both of these points. On the issue of security, Dr. Bache noted two dominant paradigms. She outlined the traditional realist notion of the security of the state. However, she highlighted the importance of human security. This broader concept of security includes the protection of the individual so they may live a life free from fear, free from want, and to live in dignity.

After framing these topics, Bache then turned to the primary topic of the evening: The women, peace, and security agenda. To start, she talked about the dangers that women face in conflicts worldwide. While each armed conflict poses unique dynamics and affects genders differently, women are often victims of direct and indirect violence in conflict zones, causing the consequences of war to linger long after the cessation of fighting. For this reason, she noted the importance of the meaningful involvement of women in all matters of peace and security. For instance, the women in peace and security agenda focuses not only on preventing violence in conflict areas but also on the inclusion of women in negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. To do this, she noted the importance of national governments, transnational organizations, civil society, as well as the private sector in helping to solve global inequality and inequity and bolstering women's decision-making in all spheres of society.

Dr. Bache suggested that the private sector, particularly multinational corporations, has a significant role to play in the deepening of women's meaningful participation in all aspects of society by bolstering women's economic inclusion. She concluded with the statement that the private sector could no longer rely on a "do-no-harm" approach to gender inequality and inequity around the world. Likewise, she stated that opinion has begun to shift in legislators and among consumers to compel the private sector to take more significant action in bolstering gender equality and inclusion.

Full Audio:

Kathryn Knowles Women in International Affairs Lecture - Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda for Transformational Change

hosted by Professor Michael G. Plummer

Christina Bache
United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education, Working Group on Business for Peace

The event will be held in hybrid mode. SAIS Europe students, faculty, and staff are allowed to attend in person in the Penthouse. External guests are welcome to participate by registering for the online webinar using the link below.


On September 18, 2018 Kathryn Knowles, beloved alumna (B'01, 02), accomplished member of the SAIS Europe leadership team, and friend to many, passed away after a brief illness with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Kathryn loved working with students and excelled in her role as Associate Director of the European and Eurasian Studies program, leading study trips around the world, helping students to select the perfect sequence of courses, or coaching them to secure top internships. She challenged students to dream big and took great satisfaction in championing them to accomplish their goals. As Director of Public Affairs she worked tirelessly to promote SAIS Europe as a premier destination for the study of international relations. Kathryn helped to further strengthen the global reputation of the school by promoting cutting-edge faculty research, orchestrating events with high-profile speakers, and refining admissions material to attract top students.

The Kathryn Knowles Internship Fund commemorates the invaluable personal and professional contributions she made to the SAIS Europe community.


Christina Bache's professional interests in responsible business practices, livelihood security of vulnerable groups, forced migration, and the meaningful inclusion of women in fragile and conflict-affected environments are informed by her upbringing in an American military family in Texas. Her experience traveling and working in Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and the United States further shaped her understanding of the frameworks necessary to ensure people can live a life of dignity, free from fear and want.

Bache has held leadership roles in crucial stakeholder initiatives such as serving as Chair of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education, Working Group on Business for Peace, and as Co-Chair of the International Crisis Group's Ambassador Council. She has advised the European Parliament, the European People's Party, the Green Party, the International Labour Organisation, and the German Development Agency in the fields of development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, including women's meaningful inclusion in peace and transition processes.

Currently, she is a research affiliate at Queen's University and an adjunct faculty member at the Brussels School of Governance. Previously, she was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, IDEAS, and a visiting fellow with the Wilfred Martens Centre for European Studies.

Bache is Co-Founder of the Women in Foreign Policy Turkey Chapter, Administrator of the Syria Support Network, member of the network for Academic Friends of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, Hollings Center's working groups on Profits to Peace, Iraq's Foreign Policy and Economic Challenges, and U.S.-Egypt Relations, the Research Center on Gender, Diversity, and Intersectionality at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Middle East Research Network on Internal Displacement, and Migration, Business and Society.

Bache received her PhD from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Her dissertation focused on the impact of the Turkish private sector on human (economic) security and peace in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She received her MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and BA in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.
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