October 1, 2022

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Departments of Justice and State Launch International Program to Support Women in Leadership Roles in Counterterrorism

16 min read

The Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and the Department of State’s Counterterrorism Bureau (DOS/CT) recently launched a new program to support women in leadership roles in counterterrorism.

The project, Engaging Multinational Police Women on Equality and Rights (EMPoWER), builds the capacity of women to combat terrorism by supporting them through leadership opportunities and inclusion in counterterrorism efforts. The EMPoWER Program conducted its first-ever regional symposium this week in Opatija, Croatia, drawing more than two dozen law enforcement participants from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Kenya.

“It is said that when it comes to terrorism, the world is small,” said ICITAP Director Gregory Ducot. “We recognize the need to increase the participation of women in counterterrorism law enforcement by educating leaders, creating opportunities for networking, and connecting with professional colleagues.”

“As leaders, we are supposed to listen to everyone around us,” said Samuel L. Pineda, Director of the Programs Office with DOS/CT. “We are supposed to empower people to be their best. And that’s what the EMPoWER Program is supposed to do: help us all become better through education, through support, and through operational networks that help us carry out our mission.”

“We hope that this is the first of many symposiums that not only help women to succeed in their role in the country-specific law enforcement agencies, but will also help U.S. counterterrorism efforts abroad,” said ICITAP Senior Law Enforcement Advisor – EMPoWER Lynn Holland.

The inaugural symposium in Croatia included executive law enforcement and counterterrorism subject matter experts, who provided weeklong advanced professional training.

Developing advanced training, providing mentorship programs, and offering insight into current trends in new technology are key elements for building the capacity of women engaged in combatting terrorism globally.

The EMPoWER Program plans to expand its initiatives in other regions, including Asia and Africa and the Middle East and serve as the beginning of the process of identifying and engaging up-and-coming  leaders in the field of counterterrorism in their respective countries. Consecutively, this initiative will lead to the creation of regional task forces in which selected leaders will engage in international collaboration, strategic communication, and information sharing with U.S. government agencies, jointly working toward the goal of countering terrorism on the global platform.

To learn more about ICITAP, visit: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-icitap.

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