On Friday morning, students flocked to Gaston Hall—some having camped out the night before—in order to hear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton present the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security.
The Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards are presented annually by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) to recognize the role of women in international issues of peace and security. This year four individuals—Humberto De la Calle, María Paulina Riveros, Elena Ambrosi and Jineth Bedoya—were honored for their work in bringing peace to Colombia following a prolonged era of violence and conflict.
Clinton argued that the results of the Colombian peace negotiations could not have been achieved without women playing a part in the resolution process.
“While conflict raged and efforts to stop the violence failed, women not only took their places at the table, they opened up the peace process to women across Colombia,” Clinton said.
The peace process in Colombia, however, is not the first issue that has brought Clinton to Georgetown’s campus. As an advocate for the role of women in international peacebuilding, she helped to launch GIWPS in 2011.
“We came here to Georgetown to declare that the issue of women’s full participation in peace and security could no longer be delegated to the margins of international affairs,” she said.
On Friday, Clinton focused her attention on not only the past accomplishments achieved by women on these issues but also the future of women’s participation.
“If we are to build more just, free, peaceful countries and indeed a world, it’s not just enough to pay lip service to empowering women,” Clinton said. “We have to take seriously their concerns and give them the tools to be equal partners in shaping the world they inhabit.”
Clinton expanded her call to action beyond GIWPS and called on the current administration to enhance the role of women and peacebuilding worldwide.
“I am pleading that our government will continue its leadership role on behalf of peace in the world because the world must continue this work with or without US involvement.”
Clinton’s plea was met with loud applause from the audience.
“The choice is ours to make,” she concluded. “Will we fall behind? Or will we continue to lead the way?”