Jacqueline O’Neill named Canada’s first-ever Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security

June 17, 2019 | Swanee Hunt

Last week, a top news story was an announcement of global significance. Jacqueline O’Neill has been named Canada’s first-ever Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security!

Jacqui is the former president of Inclusive Security, our foundation’s largest and longest program and an outgrowth of my work at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (her alma mater). She and I have worked together closely for more than a decade, crisscrossing the globe. We’ve been coaching, and being coached by, women leaders.

We’ve also been wearing out our shoes, pounding the marble floors to convince policymakers to add more chairs to the decision-making table. I was more than proud watching as Jacqui testified before Congress on how women’s voices are essential to creating a sustainable solution to war. And her written commentaries are among the most highly regarded in the field.

It’s impossible to capture the impact of her work with Inclusive Security in this email. In Sudan and South Sudan, alongside community members who are suffering horrifically from the conflict, she brought together women leaders from both sides of the border. Month after month, year after year, they have advocated at the highest level for the needs of everyday people.

Inside our organization, Jacqui directed a team that improved peace processes in more than 15 countries and provided research to policymakers about women’s contributions to global stability. She has supported the creation of national strategies and policy frameworks for more than 30 countries, including her own Canada, to support women’s full participation in conflict prevention and resolution.

For a personal word: I’m privy to all this, because for the past decade, Jacqui has been my teacher and mentor. She’s as professionally prepared as I am seat-of-my-pants… as steady as I am unpredictable… as polished as I am rough around the edges. What a grand team we’ve been and will be.

Prime Minister Trudeau could not have made a better choice (read his office’s announcement here). Congratulations to you, Prime Minister, and to my spectacular friend!

Lucky Canada, to have Jacqui as your prepared, steady, polished coach. It’s only right. The US could not contain her.