U.S. Departments of Justice and State Host Asia-Pacific Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement in Denpasar, Indonesia

May 25, 2023 : Recognizing the pivotal role women play in the security sector, combating organized crime, terrorism, and violent extremism, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of State have joined hands to organize the Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement in Denpasar, Indonesia, from May 22 to 26, 2023. With approximately 70 law enforcement professionals from eight nations in attendance, this event aims to empower women as crucial contributors to security, law enforcement, and counterterrorism while bolstering their career development opportunities.

By increasing women’s participation in law enforcement, operational effectiveness is strengthened, and police institutions gain the ability to foster engagement within local communities. Participants from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the United States are part of this symposium, which provides a platform for career development training, networking, and advancing the position of women in law enforcement.

Director Gregory Ducot of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) emphasizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in law enforcement, stating, “It’s time to focus on intentional strategies to change norms and power structures hampering progress toward greater equality.” The symposium aims to forge connections that will propel women in the field of law enforcement, equipping them with the necessary resources to advance their careers and contribute to the counterterrorism mission.

Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, the Department of State’s Special Representative for Guantanamo Affairs, lauds the Engaging Multinational Policewomen on Equality and Rights (EMPoWER) program for identifying change agents within institutions and societies. The program equips participants with training and best practices to apply in their respective environments, promoting the integration of women into senior ranks of law enforcement and counterterrorism. By doing so, inclusivity is expanded, and a diverse force capable of responding credibly to community needs is established, thereby curbing the growth of radicalism.

The symposium also facilitates meaningful interactions between senior men and women in U.S. and international security careers and their counterparts in multiple Asia-Pacific countries. Distinguished presenters include Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, FBI International Operations Division Section Chief Ashley Johnson, Deputy Chief of Mission Kate Rebholz, and Chief (Ret.) Melissa Hyatt from the Baltimore County Police Department.

The Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on Women in Law Enforcement is organized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s ICITAP and its EMPoWER program in collaboration with the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT) and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The EMPoWER program, a joint effort between the Departments of Justice and State, empowers women to combat terrorism by providing leadership training, technical expertise, and mentorship. Previous EMPoWER-led regional symposiums were successfully held in Opatija, Croatia, in March 2022 and in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2022.