Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath (India)
Director, Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP)
Meenakshi Gopinath is Founder and Director WISCOMP, an initiative begun in 1999 to promote the leadership of South Asian women in the areas of international politics, peace, security and diplomacy. In addition to her work on education, her research and publications also focus on issues of security, peacebuilding, gender and politics.
Meenakshi envisions WISCOMP as a pulsating centre of engagements with efforts to build and sustain Cultures of Peace at local, national, regional, and global levels. WISCOMP’s partnerships with schools and colleges in training young people into a new vocabulary of leadership and active coexistence through the education and civil society space in several parts of the country, reflects this aspiration.
Dr. Gopinath has piloted and fostered confidence building measures through regular conflict transformation workshops and collaborative projects among intellectuals of the SAARC region and especially between young Pakistani and Indians. An innovative program in Kashmir, which networks and trains women and youth and peacebuilding developed by her is acknowledged as an adaptable model for sustained dialogue in areas of conflict. Meenakshi Gopinath is a member of multi-track peace initiatives such as the longest sustaining Track II Neemrana Initiative, between India and Pakistan and the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy and the Chaophraya Dialogue.
Meenakshi has written and lectured extensively on issues of Conflict Transformation, Peace building and Education for Peace in South Asia and internationally. The first woman to serve on the National Security Advisory Board of India (2004 – 2006), Meenakshi sought to mainstream gender and human security concerns. She serves on the governing boards of research institutes, think tanks, NGOs and educational institutions and has developed programs and curricula for educating for peace, in universities, colleges and schools.
Meenakshi is an active participant in national and international civil society initiatives on fostering coexistence between communities and foregrounding women’s roles in building peace.
Her work in the area of enhancing excellence and equity in education spans over three decades. In recognition of her contribution to the field of women’s education and empowerment, she has received several awards including:
Padma Shri Award, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi Award, Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in Education, Mahila Shiromani Award, Delhi Citizen Forum Award, Qimpro Platinum Standard Award for Education, Celebrating Womanhood South Asian Recognition Award for Social Harmony, International Lifetime Achievement Award – 2009 for her outstanding work in the field of justice, Equity, Peace and Progress, M. Singhvi Fellowship Award at the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies (DDMI),University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Award of Honorary Doctorate Degree for significant contribution to the education of women and the commitment to fostering global peace through Conflict Resolution, La Trobe University, Australia, Distinguished Alumna Award, by Lady Shri Ram College for Women, for meritorious contribution in the field of Education
She is an Honorary Adjunct Professor, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University, Australia and Visiting Distinguished Scholar, School of Social Sciences 2015, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.