During my second year of law school, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean for International Programs at Penn Law. She encouraged me to intern at UN Women, even though that meant commuting from Philadelphia to New York City for four months. Totally worth it.
While all this was happening, I was enrolled in Rangita’s International Women’s Human Rights seminar. In this seminar, we focused on the international human rights system as it relates to the protection and promotion of women, which included very interesting debates about discrimination, equality, the public-private divide, cultural practices/cultural relativism and mainstreaming human rights. At the close of the seminar, we presented our research during a forum at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.
In my report, I discussed the power of cross-cutting coalitions in combating and addressing sexual violence against women during wartime and post-conflict. Through the case study of Japanese and Korean women’s organizing around the “comfort women” issue, the paper argues that cross-cutting coalitions and transnational movements are integral elements of the peace-building process. The paper therefore advocates for stronger cross-cutting coalitions and transnational movements in building peace, resolving conflict, countering violent extremism, and maintaining security post-conflict.