By West Point Cadet Ashley Justice, Class of 2014February 16, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 16, 2011) -- Cadets from the Margaret Corbin Forum and West Point Negotiation Project recently participated at the Institute for Inclusive Security's annual policy forum.
The Institute for Inclusive Security focuses on advocating inclusion of all people, especially women in advocating for peace processes. Cadets sat with some of the leading advisers and offered helpful insight to problems women face as mediators today.
Some of the issues that surfaced during the seminar were urging women to take part in more technical and operations positions in the field of mediating, how to encourage more women to become involved in political positions, and how to link mediators from all over the world in a manner that would reduce the amount of danger they could be put in by their counterparts.
A key insight cadets pulled from the forum was tied to The Institute for Inclusive Security concept note that stated "Mediators don't represent parties to a conflict.
"They [mediators] can lead the way to comprehensive and sustainable peace," West Point Class of 2013 Cadet Luke Hutchison said. "The conference on Inclusive Security, including women in the peace building process, was both very informative and eye opening. It seems like common sense but the fact is women make up half the population but are rarely brought to the negotiations table. It only makes sense then that when half the population is left out, the agreement is probably going to fail, or at best be poorly followed through on."
Cadets also learned that the critical role of women as mediators should not be overlooked; they should not only focus on issues that affect women, but also topics that concern children, lower class citizens, and humanitarian efforts.
The Margaret Corbin Forum seeks to discuss officership, leadership, and gender issues in the corps and Army through panels, discussions and lectures on topics to share experiences and knowledge of these aspects as stated on their site.
The Margaret Corbin Forum was created in memory of Margaret Cochran Corbin, the first woman to receive pension by the U.S government after firing canons during the Revolutionary war in place of her enlisted husband who was shot and killed.
WPNP serves to enhance the ability of U.S. Army small unit leaders to conduct negotiations in the complex and challenging situations they face in both combat and peace through Army outreach, research, publications, and collaboration within the West Point community.
The project was established in 2009 as a result of feedback from graduates seeing an increased need for leaders to be taught the art and science of negotiation. Through the support of the academy and partners, WPNP is able to educate Army leaders on topics that greatly battlefield effectiveness.