DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen accepts his award Wednesday.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen accepts his award Wednesday.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen accepted the 2014 Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security in the Lohrfink Auditorium on Wednesday morning after he was unable to attend the initial eremony on Feb . 25

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and honorary founder of the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security, held the first ceremony Feb. 25, where British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Congolese Hospital Director Denis Mukwege received their awards.

After accepting the award from University President John J. DeGioia on Wednesday, Rasmussen delivered remarks about the advancement of women worldwide and NATO’s reaction to the current antagonism between Russia and Ukraine.

“If women do not play an active part in making peace and keeping peace, then the needs and interests of half of the world’s population are not taken into account,” Rasmussen said. “It is vital that we continue to develop our understanding of how women are affected by conflict and how they can be a prominent part of the resolution, not sometimes but every time.”

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, outlined Rasmussen’s accomplishments in her opening remarks. Rasmussen was honored for his leadership in creating a NATO action plan on women, peace and security and for his commitment to the implementation of this plan.

“It is for his exemplary leadership at NATO in advancing women, peace and security that we honor him today,” Verveer said.

In 2012, Rasmussen appointed Norwegian diplomat Mari Skåre as the first special representative for Women, Peace and Security.

“He has boldly led NATO’s efforts to integrate women, peace and security into the alliance’s operation. … He understands that women are agents of change and drivers of progress, not just victims and survivors,” Clinton said of Rasmussen at the award ceremony last month.

In his remarks, Rasmussen discussed the growing influence of women in Afghanistan in roles related to peace and security.

“We have helped Afghan women and girls to exercise their rights and, increasingly, also to shape the future of their country,” Rasmussen said.

He outlined the role of Afghan women in providing lines of communications to communities that are not open to male soldiers, in consulting with commanders about specific health and education needs of women and girls and in providing a female perspective in security decisions. Additionally, Afghan women are becoming increasing active in the Afghan military and police forces.

“Over 2,000 women are now part of the security forces. That may not sound like many, but for a country like Afghanistan, it is a visible change for the better,” Rasmussen said.

Afghan Ambassador to the United States Eklil Ahmad Hakimi was in attendance.

Rasmussen said that women’s input in security decisions is vital due to the way that conflict affects women.

“Armed conflict often hits women and children harder than men. They lose access to basic services, to education and economic opportunities and increasingly, they are subjected to sexual violence,” Rasmussen said. “The harsh reality is that, in many conflict areas today, it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier.”

Although Rasmussen’s remarks focused primarily on the advancement of women around the world and the growing role of females in NATO, he briefly discussed the events currently unfolding between Russia and Ukraine, which he expounded on at the Brookings Institution later that day.

Rasmussen condemned the Russian annexation of Crimea, stating that Russia’s disruption of European security was inappropriate.

“Recent events in Ukraine have shown that we cannot take that security and stability for granted and that we need to stand up for our values. We have seen Russia rip up the international rulebook, trying to redraw the map of Europe and creating in just a few weeks the most serious security crisis since the end of the Cold War,” Rasmussen said. “This sort of behavior goes against international norms and it simply has no place in the 21st century.”

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