Regional center alumni event tackles gender issues
Dr. Petra Weyland speaks to Macedonian alumni. (Courtesy Photo)

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- A gathering of alumni of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Macedonia examined a recently discussed United Nations declaration and its importance in the region.

The roundtable discussion “Gender Issues in the Security Sector” drew 70 participants to the Army House in Skopje, Macedonia Oct. 3 and was sponsored by the Macedonian Alumni Association. Dr. Petra Weyland, Marshall Center professor, served as the keynote speaker.

Officials said Macedonian alumni chose the topic in light of UN Declaration 1325 on gender equality, first formulated in 2000, and highlighted at the NATO Summit in Chicago May 20-21. As part of the summit declaration, NATO reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of the UN resolution and to “further advance and to fully integrate gender perspectives into Alliance activities.”

“The purpose of this event was to provide the Marshall Center alumni association an opportunity to educate the security sector in Macedonia on this topic and exchange information on regional perspectives as well as local practices,” said Dean Dwigans, chief of alumni programs at the Marshall Center.

Following Weyland’s speech, a panel of local and regional experts convened. Police and ministry of defense officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia participated.

Dwigans said the panel discussed practical ways of integrating gender mainstreaming into the security sector outlined recommendations to security institutions and policy makers. 

“By holding this roundtable the alumni association hoped to better integrate gender issues into security sector reform and to provide the rationale for this as a means to strengthen the process,” Dwigans said. “All of the speakers emphasized the need for regional cooperation in order to build trust and ensure long-term stability.”