Julia Schiwal is a program specialist with the religion and inclusive societies program at USIP.

Before joining USIP in 2019, she worked at George Washington University, volunteered with local transgender organizations and supported the Xinjiang Victims Database.

Schiwal is a historian, researcher and writer. Her writing has touched on peace and conflict, the complicated legacies of colonialism, the idea of winning “hearts and minds,” transgender and gay history, and Afghanistan’s rich legal and Islamic past.

She is leading USIP’s Religious Women Negotiating on the Frontlines project and building a pragmatic approach to gender and sexual minority advocacy in collaboration with partners and friends around Washington.

She has a bachelor’s in humanities and religion from the University of Montana and a master’s in Central Asian studies from George Washington University. She was awarded a 2021 John. F Richards Research Fellowship by the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies to study gender and sexual minorities in Afghan history.

Publications By Julia

A Democratic Ukraine Must Include All LGBTQ+ People

A Democratic Ukraine Must Include All LGBTQ+ People

Monday, July 18, 2022

By: Asmik Arutyunyan;  Julia Schiwal

As Ukraine fights for survival, it has relaxed some barriers to the social inclusion of gay, lesbian and other gender and sexual minorities—for example, welcoming some gay people into its armed forces. Yet this change should be expanded and made permanent. Often countries recruit marginalized minorities during wartime emergencies only to revive old practices of exclusion in peacetime. The more inclusive democracy that Ukraine aspires to, and that its transatlantic allies support bringing into full membership of Europe, will require transformations in laws, institutions and social norms for the equal inclusion of Ukrainian gender and sexual minorities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderHuman Rights

Exploring the Nexus of Religion and Gender and Sexual Minorities

Exploring the Nexus of Religion and Gender and Sexual Minorities

Monday, February 28, 2022

By: Jason Klocek, Ph.D.;  Julia Schiwal

Peacebuilders and practitioners have long recognized that knowledge of local contexts leads to more practical and effective programming. However, knowledge of unique gender and sexual identities, as well as cultural practices, has been mostly absent from the long list of cultural dynamics that are assessed when looking at local peacebuilding contexts — despite often holding deeply important symbolic, religious and political meanings. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

ReligionGender

Why Gender and Sexual Minority Inclusion in Peacebuilding Matters

Why Gender and Sexual Minority Inclusion in Peacebuilding Matters

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

By: Julia Schiwal;  Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

A society cannot be considered peaceful when certain groups within it experience targeted and ongoing forms of violence and discrimination. Despite this recognized importance of inclusivity, gender and sexual minorities (GSM) remain largely invisible in peacebuilding. Even in the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, which has become a significant entry point for addressing gender dynamics in peacebuilding, GSM rights, protection and participation are also inadequately addressed. The absence of established norms for and approaches to GSM inclusion means that it is incumbent on peacebuilders to think more intentionally about why and how GSM can be included.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderPeace Processes

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