The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination's Project on Gender in the Global Community hosted a panel discussion, "Women Leaders in International Relations and Peace Building," on Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall, on the Princeton University Campus. The panel included H.E. Dr. Ursula Plassnik, former Foreign Minister of Austria; Alison Boden, Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University; Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Tamar S. Hermann, Political Scientist at the Open University of Israel, currently a Visiting Professor at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School; Amaney Jamal, Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University; and Nannerl Keohane, Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Affairs and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. The panel was chaired by LISD Director Wolfgang Danspeckgruber. It was the final on-campus event held as part of Ursula Plassnik's week-long practitioner's visit to LISD.
Ursula Plassnik is a lawyer and career diplomat who is actively engaged in promoting the international causes of women and who pays particular attention to questions relating to the dialogue of cultures and religions. Since December 2008 she has been a member of the Austrian Parliament, and has served as Special Envoy for International Women’s Issues at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. From 2004-2008 she was Austria’s Foreign Minister, and in March 2007 was reappointed Federal Minister for European and International Affairs. From 1997 to 2004, Plassnik served in the Austrian Federal Chancellery, first as Cabinet Chief for Vice-Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, and from 2000-2004 continued in the Federal Chancellery when Schüssel was Chancellor. She served in the Directorate for Economic Policy and EU Coordination at the Austrian Foreign Ministry from 1994-2000, and eventually served as Head of the Directorate for the General Affairs Council and the European Council. From 1990 to 1993, Plassnik worked in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Secretariat Office of the Secretary General to promote cooperation between the EFTA and the European Parliament. Since beginning her career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1981, Plassnik held several postings abroad, including as Ambassador to Switzerland and Spain. She served as Austrian Representative to the Council of Europe from 1987 to 1990. She received her law degree from the University of Vienna in 1978, and earned a post-graduate diploma from the College d'Europe in Bruges, Belgium. On November 4, 2009, Plassnik received the Officer's Cross of the French legion d'honneur, bestowed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, for her work for the EU and for her friendship with France.
Alison Boden serves as Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton university. An actress before turning to ministry, Boden also earned a diploma from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. She has since served as Dean of the Chapel and Sr. Lecturer at the University of Chicago and as University Chaplain at Bucknell University. Her writing and teaching interests have focused on such topics as human rights and religion, religion and violence, religion in the academy, and a variety of social justice issues. She is the author ofWomen's Rights and Religious Practice (Palgrave, 2007) and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Haleh Esfandiari is director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Her areas of expertise are democratic and political developments in the Middle East, Middle Eastern women's issues, and contemporary Iranian intellectual currents and politics. She is the former Deputy Secretary General of the Women's Organization of Iran. From 1995-1996 she was a fellow at the Wilson Center, and from 1980-1994 taught Persian language and literature Princeton University. She is a frequent lecturer on current Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs, and was a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Grant. Her recent publications include "Why 'Soft' Power in Iran Is Counterproductive," co-author with Robert S. Litwak, "Held in My Homeland," and "A View from the Region: Different Perspectives on Israel's War with Lebanon's Hizbullah."
Tamar S. Hermann is a political scientist at the Open University of Israel and a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute where she heads the project on Israeli democracy and the emergence of grassroots (anti) politics. Presently, she is a visiting professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Between 1994 and 2006 she was the Director of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University and between 2006 and 2009, the Dean of Academic Studies of the Open University. Herman's main academic fields of interest are grassroots politics, political protest, peace activism, public opinion and foreign policymaking, and Israeli politics. Her latest book, The Israeli Peace Movement: A Shattered Dream, was recently published by Cambridge University Press.
Amaney Jamal is an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University. Her current research focuses on democratization and the politics of civic engagement in the Middle East. She extends her research to the study of Muslim and Arab Americans, examining the pathways that structure their patterns of political and civic engagement in the US. Jamal has written two books. The first book, Barriers to Democracy, explores the role of civic associations in promoting democratic effects in the Middle East. Her second book, an edited volume with Nadine Naber (University of Michigan) looks at the patterns and influences of Arab and Muslim American racialization processes. She is writing a third book on citizenship in the Arab world. Jamal is principal investigator of "Mosques and Civic Incorporation of Muslim Americans," funded by the Muslims in New York Project at Columbia University; co-PI of the "Detroit Arab American Study," a sister survey to the Detroit Area Study, funded by the Russell Sage Foundation; co-PI of the Arab Barometer Project, and Senior Advisor on the Pew Research Center Project on Islam in America, 2006. In 2005, Jamal was named a Carnegie Scholar.
Nannerl Keohane is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Affairs and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She writes and teaches in political philosophy, leadership and feminist theory. She has served as president of Wellesley College (1981-1993) and Duke University (1993-2004). She is the author of Philosophy and the State in France, and co-edited Feminist Theory: A Critique of Ideology. She has been vice-president of the American Political Science Association, and on the editorial boards of The American Political Science Review, Ethics, Political Theory and Signs. Keohane has taught at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University. She won the Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and chaired the Faculty Senate at Stanford, and has three times been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, on whose board she now serves. She is also a member of the Harvard Corporation, and chairs the Board of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Her current research interests concern leadership and inequality, including gender issues.