Group Captain Leah Griffin (Group Captain R&S), People Operations Profession, has become the first RAF officer to participate in the international Peace with Women Fellowship.
The programme, which brings together senior female military officers from NATO countries, was originally launched in 2018 by the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), the world’s leading security conference for democracies. Its aim is to increase women’s leadership in international security affairs.
This year’s programme began in Washington DC in October 2022, giving Fellows the chance to meet officials from the U.S. government, civil society, the media, and the private sector, providing invaluable context for the weeks ahead. Participants also travelled to San Francisco, where they held discussions at Stanford University, focusing on Africa, Asia, nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, and technological innovation.
The second part of the programme took place in Canada, with the group meeting Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. In Toronto, they focused on technology-security and spent time at the Canadian Forces College discussing gender mainstreaming and sharing insights on the role of culture in professional military education. Additionally, Fellows participated in a NATO arctic crisis simulation facilitated by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
Finally, Fellows joined global delegates to participate in the 2022 HFX, which addresses the world’s most pressing security challenges. This year’s Forum focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and included an address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from Ukraine.
The Fellows were fortunate to conduct side-meetings on wide ranging topics including disinformation; cyber strategies; rearming allied economies; turning sanctions into strategy; and finding meaning in Europe.
It was a privilege to participate in the Fellowship and to engage with global allies whose initiatives have advanced the participation of women in national security; the strong bonds developed throughout the Programme with inspiring leaders have developed an alumni network that will endure for years ahead.
Group Captain Griffin