Luisa del Turco
My peacebuilding career began with a PhD at the University La Sapienza of Rome and a specialisation in Peacekeeping and Security Studies, which I pursued at the University Roma Tre. Working in this field for over twenty years has been a journey of personal and professional growth. Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to undertake many different roles. In each of them, I strived to promote conflict transformation with a gender approach.
How are you working on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Italy and beyond?
As soon as I learnt that Italy was going to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), I immediately offered my help to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trying to facilitate the process through a dialogue between decision-makers, experts and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Even without receiving a prompt response, I continued to take action. I teamed up with organisations working on gender and on peacebuilding in order to promote awareness-raising activities combining the two dimensions. Finally, when the first-ever NAP of Italy was about to be adopted in 2010, we wrote a report where we requested the international standards for NAPs to be fulfilled, including a greater involvement of civil society. We presented the report to the Italian Parliament, but only the third NAP ensured a meaningful participation of CSOs through the creation of a dedicated Open-Ended Working Group at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This experience showed me the power of tireless personal commitment and civil society mobilisation.
In addition to my advocacy work on the Italian NAPs, I also pursued a career as a trainer. Through this role, I could collaborate with several academies, think tanks and non-profit organisations to train students and young professionals on the WPS agenda, conflict prevention, and conflict transformation. I am particularly proud of my work with the Italian Civil Peace Corps. As young peacebuilders, they could apply powerful contamination of the WPS with the Youth Peace and Security agenda in their field of work in different conflict and post-conflict settings.
What motivates and inspires you to be part of the GPPAC network?
Working with GPPAC allows me to add a global approach to my peacebuilding work, which had been previously focused primarily on the national and European levels. GPPAC also represents a unique opportunity for me because its members share the commitment to achieving peace through peaceful means. I appreciate that the network strives to build peace by creating space for local actors and not just on participation of women as such. I firmly believe that an inclusive grassroots approach to peacebuilding must always be a priority. Italy tends to approach the WPS agenda mainly through high-level peace-making and military peacekeeping, I keep advocating for integrating this approach with locally-led and locally-owned peacebuilding and civilian peace interventions, coupled with a sound gender perspective. By becoming one of GPPAC's Gender Focal Points, I look forward to contributing to the network with my expertise on peacebuilding through a sustainable, intersectional, and strongly engendered approach.