ROSE GOTTEMOELLER Rose Gottemoeller (SLL ’75), left, received the International Trailblazer Award from the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security for her work with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Rose Gottemoeller (SLL ’75), deputy secretary general and highest-ranking civilian woman in North Atlantic Treaty Organization, received the International Trailblazer Award from the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security on Sept. 26.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of GIWIPS, and Shehrazade Semsar-de Boisseson, a member of the Georgetown University board of directors, presented the International Trailblazer Award, which honors those who further women’s roles in peace and security. Last week’s ceremony in Brussels was attended by NATO representatives, European Union officials and Georgetown alumni, as well as Gottemoeller’s family, friends and co-workers.

“Our mission is to focus on those individuals who have played a leading role, a pioneering role—a trailblazing role, if you will—in furthering women’s engagement in peace and security.” Verveer said in an interview with The Hoya.

Gottemoeller is the highest-ranking civilian woman in NATO’s history and has been working as the deputy security general of the organization since 2016. Her career has included posts as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security and the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, among other positions.

“She is the deputy secretary general. There’s never been a woman in that role, so she is already blazing a trail by being in that position,” Verveer said. “The affection for Rose is palpable. People truly respect and admire her and understand the quality of her leadership.”

Throughout her career, Gottemoeller advocated for gender equality.

“NATO has been the most successful military alliance throughout history, but attention to the role of women in security has not always been at the top of NATO’s priority list,” Gottemoeller said in a Sept. 26 GIWPS news release.

As Deputy Security General, Gottemoeller pushed NATO to reinvigorate its efforts to include women in conversations about national security. Her efforts have led to the deployment of “Gender Advisers” to bolster female participation in NATO-led initiatives.

“She has been a role model, she has acknowledged that women have been underrepresented in the security sector. That is beginning to change, and her example is certainly an impetus for change” Verveer said. “Peace and security is not a women’s issue. It’s an issue that affects all of us and women’s engagement with the issue is for the benefit of all of society.”

Throughout Gottemoeller’s time with the organization, NATO increased its focus on the role that women can play in the security sector. With this comes an increased number of female leaders in NATO and in politics around the world.

“I think it is a time to think very positively and embrace these opportunities with confidence,” Verveer said.

Gottemoeller’s acceptance of the Trailblazer Award is also memorable because of her status as a Georgetown University alumna.

“This was the first time her rather extraordinary achievement has been noted through a special award by the University,” Verveer said. Her alumna status, “made [the ceremony] that much more special.”

Past recipients of the International Trailblazer Award include First Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Gerashchenko; co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition Monica McWilliams; and Burmese human rights activist May Sabe Phyu.

“They’ve been women who in their professional work, or in their work at NGOs, have really demonstrated extraordinary leadership in peace and security,” Verveer said about the recipients. “In giving these awards, we hope it says these issues matter.”

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