Justice, Security, and Women’s Leadership: UN Women’s Priorities in Combatting Violence Against Women in Conflict

Event Date: 
Friday, June 7, 2013
Event Time: 
1:00 p.m.
Location: 
UN, Trusteeship Council Chamber

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination will co-sponsor a lecture and discussion, "Justice, Security, and Women’s Leadership: UN Women’s Priorities in Combatting Violence Against Women in Conflict," on Friday, June 7, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at the United Nations, Trusteeship Council Chamber. The featured speaker will be Lakshmi Puri, Acting Head of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. To attend the event, RSVP to the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the UN

A webcast of the lecture is available.

The event is part of a series of lectures and panels on the UN's Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, organized by LISD's program on Women in the Global Community, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, and the PeaceWomen Project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Over the past five years there have been important advances in the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325, including an increased focus by the Security Council on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence. In the spirit of UN SC resolution 1325 (2000),  UN Women is committed to ensuring that all efforts to implement the Security Council’s women, peace, and security resolutions are guided by a commitment to women’s leadership and gender equality. In her lecture, Puri will analyze recent normative and operational developments in the effort to prevent violence against women during and after conflict, review UN Women’s own contributions, and will argue that protection efforts are inseparable from efforts to empower women and build their leadership capacities. 

Lakshmi Puri is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and currently Acting Head of UN Women. Puri joined UN Women in March 2011, shortly after its creation. As a member of the senior leadership team, she actively contributed to the institutional development and consolidation of the entity, shaping its first Strategic Plan and positioning it as the leading organization for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. She steered UN Women’s engagement in major intergovernmental processes, such as the Rio+20 conference and the Commission on the Status of Women. She also led efforts to build strategic partnerships, particularly with civil society and women’s organizations, and oversaw the adoption and implementation of UN system-wide accountability and coherence systems for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Throughout her career, Puri has promoted the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda in various capacities in the context of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. She has extensive experience in economic and development policy-making covering trade, investment, migration and labour mobility, financial flows, environment and climate change, energy, agriculture and food security, universal access to essential services, intellectual property rights, and traditional knowledge, among other issues. Prior to joining UN Women, she was the Director of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, where she coordinated the preparations for the fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries which resulted in major outcomes, including the Istanbul Programme of Action and Political Declaration.

She joined the United Nations in 2002 as Director of the largest division at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Division of International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities. From 2007 to 2009, she served as UNCTAD’s Acting Deputy Secretary-General, providing strategic direction and oversight to the organization. She made an imprint on two major UNCTAD conferences in Brazil in 2004 and in Ghana in 2008. At UNCTAD, she also ensured that gender considerations were effectively mainstreamed in the trade and development agenda.

Puri joined the United Nations after a distinguished 28-year career with the Indian Foreign Service, where she held the rank of Permanent Secretary of the Government of India. As Ambassador of India to Hungary, concurrently accredited to Bosnia and Herzegovina, she worked closely with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Indian peacekeeping contingent, the largest in the Balkans. She also played an important role as a member of the Indian diplomatic team in brokering the Indo-Sri Lankan peace agreement in 1987 to end the country’s ethnic conflict and was involved in several aspects of the Indian peacekeeping operations and peace-building efforts that followed. Her work with the UN dates back to 1981, when she was a delegate to the Commission on Human Rights where she was involved in the negotiation of some key human rights conventions, notably during her postings in Geneva including as Deputy Permanent Representative. She dealt with a range of UN specialized agencies, as well as the World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO).

Puri has a Bachelor of Arts (honours) from Delhi University and a postgraduate degree from Punjab University, as well as professional diplomas. She studied history, public policy and administration, international relations and law, and economic development. She has contributed to policy-related research at think tanks and academic institutions and has been on the board of public policy institutions and companies.