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Removing the Silos Around Girls’ Education, National Security, and Child Marriage

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Girls take the final examination of their primary school in Sanaa, Yemen, June 2013 (Courtesy Khaled Abdullah/Reuters). Girls take the final examination of their primary school in Sanaa, Yemen, June 2013 (Courtesy Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

In the lead up to the announcement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September, I had the opportunity to host a conversation with Julia Gillard, chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former prime minister of Australia, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Female Police Face Danger in Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell
A female Afghan National Police (ANP) officer gives instructions during a patrol training session, at a training center near the German Bundeswehr army camp in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, December 2012 (Courtesy Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters). A female Afghan National Police (ANP) officer gives instructions during a patrol training session, at a training center near the German Bundeswehr army camp in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, December 2012 (Courtesy Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters).

As Afghanistan works to maintain stability in the wake of the U.S. drawdown, I have consistently written about the unique challenges faced by women and girls in the changing security landscape. One strategy that I—and other commentators on Afghanistan—have called for to ensure the safety of women and girls and the continued expansion of women’s rights is the greater inclusion of women in the Afghan police force.

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White House Summit Embraces Women’s Rights to Counter Violent Extremism

by Catherine Powell
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Washington, DC, February 2015 (Courtesy Joshua Roberts/Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Washington, DC, February 2015 (Courtesy Joshua Roberts/Reuters).

Last week, the White House sponsored an international summit on strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE), focusing on groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Among the strategies suggested to mitigate radicalization, President Obama listed an increased emphasis on human rights and democracy: “That means free elections where people can choose their own future, and independent judiciaries that uphold the rule of law, and police and security forces that respect human rights, and free speech and freedom for civil society groups.”

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Five Ways to Engage the Private Sector in Countering Violent Extremism

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video released by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video obtained by Reuters (Courtesy Reuters/FBI/Handout via Reuters). A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video released by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video obtained by Reuters (Courtesy Reuters/FBI/Handout via Reuters).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Dr. Khalid Koser, executive director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

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UN Reports Rising Attacks on Girls’ Education

by Catherine Powell
A girl reads from the board in a home-based school in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 2001 (Courtsey Damir Sagolj/Reuters). A girl reads from the board in a home-based school in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 2001 (Courtsey Damir Sagolj/Reuters).

Attacks on girls’ schools and female students have appeared in the headlines regularly in recent years, from the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram to the assassination attempt on student and girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai.

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Police Corruption: A Threat to Afghan Stability, a Threat to Afghan Women

by Catherine Powell
A policeman stands in front of a car window, which has been hit by a bullet, after clashes with protesters in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 31, 2015 (Courtesy Mohammad Ismail/Reuters). A policeman stands in front of a car window, which has been hit by a bullet, after clashes with protesters in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 31, 2015 (Courtesy Mohammad Ismail/Reuters).

This week, the New York Times reported that 32 officers of the Afghan National Police (ANP) in the Kunduz province are under suspicion in an ongoing investigation for corruption and ties to the Taliban. The report details harrowing crimes committed by police in Kunduz, including the kidnapping of children and rape of the citizens they are meant to protect.

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John Kerry and Pakistani Counterparts Must Look Beyond a Narrow Terror Framework

by Catherine Powell
Girls carry their school bags as they walk along a road while heading to their school after it reopened in Peshawar, Pakistan, on January 12, 2015 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez). Girls carry their school bags as they walk along a road while heading to their school after it reopened in Peshawar, Pakistan, on January 12, 2015 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez).

As Pakistan continues to reel from December’s horrific school attack, its government has initiated a crackdown on terror across the nation and instituted new security measures at schools. Last week, the Army Public School in Peshawar—site of the massacre that left over 150 dead—was reopened to students.

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A Broader Definition of Security in Post-2014 Afghanistan

by Catherine Powell
U.S. Marines lower their flag during a handover ceremony, as the last U.S. Marines unit and British combat troops end their Afghan operations, in Helmand, Afghanistan, October 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani ). U.S. Marines lower their flag during a handover ceremony, as the last U.S. Marines unit and British combat troops end their Afghan operations, in Helmand, Afghanistan, October 26, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Omar Sobhani ).

Earlier this month, the United States and NATO lowered the flags over their mission in Kabul in the first of two ceremonies that mark the end of the international combat mission in Afghanistan. Over the next few weeks, foreign troops in Afghanistan will be transitioning to a training and support role.

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Despite Pakistan School Attack, Malala’s Dream “Will Never Be Defeated”

by Catherine Powell
Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Paksitan, December 16, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez). Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Paksitan, December 16, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Khuram Parvez).

This morning, Pakistani Taliban militants armed with guns and explosives stormed a school in Peshawar. After an eight-hour battle with security forces, over 140 students and teachers were dead. This terrorist attack is the largest Pakistan has seen since 2007—when 134 people were killed at a rally for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, it is also part of a larger trend of Taliban attacks on Pakistani schools, school children, and teachers.

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Lady Health Workers in Pakistan: On the Front Line and Under Fire

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A polio vaccinator administers polio vaccine drops to a boy while a colleague takes notes nearby in Karachi, Pakistan, October 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Akhtar Soomro). A polio vaccinator administers polio vaccine drops to a boy while a colleague takes notes nearby in Karachi, Pakistan, October 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Akhtar Soomro).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Maxine Builder, a research associate for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.  

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