Yesterday afternoon I had the unique privilege of introducing Margot Wallstrom, the Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict at the United Nations, at a seminar for transatlantic challenges organized by the American Chamber of Commerce.
Unfortunately, even in today’s modern world, rape continues to be a tool of political intimidation and warfare. Empowering women in conflict zones to speak out against these atrocities is “a human rights issue, not a women’s issue,” according to Wallstrom. Consequently, global peace and stability will never occur until we empower women to have a seat at the negotiating table in peacekeeping efforts.
Wallstrom is an innovative leader who has made her own path in her career, and never chosen the easiest or most accepted route. She molded her work to fit her convictions, her family life and her creativity, and has mentored younger women to lead from a place of authenticity like as well.
Wallstrom shared the stage with Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Criminal Division who was introduced first by Mark. Lanny delineated his work on enforcing anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, and the historic uptick of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecutions under the Obama Administration.
Although the work Lanny and Margot do seems to have little in common on the surface, in fact, both of them are fighting for human dignity, fairness and democratic values. In the wake of the Arab Spring, there is an outcry for transparency and fair treatment of all individuals and this is the common thread evident in both Margot and Lanny’s work.