Error message

Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast is the director of Gender Policy and Strategy at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she has worked since 2008. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As a socio-cultural anthropologist, Kuehnast has focused on the different gendered impacts of violence and conflict on both men and women. In addition, her efforts have focused on the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, including the critical role women should play in all aspects of peacebuilding. In this capacity, Kuehnast co-edited the volume, “Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century” (2011). She has been a part of the international vanguard of introducing the concept of engaging men in conflict countries in the championing of women’s rights.

Prior to USIP, Kuehnast worked 15 years in the international development field, primarily with the World Bank, where her role as a senior social scientist included research and project management on the thematic streams of women and poverty, social capital and community driven development in fragile and post-conflict societies. Kuehnast’s regional expertise is Central Asia, where she lived for several years in the post-Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan completing her doctoral dissertation research, which resulted in a number of publications on the impact of post-Soviet transition on Muslim women, including the co-edited volume, “Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition: Nation Building, Economic Survival, and Civic Activism” (2004).

Dr. Kuehnast is a recipient of the post-doctorate Mellon Foreign Fellowship at the Library of Congress, and also a former post-doctorate Kennan Institute Fellow at the Wilson Center. Kuehnast is the 2015 recipient of the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. Kuehnast holds a doctorate in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Publications By Kathleen

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

When Mahatma Gandhi was leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921, he advocated for women’s rights as key to modernizing Indian society. He understood that you cannot change a society peacefully without turning to women, half of the population, to make it happen. In an open letter in 1930, he wrote, “If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women.” It was a radical idea at the time to make women, who usually are invisible, visible. It’s still radical today.

Gender; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Gender and Fragility: Ensuring a Golden Hour

Gender and Fragility: Ensuring a Golden Hour

Thursday, November 10, 2016

By: Nora Dudwick & Kathleen Kuehnast; Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, st...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Gender

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.; Danielle Robertson

The fact that Afghanistan’s parliament has 69 female members, 27 percent of the total, illustrates the advances, albeit still tenuous, that are possible with determined efforts to support the protection and empowerment of women. At the same time, women worldwide still suffer disproportionately from conflict and violent extremism. In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, USIP has collected statistics and the observations of global leaders to illustrate hard-won achievements and the devastating gaps that remain.

Gender; Human Rights; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Unlearning Violence: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Unlearning Violence: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Monday, July 27, 2015

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…” So when we see steps toward justice and a narrative of hope returning to a country worn by violence and conflict, those of us in the peacebuilding field feel reinvigorated. We were fortunate to see an example on July 14, when the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo co-sponsored with USIP a discussion with that country’s Personal Representative of the President in Charge of the Fight Against Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment, Jeanine Mabunda Lioko Mudiayi.

Violent Extremism; Gender

The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Monday, March 23, 2015

By: Lauren Van Metre; Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.; Viola Gienger

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military operations in Eastern Ukraine have overturned the post–Cold War norms that had provided stability and development for the former Soviet countries bordering Russia. As neighboring countries assess their own security situation based on Russia’s aggressive practices in Ukraine and the West’s response, they are actively testing the new contours of Russian and Western engagement, regional alliances and relationships, and regional conflict dynamics.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Global Policy

View All