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IWP offers new course on Female Roles in Contemporary Insurgencies & Small Armies

Christine Balling (’16), a former advisor to the U.S. Special Operations South commander and U.S. Army Civil Affairs teams deployed in Colombia, will be teaching a new two-credit course on “Female Roles in Contemporary Insurgencies & Small Armies.”

In addition to studying women in contemporary insurgencies and small armies, the course will examine gender-specific public diplomacy, counterinsurgency, and civilian engagement strategies.  Particular attention will be paid to Marxist insurgencies in Latin America – FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army), along with groups in the Middle East – the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan and the YPJ in Syria.

Christine Balling, who also serves as IWP’s Senior Vice President for Professional Affiliations, has joined the IWP faculty to teach this course.

Prof. Balling is the founder of the Colombian nonprofit organization Fundación ECCO to promote democracy and youth leadership in areas of conflict. She has also served as a subject matter expert to the U.S. Special Operations South commander on demobilization and counter-recruitment issues, partnered with U.S. Army Civil Affairs teams, worked with the Colombian military’s demobilization group, and in collaboration with the Colombian Army, Air Force, and National Police, she led counter-recruitment projects in areas where the FARC insurgency operated. The Colombian Army incorporated her counter-recruitment model into the non-kinetic component of its mission.

Prof. Balling has performed extensive fieldwork and interviewed female demobilized members of the FARC, the ELN in Colombia and female Yazidi peshmerga fighters in Iraq. From 2015 to 2020, she was the Senior Fellow for Latin American Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council. Her articles have been published in Foreign AffairsThe National Interest, the Small Wars Journal, and at TheHill.com. In 2016, Prof. Balling worked with the USMC Small Wars Center in Quantico, VA to co-author a section for upcoming revisions of NATO military doctrine and the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Field counterinsurgency doctrine (FM-34 MC 3-35.5) regarding female insurgents. She has lectured at the Escuela Superior de Guerra (ESDEGUE) in Bogotá, the National Defense University’s William J. Perry Center, Harvard Summer School, The #NatSecGirlsSquad conference, and The Institute of World Politics. In 2019, she testified as an expert witness at a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on U.S./Colombia relations.

Prof. Balling serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Universidad El Bosque in Bogotá, Colombia. She received the Colombian Armed Forces’ Medal of Distinguished Service from the Colombian Minister of Defense in recognition of her work in Colombia and received the 2020 Phillips Academy Andover Alumni Award of Distinction. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University’s Barnard College and an M.A. in National Security Affairs from The Institute of World Politics.

Course on Female Roles in Contemporary Insurgencies & Small Armies

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