On 6-7 November, Specialist Group “Ethnopolitics” co-sponsored a two-day workshop entitled “Power-Sharing Pacts and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda: Constructive Engagements” organized by Dr. Allison McCulloch (Brandon University) and Dr. Siobhan Byrne (University of Alberta) at the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict, Queen’s University Belfast. The workshop explored the extent to which power-sharing theories and practices can address new challenges emanating from the women, peace and security agenda, as embodied in UN Security Council Resolution 1325. With 2015 marking the 15-year anniversary of UNSCR 1325, the workshop addressed a number of timely questions, including: To what extent can power-sharing theories and practices accommodate the women, peace and security agenda? What impact has women, peace, and security activism and advocacy had on the negotiation and implementation of power-sharing pacts in war-torn societies? For societies emerging from conflict, how does power-sharing and the women, peace and security agenda intersect with transitional justice processes?
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and supplemented by the PSA Specialist Group “Pushing the Boundaries” funding, the workshop brought together scholars, postgraduate students and policy practitioners, with participants from Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, USA, Canada, and Cyprus. Fionnuala Ni Aolain gave the keynote address while Christine Bell, Siobhan Byrne, Maria-Adriana Deiana, Olga Demetriou, Maria Hadjipavlou, Caroline Hartzell, Bernadette Hayes, Allison McCulloch and John Nagle gave paper presentations, as did several outstanding postgraduate students. The workshop also featured a policy roundtable with politicians and community organizers from Northern Ireland. The panels evoked lively conversation on the constructive potential and enduring challenges of integrating the women, peace and security agenda with ethnopolitical power-sharing. Byrne and McCulloch plan to assemble an edited collection based on the conference proceedings.