Meet the WIIS Canada Team

Call for Applications for New Board of Directors Positions

WIIS-Canada is now accepting applications for those interested in being considered by the Nomination Committee to join the Board of Directors. At our Annual General Meeting, which will take place in November, all members will have the opportunity to elect two new Directors to the Board.

Director’s terms are three years, renewable with re-election. We are looking for dedicated individuals from all backgrounds across Canada who are willing to invest time and effort into supporting WIIS-Canada’s mandate, and contributing to broadening the network of the organization. We are committed to having geographical representation across Canada, however the merits of each application will be considered to be of primary importance.

If you are interested in being considered by the Nomination Committee, or know of someone who would be a valuable Board member, please fill out the form here and send your CV to by September 15, 2017.

CassandraDr. Cassandra Steer
Executive Director 

Dr. Cassandra Steer is the Erin J.C. Arsenault Fellow at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, and the former Executive Director of the Centre for Research in the same institute. Her main research interest is the application of the law of armed conflict to military uses of outer space, and it is this interest in emerging issues of international security that brought her to WIIS. Prior to coming to Canada at the beginning of 2015, Cassandra was a Junior Professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands for 8 years, teaching criminal law, international criminal law, public international law, and legal research methods. She holds a B.A. (Philosophy) from the University of New South Wales, undergraduate and LLM degrees in Dutch Law and International Law from the University of Amsterdam, and a PhD in International Criminal Law. She has interned at the International Criminal Court under Judge Navi Pillay in 2004, and was a researcher for the Dutch Council of State (Raad van State), before returning to academia. She has been a Visiting Researcher at universities in Argentina, Canada, Germany and the USA, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar. Currently she is the member for Canada on the International Law Association Space Law Committee, the Secretary of the IAF Space Security Committee, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law, Women in Aerospace, the American Society of International Law, the NATO Association of Canada, and the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.


Stéfanie von Hlatky
Chair of the Board

Stéfanie von Hlatky is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University and Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy. Prior to her appointment at Queen’s, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College and a Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich’s Center for Security Studies. She recently published a book called American Allies in Times of War: The Great Asymmetry (Oxford University Press, 2013). She lives in Kingston with her husband and two children.

Stefanie is the founder of WIIS Canada and Chair of the Board of Directors for WIIS Canada  and can be reached at

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 1.53.54 PMRenée Vaugeois
Board Member

Renée brings twenty years of experience working in the areas of human rights in relation to development, peace and post-conflict rehabilitation, immigration, and indigenous issues. She has her Masters in political science from the University of Alberta where she was instrumental in setting up the Peace and Post- Conflict Studies program.

As the Executive Director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, Renée has focused on education around critical human rights issues and instruments locally and globally, for over ten years. She is the Founding President of Ainembabazi Children’s Project, and is an executive member of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee, helping to spearhead a coalition of law enforcement, government, academics and NGOs. 

Her commitment to the work of advancing peace and human rights in Western Canada and the world has lead to her involvement as a part of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and won her the inaugural Top 40 under 40 Award in Edmonton with Avenue Magazine. She was recognized by the Aboriginal Commission for Human Rights and Justice and Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women with the Good Relations Award as well as was awarded Daughter of the Year in 2012. In 2013, the University of Alberta awarded her with their inaugural Community Advocacy award.

Renée is very excited to contribute in the expansion of WIIS Canada. She will be spearheading WIIS Canada initiatives in Western Canada and will focus on developing the corporation’s mentorship and chapter programming. Renée currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta.


FernandezViviana2Viviana Fernandez
Board Member


Viviana Fernandez is the Assistant Director at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa (uOttawa). Her main responsibilities include the operations and resource management for the Centre as well as the implementation of its research, teaching and outreach missions. Viviana joined the Boards at Women in International Security Canada in 2015 and the Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child (uOttawa) in 2014. She represents the University of Ottawa in the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network and was elected to the Steering Committee of the SAR Canada Section in 2016 and to the International Advisory Committee for the SAR Global Network in 2017.
Prior to taking up her position at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Viviana joined uOttawa in 2004 as the Head of the Research Office at the Telfer School of Management. Earlier in her career, Viviana worked at the Embassy of Chile in the United States, the Exporter’s Association of Bio-Bio Chile and the Chilean Development Corporation. She completed her studies at the University of Concepción (Chile), the SKEMA Business School (France) and the London School of Economics (United Kingdom). Due to work and/or studies, she has lived in Chile, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Viviana’s contributions will include corporate strategy, the organization of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign for Canada and the expansion of WIIS Canada across Francophone markets. Viviana currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.
Viviana Fernandez est Directrice adjointe au Centre de recherche et d’enseignement sur les droits de la personne de l’Université d’Ottawa (uOttawa). Elle est responsable de la gestion des opérations et des ressources du Centre ainsi que de la mise en œuvre de son plan stratégique en ce qui concerne la recherche, l’enseignement, la sensibilisation et la promotion. Viviana s’est jointe au Conseil d’administration de Women in International Security Canada en 2015 et à celui du Laboratoire de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les droits de l’enfant (uOttawa) en 2014. Elle représente l’Université auprès du Réseau Scholars At Risk (SAR) et a été élue membre du Comité de direction de la section canadienne de Scholars at Risk en 2016 et du Comité consultatif international pour SAR Global Network en 2017.

Avant de se joindre au CREDP, Viviana a débuté sa carrière à l’Université d’Ottawa en 2004 où elle était responsable du Bureau de la recherche de l’École de gestion Telfer. Plus tôt dans sa vie professionnelle, Viviana a travaillé à l’Ambassade du Chili aux États-Unis, à l’Association d’exportateurs Bio-Bio Chile et à la Corporation du développement du Chili. Elle a fait ses études à la University of Concepción (Chili), la SKEMA Business School (France) et la London School of Economics (Grande-Bretagne). En raison de sa vie professionnelle et de ses études, elle a vécu au Chili, en France, aux États‑Unis, en Angleterre et au Canada.
Les contributions de Viviana comprennent des dossiers liés à la stratégie corporative de WIIS-Canada, l’organisation de la Campagne canadienne des 16 Jours d'activisme contre la violence de genre et la croissance de l’Association dans des mileux francophones.

Photo MJZMarie-Joëlle Zahar
Board Member

Marie-Joëlle Zahar is Professor of Political Science, Director of the Research Network on Peace Operations and Fellow at the Centre for International Research and Studies at the Université de Montréal. From March 2013 until August 2015, she served as Senior Expert on Power Sharing on the Standby Team of Mediation Experts at the UN Department of Political Affairs. Her research interests span the dynamics of civil war and the politics of conflict-resolution. She is a specialist of transition violence and post-conflict power sharing with strong regional experience in Middle East politics.

Marie-Joëlle’s career has been defined by a constant engagement with policy. She has consulted, among others, for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United States Institute of Peace, the Canadian Government as well as a range of non-governmental organizations working in post-conflict settings.

Marie-Joëlle believes mentorship is a key element in leadership and career building. She looks forward to contributing to WIIS Canada’s mentorship programming.


caroline_leprinceCaroline Leprince
Board Member - Treasurer

Caroline Leprince has significant experience in providing strategic advice and analysis in the areas of national security, defence and public safety. She is a senior policy analyst at Public Safety Canada and an associate fellow with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies. She was previously a contractual research assistant with Defence Research and Development Canada and also served as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Reserve, during which time she deployed with the Psychological Operations unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Caroline 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 crimes against women.

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 will be providing strategic financial planning advice and take on fundraising responsibilities for WIIS Canada.


Program Assistant - WIIS Canada

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