Meet the WIIS-Canada Team

Meet the WIIS-Canada Team


Dr. Cassandra Steer

Executive Director

Dr. Cassandra Steer is our Executive Director. Her main research interest is space security and military uses of outer space. She is the former Executive Director of the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, and prior to coming to Canada in 2015, Cassandra was a Junior Professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands for 8 years. She holds a B.A. (Philosophy) from the University of New South Wales, 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 has been a Visiting Researcher at universities in Argentina, Canada, Germany and the USA, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar. She recently published a book called “Translating Guilt: Identifying Leadership Liability for Mass Atrocity Crimes” (Springer, 2017).

Currently she is the member for Canada on the International Law Association Space Law Committee, an Associate Expert on the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law, Women in Aerospace, the NATO Association of Canada, and the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.

Cassandra can be contacted at


Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky


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


Viviana Fernandez


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.

Caroline LePrince


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.


Renée Vaugeois


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 will be spearheading WIIS-Canada initiatives in Western Canada and will focus on developing the corporation’s mentorship and chapter programming.


Marie-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.


Meaghan Shoemaker

Program Assistant

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


Lindsay Coombs

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