FAQ


What is Our Secure Future? 

Our Secure Future: Women Make the Difference (OSF) is a program of One Earth Future (OEF). OEF, co-founded in 2007 by Marcel Arsenault and Cynda Collins Arsenault, is a private operating foundation seeking to create a more peaceful world through collaborative, data-driven initiatives. As a program of OEF, we believe in peace through governance, and strive to catalyze systems that eliminate the root causes of war. We expect excellence, are relentlessly empirical, are stewards of the long term, and solve problems by engaging multiple stakeholders. 
 
Established as an OEF program in 2016, OSF supports the goals of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. As a result of consultations carried out during the first year of the program with multiple WPS stakeholders across the globe, we believe that developing a shared vision for the WPS agenda, collaborating on common narratives, and influencing new and existing funding sources to take a greater interest in women peacebuilders, are paramount to making progress in the field. 
 

What is your mission?

Our Secure Future’s mission is to strengthen the Women, Peace and Security movement in order to enable more effective policy decision-making for a more peaceful world. By strengthening the governance frameworks unique to WPS, OSF’s work ties directly to OEF’s mandate of peace through governance. Since the passage of UNSCR 1325 in October 2000, the WPS governance framework has expanded to include multiple General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, and to embrace the many existing legal obligations and policy commitments developed by the international community. Increasing the participation of women in decision-making in governance structures, and increasing the use of a gender perspective in international peace and security matters, are critical to achieving peace through governance.
 

How do you work?

We understand that funders influence policy agendas by choosing to put resources and time into certain topics and not others. Therefore, we also understand that we are playing a role in the broader policy field by acting as advocates of gender equality in international security decision-making, as well as by leveraging our resources along with the capacity, expertise, and talent of our partners.
Our Secure Future believes that women make the crucial difference in achieving more effective governance and lasting peace. OSF aims to strengthen the Women, Peace and Security movement by:
 
  • Amplifying women’s voices,
  • Strengthening the global network of women peacebuilders, and
  • Promoting committed action by multiple stakeholders to turn policy into practice.

Partnerships, collaboration, and bridge-building are ways to leverage the strengths of the few for the benefit of many. Our focus on the primacy of partnerships means that consultation with chronically marginalized groups, especially women, is a key activity for OSF. This group is our primary stakeholder. Our Secure Future is relationship-centered, and we have strict criteria for how we partner.

What are OSF’s criteria for partnerships?

  • Our Secure Future is not a grant-making organization.
  • We are interested in both contributing to and conducting our own cutting-edge research that shows thought leadership.
  • We support the convening of WPS-related events and women’s participation in those events.
  • We partner with organizations with established, credible, global networks of peacebuilders, and with others committed to advancing Women, Peace and Security.
  • We support the field through building technical capacity, co-sponsoring or convening events that create space to share good practices and great ideas to advance the WPS agenda.

Who do you collaborate with?

Some examples include:

  • Canadian Defence Academy
  • Carter Center
  • Center for Global Security Cooperation
  • Compton Foundation
  • Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, US Indo-Pacific Command
  • Denver University, Korbel School of International Studies, Inclusive Global  Leadership Initiative (IGLI)
  • Empower Peace
  • Georgetown University, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
  • Global Education Fund (GEF)
  • Global Greengrants
  • Inclusive Security
  • International Peace Institute
  • McCain Institute
  • Nobel Women’s Initiative
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Peace is Loud
  • Ploughshares Fund
  • Protect the People
  • United Nations Association
  • US Naval War College
  • Urgent Action Fund
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • SheEO
  • Strategy for Humanity
  • Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL), International Civil Society Action Netwok (ICAN)
  • Women in International Security (WIIS)
  • Women’s Middle East Leadership Network
  • Woodrow Wilson Center, Women in Public Service Project
  • World Pulse
  • US Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) on Women, Peace and Security (member, ongoing)

Our Secure Future collaborates frequently with members of its Advisory Committee and with its fellows and contractors.

OSF’s Advisory Committee members advise OSF’s director and staff on issues relating to program development and advancement and on strategic thinking. They also occasionally represent OSF at various conferences and events. The OSF Advisory Committee consists of the following members:

OSF works closely with its fellows and consultants, who assist the program in conducting research, in project planning and implementation, and by doing outreach on behalf of the program around the United States. As of 2018, OSF is proud to partner with the following experts on Women, Peace and Security:

  • Mirsad “Miki” Jacevic
  • Jolynn Shoemaker, Esq.
  • Ambassador Donald Steinberg
  • Sarah Williamson

In addition to the above list, Our Secure Future continues to grow its relationships with other individuals and organizations. We anticipate this list will continue to expand as our program gains momentum over the coming years.

What are some examples of OSF’s convenings?

We use our convening power to strengthen the global network of women peacebuilders and women-led organizations working on international peace and security issues. We do this by bringing together multiple actors across sectors to foster new avenues of collaboration.

These gatherings are an opportunity to provide space for long-term strategic thinking about Women, Peace and Security policy and practice. We try to ensure that women peacebuilders represent a significant portion of our participants. This supports our goal of amplifying women’s voices in international peace and security decision-making because we are able to:

  1. Capture women peacebuilders’ analysis and perspectives.
  2. Connect women peacebuilders to the larger policy and practitioner community.
  3. Share their views, expertise and analysis with multiple stakeholders who may have had limited engagement, both with women peacebuilders, and with the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Some examples of recent convenings include:

Designing Our Secure Future: In its inaugural year Our Secure Future, along with partner Nobel Women’s Initiative, brought together 20 peacemakers from all over the world at the Strathmere Retreat Center near Ottawa, Canada. During the convening we worked together using methods drawn from futurists, scenario planners, and storytellers. We anchored our future scenario planning in the forces that shaped the current environment. We also imagined what the future might hold. Together we began to shape a more desirable future in which a WPS community of practice plays a key role.
 
Women, Peace and Security Curriculum Consortium: In partnership with Peace is Loud and the Naval War College, Our Secure Future brought together 26 academics, military officials, and policy practitioners for a half-day WPS Curriculum Consortium. We identified an increasing number of educational and training resources available on Women, Peace and Security, coupled with a lack of information sharing between sectors, and the increased demand by students who want to study WPS and learn to implement it in their current and future work. Therefore, we hope to initiate a conversation about the challenges and benefits of a common understanding of teaching WPS. Furthermore, we hope to strengthen the network of academics and practitioners working on Women, Peace and Security, through exploration, dialogue, sharing of resources, and challenging our existing expectations. 
 

What are some examples of your research?

Our Secure Future conducts independent research to narrow existing information gaps in the field. We focus on producing actionable research to influence policy-making in international peace and security. The use of a gender perspective is a core element of all our research and we are informed and guided by the needs of the field. Activists, academics, policymakers, and security actors all contribute to our understanding of how to enhance our collective vision of Women, Peace, and Security. We consult with our partners regularly for their feedback on what is needed to support the work of multiple actors who are engaged in implementing Women, Peace and Security policies and programs globally.
 
For example, OSF produced an independent expert study titled Not the Usual Suspects, in which we analyze the challenges and opportunities when engaging male leaders in the field of Women, Peace and Security. By conducting a series of over 50 individual interviews, Our Secure Future, in partnership with Jolynn Shoemaker, Senior Consultant on International Affairs and Gender Equality, have been able collect the perspectives and experiences of men who demonstrate personal commitment to promoting gender equality in peace and security policy and practice. This report is a first step in collecting the views of men who are engaging and supportive of WPS related gender equality goals.
 
In Spring 2018, OSF, in partnership with Peace Is Loud and the US Naval War College, released Grooming the Next Generation of Foreign Policymakers: Women, Peace and Security in Practice. The policy brief, based on the inaugural Women, Peace and Security Curriculum Consortium, outlines key findings and recommendations from experts in the field who have worked or are currently working to develop and implement WPS curricula at their own institutions. This brief is a first step toward developing a baseline for WPS curricula and identifying core competencies that should be included in all WPS education or training programs.

Other recent publications include a policy brief on the US Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 and a one-pager with key findings from OSF’s forthcoming selected annotated bibliography on WPS. Upcoming projects include conducting a polling project on how women define or redefine security in order to transform the current approach to security thinking, and convening new and existing funders with women peacebuilders to stimulate new sources of funding for the field.

 

Do you give grants?

No, we do not solicit or give grants. Instead, our approach is to engage with multiple stakeholders, and explore new ideas and new ways to collaborate with potential partners to strengthen the WPS network.
 

THE LEGAL AND POLICY COMMITMENTS THAT SUPPORT THE WORK OF OUR SECURE FUTURE

Existing legal and policy documents that align with Our Secure Future’s work to put policy into practice:
 
  • The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights and subsequent human rights instruments including: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, The Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
  • Declarations and action plans of the UN Conference on Women in Beijing and the Population Conference in Cairo and follow-up conferences
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and subsequent resolutions
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Goal #5 on Gender Equality and Goal #16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and the agreements made at the Conferences on Financing for Development
  • The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • The Treaty on European Union
  • The EU Action Plan for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through EU external relations 2016-2020
  • The EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019
  • The Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
  • The European Commission’s Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015, and its successor, relevant guidelines, Council conclusions, and other documents
  • US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (Revised 2016)
  • US Executive Order—Instituting a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (EO 13595)
  • US Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017 (S.1141)