April 10-12 2024 marked the second edition of GLOBSEC’s CEE Her Workshop in Brussels. Our initiative brought a group of prominent young women professionals from the CEE region for a three-day training in the EU capital. Female experts from Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Belarus participated in a dynamic program involving collaborative work, meetings with experts from European institutions, coaching sessions, and more.

The workshop kicked off on Wednesday, 10 April, with an introductory meeting where the participants shared insights about their background, ongoing projects and expectations for the event. Following this, the agenda began with a dinner featuring an inspirational speaker, Irene Fellin, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. Ms. Fellin shared her journey from entering a male-dominated field as a female expert to establishing a professional trajectory focused on fostering gender equality and creating more opportunities for women in the peace and security sector. During a lively discussion, the speaker provided a great deal of motivation and hands-on recommendations for the aspiring workshop participants.

Day two of the workshop was filled with visits and meetings. The day began with a new edition of the CEE Her Breakfast, a traditional format, well-known in Brussels and Slovakia. The round-table discussion, titled “Examining the Effects of Technology and AI on Women: Mitigating Risks, Embracing Opportunities”, was co-organized and hosted by Microsoft Brussels.

The event featured a launch of GLOBSEC’s newest report titled “Women in the digital space (and AI): A look at Austria, Czechia, Poland and Slovakia”, presented by Malwina Talik, the lead author and Research Associate at the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe. Printed copies of the report were distributed during the breakfast and throughout the workshop.

The day continued with a meeting at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, European Commission (DG JUST) with Deputy Director-General, Irena Moozová and her team. We discussed DG JUST’s ongoing agenda related to gender equality topics, the importance of women experts mentorship programs, the benefits of the current Gender Strategy and more.

In the afternoon, participants visited the European Parliament and engaged in discussions with MEP Markéta Gregorová, primarily focusing on her expertise in cybersecurity, disinformation, artificial intelligence, and the upcoming EP elections.

The workshop also included a coaching session led by Sofiia Shevchuk, an independent expert and consultant, co-founder of The Tide and VONA. The training delved into foreign policy, security, and the digital space, exploring the challenges and solutions for women in the CEE region’s digital landscape.

The day concluded with a consultation in collaboration with WIIS (Women in International Security) on Women & Security. Female experts brainstormed on the global and personal meanings of security, and how this concept has evolved in the past decade.

On April 12, the third and final day of the CEE Her Workshop began with the continuation of the coaching session with Sofiia Shevchuk. Before departing, participants visited the European External Action Service (EEAS) headquarters for a meeting with representatives of the Ukraine and Belarus Division, discussing peace, security, and democracy in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It was a pleasure to bring together such bright young women professionals and dedicate three days to fostering a supportive environment for women in security, international affairs, and the digital sector. We hope the workshop will lead to further networking opportunities!