New York International Crisis Group Vice President for Multilateral Affairs Donald Steinberg has been named as a commissioner on the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. This highly-respected New York-based organization is committed to ensuring that refugees and displaced persons around the world live in safety and dignity; have access to basic education, health, protection and other social services; participate in the decisions that affect their lives; and are advocates and activists themselves, providing continuous monitoring of the policies and practices that affect them.
Founded in 1989 by Liv Ullmann, Catherine O'Neill, Susan Martin and others, the Women’s Commission serves as an advocate for expanding and improving assistance to refugee women and children from the United States government, UN agencies, and NGOs. Its professional staff -- experts in health care, anthropology, gender, children and refugee law -- travel to refugee camps, detention centers and other areas to conduct field research, technical training, and convene meetings. The Women's Commission also sends fact-finding delegations of professional women to meet with refugee women and children around the world and learn first-hand of their needs and conditions. Recent delegations have traveled to Afghanistan, Colombia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Sudan.
Mr. Steinberg has been selected among the first group of men invited to serve as commissioners. In extending this invitation, Women’s Commission Executive Director Carolyn Makinson cited Mr. Steinberg “commitment to the well-being of displaced women, children and young people in war and post-conflict situations.” He joins such notable commissioners as Dawn Calabia, Glenn Close, Roberta Cohen, Betsy DeVecchi, Eve Ensler, Iman, Susan Martin, Sarah Moten, Jane Olson, Molly Raiser, Susan Rice, Nancy Rubin, Jill Schuker, and Gail Sheehy.
In accepting the appointment, Mr. Steinberg said that his relationship with the Women’s Commission extended back more than a decade to 1996, when he was serving as US Ambassador to Angola, and met with a delegation of the Women’s Commission seeking to enhance the protection of women and children refugees in Angola after decades of conflict. The report of that delegation identified key areas where the international community could better assist women and children refugees, incorporate a gender lens to work in relief and recovery, and lay the groundwork for the full participation of women in all aspects of the peace-making and peace-building process. Mr. Steinberg said at the time, “Involving women’s groups in the management of relief programs can create greater efficiencies, address the general destruction of civil society after decades of war, and provide fresh perspectives. These opportunities become even greater as we use humanitarian relief to foster reconstruction, recovery and sustainable development."
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