October 12, 2018

Participants from 23 countries gathered at the Columbia Global Center in Paris on October 5 and 6 as part of a workshop of the Women and Gender in Global Affairs Network (WGGA) convened by Yasmine Ergas, director of the Gender and Public Policy specialization at Columbia SIPA.

The workshop connected academics and researchers from nations including Kazakhstan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belgium, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Estonia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Turkey. Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities of the current moment. They explored teaching and research in relation to gender and global affairs, and approaches linking academia and practice. Discussion also centered on the power of networks. Possible future activities, strategies through which the space for academic work on gender can be reinforced, and the importance of continuing to educate future generations were highlighted.

The WGGA network was established to counter the pervasive backlash against gender equality and the study of gender relations. It seeks to strengthen the community of scholars, educators and researchers working on women and gender in global affairs, while reinforcing connections between academia and worlds of practice.

This initiative has been generously supported by the Compton Foundation and a broad range of partners, including the Columbia Global Centers, the Harriman Institute, ISERP, and SIPA. Michele Bornstein MIA ’15 and current students Jenise Ogle MPA ’19 and Anna Larsson MIA ’19 provided invaluable assistance.

“This was truly an invigorating event,” said Justine Shaw of the Global Dialogues in Women’s Empowerment in Eurasian Contexts Feminist Mentoring (WEF) Programme at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. “The breadth and variety of experiences discussed and displayed was stimulating and rich. I see multiple practicable and actionable ways in which I can contribute towards the network and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help build what promises to be an excellent resource.”

Building on this event’s momentum, WGGA will continue exploring key issues through webinars, meetings, and exchanges of resources.