Rebecca Turkington

PhD Candidate

I am a Gates Cambridge Scholar and PhD candidate at Clare Hall College studying transnational women’s organizing in the mid-20th century. My dissertation research focuses on inter-communal women’s groups in colonial Tunisia, and their relationships with global left feminist networks.

Prior to Cambridge, I was Assistant Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, and a founding staff member of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security where I led the gender and countering violent extremism portfolio and co-authored flagship reports on women’s participation in peace processes and transitional justice. I previously worked on global women’s political participation at the National Democratic Institute and Women in Public Service Project. I have a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University, concentrating in terrorism and substate violence, and a BA in International Relations and History from Wellesley College where I was a Madeleine K. Albright fellow. I was a 2019 Penn Kemble Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a 2020 fellow of the Schmidt Futures International Strategy Forum, and a member of the 2022 cohort of Foreign Policy for America's NextGen Initiative. My writing on gender, security, and foreign policy has been published in Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The West Point Sentinel, War on the Rocks, Defense One, OpenDemocracy, Ms. Magazine, and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and I sit on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. I also have many years of part-time experience in the museum world, including as a museum assistant at the Phillips Collection and Davis Museum, and as DC chair of Wellesley Friends of Art.

the opportunities and limits of global feminist solidarity; women’s roles in political violence; gender in statecraft and security policy; museums and public history

Women, Gender, and Terrorism: New Directions in Research and Policy, Cambridge Intelligence History Seminar. Cambridge, UK [virtual], May 2021.

Is Your Foreign Policy Feminist? SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference. Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Washington, DC [virtual], April 2021.


Tags & Themes

Key publications

"‘Once and For All’: The Fourth UN World Conference on Women and the Institutionalisation of Women’s Human Rights in American Foreign Policy," Gender & History, Vol 35, No 3, 2023: 846-861.

"Making Experts of Ourselves: Laura Puffer Morgan, Pacifism, and the Logics of the Security Sector," Global Studies Quarterly, Vol 3, No 1, 2023.

"Diversity in Foreign Policy Requires New Histories of International Thought," Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol 36, No 1, 2023: 96-100.

“After a Century of Lobbying, Women Are Finally Getting Top Jobs in Washington,” Foreign Policy, January 20, 2021.

“Women, Information Ecology and Political Protest in the Middle East,” with Nadya Hajj and Patrick McEwan, Mediterranean Politics, Vol 24, No 1, 2019: 62-83.

“Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice?” with Audrey Alexander, West Point Combating Terrorism Center Sentinel, Vol 11, No 8, 2018: 24-29.