A new initiative to advance women’s involvement, expertise, and leadership in Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding and Jewish communal affairs – the Women*, Peace & Security (WPS) Channel is being launched by IPF Atid, the young professionals program of Israel Policy Forum. The initiative’s kick-off event will take place on October 16 in Los Angeles.

The WPS Channel, working in parallel with similar efforts across the American Jewish and foreign policy communities, will operate through 2020, marking twenty years since UN Resolution 1325, which aspires to “ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels… for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.”

As of 2015, research shows that women made up only eight percent of negotiators in peace processes, five percent of witnesses and signatories, and two percent of mediators. The involvements of Israeli leader Tzipi Livni and Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi in past Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations unfortunately represent the exceptions in female participation in recent reconciliation processes, despite research indicating a 35% increased chance that agreements will last for at least 15 years when women are involved.

IPF Atid is a millennial-led network focused on elevating the discourse and mobilizing support for a viable two-state solution. “We will,” explained,  Rachel Wallace, an IPF Atid lay leader and the incoming IPF Atid WPS Chair, “work to: integrate gender parity in the content of every program and initiative undertaken, elevate women in leadership roles, deepen our relationships with relevant thought leaders and organizations, emphasize the value of all stakeholder participation, and advocate through op-eds and other related means for an increased focus on Women, Peace & Security issues in the Israeli-Palestinian context.”

“Given today’s polarized environment,” Wallace, who lives in Los Angeles, noted, “ it is critically important to have diverse voices involved at the table and to make a special inclusion of women. With IPF Atid staff and leadership, I look forward to introducing the WPS channel to Jewish and policy communities throughout the U.S.”

IPF Atid National Director Adam Basciano added, “We are excited to see how this new initiative  can help advance the conversation for a more peaceful future. I invite all young professionals who share the hope to join us.”

Wallace and Basciano will be speaking alongside Shira Efron (RAND) and Tabby Refael (30 Years After) at the initiative’s kick-off event on October 16 in Los Angeles. Young professionals can RSVP here and access more information on Facebook.

“I am inspired by the vision and leadership displayed by the IPF Atid community on this issue,” Susie Gelman, Chair of Israel Policy Forum, stated. “As an organization that is committed for the long haul to the vision of a Jewish, democratic, secure Israel, we welcome our Atid members’ involvement and innovative ideas to help take our work forward for years to come.”

*By “women,” we refer to cisgender women, trans women, and anyone who identifies with the term “woman.”

Click here to receive email updates from the WPS Channel and visit the homepage here, where you can access featured speakers lists, suggested policy and educational readings, and more.

Rachel Wallace is the incoming chair of IPF Atid’s Women, Peace & Security Channel. An active lay leader with Israel Policy Forum and other nonprofit organizations, she is a 2018 Charles Bronfman Convener and Los Angeles Steering Committee member with IPF Atid. Professionally, she serves as the Director of Outreach and Engagement at IsraAid US, overseeing their community and university partnerships, programs, and events. Previously, she worked for KIVUNIM and AJC ACCESS and is a board member of Jews Indigenous to Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA).