Meet the WIIS-Canada Team
Caroline Leprince has significant experience in providing strategic advice and analysis in the areas of national security, defence and public safety. She is a policy advisor at the Canadian Border Services Agency and an associate fellow with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies. She previously worked at the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) at Public Safety Canada and as a contractual research assistant with Defence Research and Development Canada. Caroline served for nine years as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Reserve, during which time she deployed with the Psychological Operations unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She was also involved in building women capacities in a local NGO in Cambodia, a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help document gender-based violence.
Caroline also brings experience in project management, business development and strategic planning (Master’s degree in Project Management, École des sciences de la gestion (ESG)). She worked as a project manager for the Raoul-Dandurand Chair during which time she was responsible for grant applications and fundraising activities. She also holds a Master’s in Political Science from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) and a Bachelor in International Relations and International Law from the same university.
Caroline can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Aisha Ahmad
Aisha Ahmad is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, the Director of the Islam and Global Affairs Initiative and a Senior Researcher of the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the CEO of Women in International Security-Toronto. She is currently a Senior Fellow at Massey College and a Fellow at Trinity College, and was formerly an International Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power(Oxford University Press, 2017), which awarded both the distinguished 2017 Mershon Center Furniss Award for the best new book in international and national security, and the 2018 Best Book in Comparative Politics Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association. Her article, “The Security Bazaar,” published in the flagship journal International Security,won the 2017 Best Security Article Award from the International Studies Association.She has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Iraq, and Lebanon, and has advised both government and international organizations on global security policies. Her research uncovers the economic drivers of conflict in war zones across the modern Muslim world.
Dr. Ahmad is also the 2018 winner of the Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to co-curricular learning and pedagogical innovation; this prize is awarded to one faculty member per year, across all three campuses, all disciplines, and academic ranks at the University of Toronto. She also won the 2018 University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus (UTSC) Assistant Professor Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching at the Scarborough campus. In 2017, she was named one of Toronto’s “most inspiring women” of 2017 in Post City Magazine. In 2018, she was named the 2018 “Muslim Woman of the Year” at the Muslim Awards of Excellence MAX gala, which celebrates outstanding achievements by a Muslim Canadian in their field. Dr. Ahmad is also the CEO of the Women in International Security Toronto chapter, which she co-founded with Dr. Leah Sarson. She is especially committed to expanding the national reach and influence of WIIS-Canada, as well as welcoming and mentoring women from underrepresented communities in the field of security.
Ani Mamikon is a litigation lawyer at the Department of Justice in Toronto. She practices in the areas of extradition, international and national security law. She holds a BA Hons and MA in Political Science, specializing in international relations and security studies. Ms. Mamikon has clerked at the Federal Court of Canada, practiced as a criminal defence lawyer and has held various positions in the federal government.
Dr. Gaëlle Rivard Piché
Vice-Chair of the Board
Dr. Gaëlle Rivard Piché is a strategic analyst for Defence Research and Development Canada. She works closely with the Canadian Armed Forces, providing direct decision-making support through evidence-based research on a wide range of topics. She is currently a fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (Carleton University), where she completed her Ph.D. in International Affairs in 2017. She is also a guest lecturer at the Canadian Forces College and works as a consultant for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on security sector reform and peace operations. In 2014-2015, Dr. Rivard Piché was a Fulbright research fellow in the International Security Program at the Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As a Ph.D. candidate, she conducted extensive field research in Haiti and El Salvador between 2012 and 2015, looking at the consequences of security sector reform on public order and violence. To that end, she also did an internship at the United Nations’ Department of Peace Keeping Operations in New York in 2013.
Dr. Rivard Piché is a founding member of WIIS-Canada. As a student, she benefited immensely from the network, the annual workshop, and the safe environment it provides. She now hopes to contribute to the organisation’s next development stages as a member of the board and a mentor. As a woman who works and conducts research in challenging, male-dominated environments, she considers it is crucial for professional and personal growth to support and exchange with other women in the field.
Dr. Leah Sarson
Director of Operations
Dr. Leah Sarson is an assistant professor of International Relations at Dalhousie University, where her work explores Indigenous global politics in the extractive resource sector. Her broader research interests focus on Canadian foreign policy, International Relations, gender, and the Arctic. Prior to joining Dalhousie, she was a Fulbright researcher and SSHRC post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she remains a fellow at the Dickey Center for International Understanding and a visiting Arctic fellow at the Institute of Arctic Studies. She completed her PhD in Political Studies in December 2016 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she is also a fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy. Dr. Sarson holds additional positions at Dalhousie’s Centre for the Study of Security and Development, the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at the University of Toronto and the Canadian International Council. She has also held professional positions at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Global Affairs Canada, among others.
Dr. Sarson has been an active member of WIIS-Canada since 2014 and is president of the Toronto chapter of WIIS-Canada, which she co-founded with Dr. Aisha Ahmad. Her publications include a 2017 article in Études internationalesthat draws on her experiences organizing the 2015 WIIS-Canada annual workshop, a co-authored chapter in a forthcoming book celebrating ten years of WIIS-Canada, and several other publications exploring Canadian foreign policy. She is particularly committed to building the community of WIIS-Canada scholars, students, and practitioners and expanding the WIIS-Canada mentorship program.
Dr. Cassandra Steer
Director of Communications
Dr. Cassandra Steer is an independent space security consultant, whose research focuses on the law applicable to military activities in outer space. Currently, Cassandra Steer is the member representing Canada on the Space Law Committee of the International Law Association; and is an Associate Expert contributing to the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations. From 2015-2017 Cassandra was Executive Director of WIIS-Canada, and she is excited to return to the Board of Directors after stepping down to take maternity leave. In 2017 she co-organised the 10thAnnual WIIS-Canada Workshop together with Caroline Leprince, and throughout her career she has striven to give a prominent place to women’s voices. Now responsible for communications and outreach, she brings experience from her previous professional engagements as Acting Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, Executive Director of the Centre of Air and Space Law at McGill, and Junior Professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Previously Cassandra interned at the International Criminal Court under Judge Navi Pillay, and was a Fulbright Fellow in 2011 at Cornell Law School. She has degrees in Philosophy (UNSW), Dutch Law and International Law (University of Amsterdam), and a PhD in International Criminal Law, which led to the publication of her book Translating Guilt: Identifying Leadership Liability for Mass Atrocity Crimes (Springer, 2017).
National Chapter Coordinator
Lindsay Coombs is a PhD student in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University and a Graduate Research Fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy. Lindsay completed a Master of Arts in Political Studies, also from Queen’s University, where she specialized in International Relations. Her Master’s thesis focused on innovation in Canadian military doctrine, training, and education on the topic of war-affected children. Lindsay also holds a Bachelor with Honours in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the University of Ottawa, where she graduated with distinction.
Lindsay is committed to actively supporting women’s leadership in international security. As the National Chapter Coordinator for WIIS-Canada, Lindsay coordinates the activities of university and community Chapters across Canada. Lindsay is also the President and Founder of WIIS at Queen’s University.
For all Chapter related inquiries, Lindsay can be contacted at email@example.com
Assistant to the Executive Director
Charlotte is a master’s student in Military History at Queen’s University at Kingston (Ontario). Her thesis focuses on the implementation of gender integration in the Canadian Armed Forces between 1989 and 1999 and how it constitutes case study for the identified and recognized toxic leadership culture in the military during the 1990s. She obtained her bachelor’s degree at McGill University, where she double-majored in History and Political Science
A French national, Charlotte has been living in Canada for four years to pursue her university education. Her encounters in her host country led her to realize the importance of representation, of women in position of leadership, and of women role models; this no matter the field. She joined WIIS-Canada through the chapter at Queen’s University in November 2017, for which she was the Bilingual Coordinator. Through her growth as a military historian and her experience with WIIS, she became all the more committed to women’s involvement in international security, which she believes can be reached through advocacy, mentorship, and empowerment.
As the Assistant to the Executive Director, Charlotte will work in collaboration with the Executive Director to ensure that the overall management and operations of WIIS-Canada provides high value to its members.
Meaghan Shoemaker is a Doctoral student in Political Studies at Queen's University, Kingston. Meaghan's research interests include international security studies, gender in NATO militaries, and conflict and conflict resolution.
As the Program Assistant for WIIS-Canada, Meaghan aims to further the mandate of WIIS-Canada through increased member engagement and stakeholder outreach. She firmly believes in supporting leadership roles of women, especially in non-traditional roles.
Meaghan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Strategic Communication Advisor
Pam Simpson is a recent Master's graduate from Queen's University where she specialized in International Relations. Her research interests lie in democratization studies of East Africa, and transnational money laundering and terrorist financing. She is the co-author of the article titled “Tracking Transnational Terrorist Resourcing Nodes and Networks” which will appear in the Florida State University Law Review, and is hoping to pursue anti-money laundering and terrorist financing in the future, as she will be contributing to a book on the subject over the coming year.
Pam is the Strategic Communication Advisor for WIIS-Canada and is responsible for our communication campaigns and social media platforms.