DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Kristin Alder, an instructor in the Women's Studies Program at the University of North Texas, has been appointed a United Nations representative for the U.S. section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, which began in 1915 and is the oldest, continuously active women's peace organization with sections in every region of the world. Alder is one of two American women selected for the job.
As a representative, Alder will advocate for WILPF's overall mission to end and prevent war, ensure that women are included at all levels in peacebuilding processes, defend the human rights of women, and promote social, economic and political justice.
In her new role, she will help shape directives concerning the U.N.'s policy framework on Women, Peace and Security, including the ongoing review of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, which resolves to increase and maintain the participation and representation of women at all levels of decision-making related to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, including post conflict processes, with attention to the special protection needs of women and girls in conflict.
"My own work as an activist and an academic examines the localization of U.N. SCR 1325 in countries like Columbia, Nepal and throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions," Alder said. "This process challenges traditional top-down, male-only, peacebuilding approaches and creates a space for traditionally unacknowledged voices."
Alder has been a member of the organization for four years. Her commitment to the program and women's advocacy deepened in 2010 when as a UNT graduate student of women's studies she was one of 20 female college students selected nationally to participate in a practicum on advocacy at the U.N. in conjunction with the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. She recalled the excitement of attending that event and witnessing firsthand the transnational women's movement, in which female representatives from 189 countries convened to review and advance the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which calls on international institutions, governments and non-governmental organizations to take action in the advancement of women's equality.
"The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has made a substantial difference throughout the U.N. system since it was given special consultative status 66 years ago. I look forward to not only continuing that tradition of influence but also to using what I learn in this new role to further my own research and advance my students' knowledge as well," Alder said.
Among the classes Alder teaches are Introduction to Women's Studies, which examines the ways in which sex, gender, race, class and sexuality merge and manifest themselves in social, cultural, and political contexts, and Contemporary Issues in Global Feminism, which last semester focused on the political economy of violence against women.
Women's Studies Program at UNT
UNT's Women's Studies Program within the College of Arts and Sciences offers an interdisciplinary experience that places gender at the center of scholarly inquiry. Courses address complex global gender issues such as peace-making efforts, human trafficking, access to development, lack of educational opportunities and human rights abuses. Throughout the program, students can explore how race, class, ethnicity, sexuality and culture impact women's lives. Students may pursue a minor in women's studies or a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in women's studies. Internships, study abroad opportunities and a monthly film series provide additional insight into the role gender plays in daily life.