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I have been entrusted with the role of Director of Operation 1325. A trust that I take very seriously and plan to manage with great care.  

I come from an international humanitarian background and have experience of working in conflict settings in different parts of the world. My work has included discussions with armed groups to ensure the safety and security of the operational activities and personnel for which I have been responsible. As a, relatively, young woman in these generally male dominated environments, I have encountered gender-based challenges, as well as advantages. Through an intersectional lens, my experiences become even more complex, since I was a representative of a major global actor with a prominent and strong voice, I had the benefit of expressing myself from what could be considered a position of power. 

These experiences enhance the contrast of my encounters with civilians – those who are often the most affected but have the least say in an armed conflict. For them, who’s everyday life, the past and the future are all influenced by the decisions and actions of others. Life itself has been taken hostage. These experiences have convinced me that the route to long-term and sustainable peace lies in the inclusion of grassroot actors, allowing all parts of society to have the opportunity to make their voices heard, both to build something new and to heal wounds. 

It was against this background that I decided to change paths, to use my knowledge and skills in a new way to contribute to the work of Operation 1325. I will focus on organising and structuring the practical aspects, and even more important continuing to build Operation 1325’s brand and network both nationally and internationally to create fruitful partnerships that benefit multiple actors – something I believe we can all gain from. Our joint work to strengthen women’s voice in peace processes continues to be relevant, especially considering the changing political climate in for instance Sweden, with shifting focus areas affecting both Sweden and our relationship with the world. 

Whether it concerns new armed conflicts such as Ukraine, or protracted armed conflicts such as in Palestine and Yemen (two of the contexts where Operation 1325 is active). Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and continue strengthening women’s voices both inside and outside our borders through our platforms and networks. If you’re reading this and want to know more or get further involved, get in touch and let’s explore how we can influence the peace agenda and support women’s participation.  

Looking forward to hearing from you / Anette Uddqvist