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NEWS | Nov. 16, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Hosts Women, Peace, and Security Event in Djibouti

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. William L. Zana, commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, and guests from Djibouti, France, Italy, Kenya, Spain and the United States participated in a Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) conference, Nov. 15, 2021.

The conference coincided with the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ (ESB-4) regularly scheduled port visit to Djibouti, during the ship’s circumnavigation deployment of Africa. Guest speakers included Maj. Gen. William Zana; Cmdr. Ernique Sesler, executive officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams; and Djibouti Armed Forces Lt. Col. Amina Mohamed Moussa, Commander of the Army Female Battalion.

"We are proud to be hosting the second Women, Peace, and Security conference of this deployment," said Sesler. "These events are opportunities to show the United States Navy's commitment to encouraging women leaders in the security sector and to making sure they are included in global peace processes."

The conference supports a larger mission led by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) to facilitate meaningful participation of women within the security sector. These events are a critical way to engage with local communities and partner nations to build relationships and gain local insight and knowledge.

“The WPS training the ship’s leadership received in July was instrumental in the crew being able to participate in such engagements instead of being spectators,” said Lt. Cmdr. Shanece Kendall, NAVAF Gender Focal Point. “As our efforts mature, we will continue to foster this approach in order to garnish more support from service members and government civilians in furthering the WPS agenda.”

WPS engagements focus on integrating WPS-related issues into education, military operations, and military and civilian institutions through meaningful discussions and peacekeeping capability building activities and exercises.

NAVEUR-NAVAF believes peace processes in which women participate as mediators, negotiators, and as part of interest groups have significantly better prospects than those in which women are absent.

For over 70 years, U.S. Sixth Fleet forces have forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.