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Erin Koenig

Chair

A Canadian diplomat, Erin Koenig has worked and lived in Latin America, Europe and Africa over the past two decades. Currently posted to the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Erin has previously served overseas in Ethiopia and Peru. Her professional experience also includes working at the Privy Council Office’s Foreign & Defense Policy Secretariat, UNESCO HQ in Paris and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica. Erin holds a B.A. w. Distinction in Latin American Studies (University of Alberta) and M.A. w. Honours in Human Rights (University of Copenhagen). A proud partner and mother of two, Erin also serves as a mentor with the Canadian International Council (CIC), coach with Fora: Network for Change, and has her own photographic practice. 

In both professional and volunteer capacities, Erin is committed to advancing human rights while making organisations stronger by eliminating systemic barriers, holding space for diverse voices, and creating concrete opportunities for underrepresented groups.

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Anna Forth

Vice-Chair

Anna Forth has been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2006. She is an officer in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS) and is currently an Equipment Management Team Lead in the National Capital Region.

Multilingual in French, Spanish and Czech, Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts w/Honours in French and Spanish Studies (University of Winnipeg), a Certificate in Women in Leadership (S.C. Johnson School of Business, Cornell University) and a Master of Arts in Global Leadership (Royal Roads University). Her greatest successes in the military have been her contributions to the training, education, and mentorship of others. Anna has deployed in support of domestic operations such as Op LENTUS, and also internationally as part of Op REASSURANCE in Latvia; a valuable opportunity to work together with NATO colleagues.

Anna believes in the power of compassionate leadership and is active in a number of organizations that promote women and 2SLGBTQI+ persons. She is supported in all of her endeavours by her best friend and partner.

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Ashley Mulroney

Treasurer

Ashley Mulroney holds 20+ years of experience managing Canada’s international assistance programming and, as Head of International Assistance at Canada’s Embassy to Ukraine, her team was recognized with the GAC Triple Nexus award in 2022.

Ashley is currently the Executive Director of International Assistance at the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia where she is working to maximize Canada’s engagement on peacebuilding issues. She has also served overseas at the High Commissions of Canada to Kenya and South Africa and the Canadian Embassy in Russia, in addition to a range of positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) covering southern and eastern Africa, China, and central and eastern Europe. In 2008, she received the CIDA President’s Award of Excellence for outstanding contribution and exceptional leadership.

Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree (Smith College, MA) which included a one year exchange program at Yaroslav State University in Russia, and a Master’s (Harvard University). She is fluent in English, French, Russian and Ukrainian.

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Katryna Johnston

Secretary

Katryna is a seasoned International emergency response expert at Global Affairs Canada (GAC), currently serving as the Senior Advisor on Security and Emergency Management Strategy and Policy. Having amassed a diverse background across multiple positions within the Security and Emergency Management branch, Katryna recently took the helm as the lead on Women In Security within GAC, a role she embraces with deep honor and enthusiasm.
Throughout her tenure at GAC, Katryna has spearheaded numerous high-profile initiatives, including leading the largest COVID-19 repatriations in Canadian history, coordinating Afghanistan evacuations, and directing Lebanon response planning, among others. Her robust 20-year professional journey in Security and Emergency Management spans diverse terrains, from serving in the Royal Canadian Navy to providing specialized protective services at the Ottawa Hospital and battling forest fires across Canada.
Katryna has been focused on advancing equality and promoting the strength and capacity of women working in male dominated spaces through advocacy and mentorship. Outside of work, Katryna is a proud wife and mother to 3 children and is an avid curler and softball player.

Astrid Arzu

Membership

Astrid Arzu is Counsel with the Department of Justice Canada, where she advises primarily in the area of administrative law and related national security issues.

After completing an undergraduate degree in political science and a J.D. from the University of Alberta, an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and participating in an exchange at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Astrid has developed a growing interest in global perspectives on international security, international humanitarian law, and international human rights. Her appointment to the board of WIIS Canada marks a pivotal moment for her, offering an opportunity to contribute to advancing intersectionality and women's leadership within the realm of international security.

Melanie Bejzyk

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Melanie Bejzyk started her federal public service career in the Department of Finance, moved to the Department of Justice and then became a Foreign Service Officer in Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in 2008. She has worked at the Canadian Embassy in France, where she engaged with WIIS France; Canada’s Mission to the United Nations in New York; and the Canadian Embassy in Norway. In addition, she served on a two-year exchange in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian military. At GAC headquarters, Melanie has held a variety of positions, including as a Legal Officer in the UN, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Division and the Criminal, Security and the Diplomatic Law Division. Melanie is the co-founder and former president of the GAC 2SLGBTQI+ Pride Network. Prior to joining the federal public service, she lived and worked in South Africa and Japan. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Laws – LLB (University of British Columbia) and a Master of Studies (Mst) in International Law (University of Oxford).

Dr. Colleen Bell

Membership

Colleen Bell is a faculty member in the Department of Politics at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research and teaching focus on international theories, and critical security and war studies. She is currently working on projects examining international policing, feminist foreign policy, and the role of public relations in military operations. She is excited to serve on the board of WIIS and looks forward to meeting more women in the field. She also hopes to promote and celebrate the work of (especially junior) scholars and to contribute to professional and career development events and initiatives. She is an editor of the journal Critical Studies on Security.

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Dr. Isabelle Côté

Vice-Treasurer
Chapter Engagement & Membership

Isabelle Côté is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her work examines the role of demographic factors in general, and (internal) population movements in particular, on intrastate conflict and contentious politics in Asia and beyond. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in Leiden, Netherlands. Prior to that, she held various guest researcher positions in China, Indonesia, Denmark and Sweden. She has published in numerous journals in Political Science and Security, including PS: Political Science and Politics; Democratization; Civil Wars; Ethnopolitics; Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; and has been on the executive board of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies, the ISA-Political Geography and Demography section and President of the Atlantic Provinces Political Science Association (APPSA).

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Teanna Lackner

Social Media & Communications

Teanna has over two years of experience working at Global Affairs Canada, ranging from managing Canada's relations with several European countries to advancing Canada's trade policy priorities in major multilateral fora. Building on her professional expertise, Teanna is currently pursuing a Masters of Advanced International Studies at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy. Teanna holds a B.A. with Distinction in French and Political Science from Simon Fraser University.
Beyond her academic and professional pursuits, Teanna is deeply committed to making a positive impact through her volunteer engagement. She actively supports initiatives that promote gender equality and empower women in the field of international security. As she continues to grow in her career, Teanna remains committed to making organisations stronger by breaking down systemic barriers and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups.


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Nadia Noori

Member-at-Large

A Fulbright scholar and women rights advocate, Nadia Noori has lobbied for equality in society in all her roles, which have included working for the Embassy of Canada in Kabul on Women Peace and Security (WPS) and Women and Girls Rights and Empowerment (WGRE); senior Gender Justice Advisor to the second vice-president in Afghanistan; and as a consultant with UNDP in Afghanistan. Drawing on her diverse educational and vocational experiences, Nadia founded a non-profit organization promoting youth social engagement through running Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and youth symposiums on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Nadia believes that equality and inclusion should be a priority for every society. She holds an MBA , from Southern Illinois University, and a BA in Business, with a major in Operations Management and Minoring in International Law. She has taken and delivered training on a range of topics, including Gender Based Violence (GBV) and gender inclusion. Nadia speaks four languages: English, Dari, Pashto, and German. In her free time, Nadia volunteers and enjoys painting, reading, and swimming.

Dr. Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie

Member-at-Large

Udoka Owie is an Associate Professor of Law; and Senior Research Associate at the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada and has also held the Distinguished Harry Arthurs Fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. She obtained both her PhD in International Law and LLM (Distinction) in International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom where she started her teaching career. She obtained her LL.B (Hons) law degree from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus and her B.L (First Class Hons) from the Nigerian Law School and has been called to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where she has been in active legal practice since 2003. She has authored many articles and papers in human rights and international law including in the areas of international peace and security, as well as women, peace and security.


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Iana Shatilova

Career Development (Mentorship)
Volunteer Coordinator

Iana Shatilova is a dedicated human rights advocate and emergency management professional with a passion for cooperation and knowledge sharing in promoting gender equality and gender mainstreaming. Formerly a Captain in the Ukrainian National Police, she transitioned her skills and expertise to address pressing issues of conflict-induced displacement and contribute to peace, security, and sustainable development in the Luhansk Region during 2016 – 2022. Her field of expertise includes research, analysis, international refugee protection, emergency preparedness, emergency response, and training for international organizations and humanitarian relief agencies operating in hazardous environments.
Iana's academic background is diverse, with a bachelor’s degree in law from the Academy of Internal Affairs in Kyiv, a postgraduate diploma in International Security from the European Academy of Diplomacy in Warsaw, Poland, and a Master's degree in Disaster & Emergency Management from York University in Toronto, Canada. Fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and English, she brings a multicultural perspective to her work.


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Venus Torabi

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Chapter Engagement

Venus Torabi is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Brock University whose research concentrates on the phenomenon of “Ludic Terrorism”, or how videogames have potentially been exploited as cultural and ideological tools for propaganda and recruitment by ISIS and/or white supremacists/extremists. Her research has been funded by the “Ontario Trillium Scholarship” (OTS) and the Brock University Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Scholarship for the excellence and novelty of research. Venus’ research was featured in the National Post in 2017 as a life-sponsored article. She is a published novelist and a digital storyteller. Venus is an advocate for peace and democracy for Iran and the Middle East and is a member of Board of Directors in Canadians for Democracy in Iran (CDI), a not-for-profit organization in Toronto to advocate for democracy and peace.

Cindy Cruz

Coordinator

Cindy Cruz currently works as the coordinator for WIIS-C. Cindy is a doctoral student within the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on the Canadian Armed Forces organization and members within, including elements such as gender, civilian military relations, organizational identity, security, and international relations. She has more than 6 years working experience within the Department of National Defence (DND) as a policy analyst.

EXTERNAL ADVISORS

JENNIFER POWER, Legal Advisor

Jenn is the Senior Council, Regulatory Affairs at Nova Scotia Power in Halifax. Jenn completed her legal education at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. While there, Jenn demonstrated her commitment to her community while gaining invaluable advocacy experience. She interned with the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office in Cape Town, South Africa and also completed (with Honours) a clinical term at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service.

Prior to attending law school, Jenn served nine years as a Naval Warfare Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant (Navy). She earned her Naval Officer Professional Qualification and specialized in Information Warfare. Jenn earned the General Campaign Star South West Asia medal for OPERATION ARTEMIS, an anti-terrorism mission intercepting illicit drugs in the Arabian Sea.

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