Fellow Spotlight

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Jennifer Howe (UK) is a resident Women, Peace and Security Fellow at Pacific Forum. Jennifer holds an M.A. in Politics and International Relations from Durham University in the UK, where she analyzed the relationship between human rights compliance and transitional justice in East Asia. During her undergraduate studies, Jennifer worked on behalf of Durham University for a number of charities across the Indo-Pacific in order to forge connections between students and the region. Her current research explores the intersection of gender and violent extremism in Southeast Asia, regional progress towards implementing UNSCR 1325, and gender mainstreaming in transitional justice. Her publications have examined the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic for conflict resolution and gender equality in Southeast Asia. She has also co-authored an article on how the Biden administration could contribute to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Indo-Pacific. In Fall 2021, Jennifer will commence her doctoral studies at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Her Ph.D. will investigate the under-explored relationship between transitional justice and violent extremism, with a particular focus on the ongoing conflict in Mindanao, Southern Philippines.

We asked Jennifer a few questions about herself and her fellowship experience.

What are your research interests?

Women, peace and security; the intersection of gender, violent extremism, and peacebuilding; gender mainstreaming in transitional justice; youth, peace and security.

How did you hear about Pacific Forum and why did you apply to become a fellow?

I became aware of Pacific Forum shortly after finishing my MA, when I was looking to intern at a policy research institute. I was keen to work for an organization that specialized in the Indo-Pacific because I’d focused on (and become extremely interested in) the region’s political history during my Master’s. I joined Pacific Forum as a Research Intern and loved being a part of the organization — I especially enjoyed having the freedom to conduct independent research while also participating in some fascinating events and working collaboratively on research projects. As such, I was very excited to extend my time with Pacific Forum and apply for a fellowship when the opportunity arose.

Briefly describe the research project you are undertaking as a Pacific Forum fellow:

I’ve participated in a wide range of research projects since joining Pacific Forum, most of which have touched on the gendered aspects of peacebuilding. I’ve researched the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions for conflict and gender equality in Southeast Asia. I’ve also collaborated with my colleague, Maryruth Belsey-Priebe, for a series of papers on how the Biden-Harris administration could advance the implementation of Women, Peace and Security in the Indo-Pacific. I’m currently preparing an academic article that will critically assess how Southeast Asia’s truth commissions have engaged with women ex-combatants.

Describe a Pacific Forum conference you attended and how it helped you in your career:

This is tricky because I’ve had the opportunity to attend such a large number of events and conferences, all of which have been extremely valuable. Many of the events I’ve been involved in have enabled me to broaden my understanding of security threats in the Indo-Pacific. I’ve also helped organize events, which has opened my eyes to the amount of work that goes into making them run smoothly. Two events that stand out to me are the recent “CSCAP Study Group on Women, Peace and Security,” and the “Adapting to Covid-19: Indonesia, the United States, and the Indo-Pacific” conversation series. Both have allowed me to expand my knowledge of regional security issues and how these issues are perceived in different countries.

Share something you read recently that you enjoyed:

I recently worked my way through Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” trilogy, which I loved. I’ve also been reading “Delusions of Gender” by Cordelia Fine, which offers a rebuttal to the view that there are innate neurological differences between women and men.

What are your future plans?

I’ll be working towards getting my PhD in the immediate future, which I’m starting this October at King’s College London. My thesis will investigate the under-explored relationship between transitional justice and violent extremism. More specifically, I’ll examine how truth commissions can advance peace in the context of violent extremism, with a particular focus on the Philippine Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission. I’m keen to work for a conflict research institute after finishing my doctorate.

What is a fun fact about you?

I got to the top of Mount Kili Manjaro!

Jennifer’s recent publications:

Howe, J. & Belsey Priebe, M. Women, Peace and Security Under a Biden-Harris Administration (Part Three: Relief and Recovery). Pacific Forum, PacNet #18, April 2, 2021. https://pacforum.org/publication/pacnet-18-women-peace-and-security-under-a-biden-harris-administration-part-three-relief-and-recovery

Belsey Priebe, M. & Howe, J. What the Biden-Harris Administration Means for WPS in the Indo-Pacific Region. Issues & Insights, Vol. 21 WP 4, March 2021. https://pacforum.org/publication/issues-insights-vol-21-wp-4-what-the-biden-harris-administration-means-for-wps-in-the-indo-pacific-region

Howe, J. Conflict and Coronavirus: How Covid-19 is Impacting Southeast Asia’s Conflicts. Issues & Insights, Vol. 20 WP4, September 2020. https://pacforum.org/publication/issues-insights-vol-20-wp-4-conflict-and-coronavirus-how-covid-19-is-impacting-southeast-asias-conflicts

Howe, J. The Impact of Covid-19 on Women in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific. Pacific Forum, Covid-19 Research & Perspectives, June 2020. https://pacforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/The-Impact-of-Covid-19-on-Women-in-Hawaii-and-Asia-Pacific.pdf


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Fellows previously featured in Fellow Spotlight:

Daniel Mitchum

Su Hyun Lee

Jennifer Howe

Eugenio Benincasa

Shwe Yee Oo

Elliot Silverberg

Dong-hyeon Kim