Welcome to the Youth Fusion Experts Series, a podcast where we engage with leaders and experts in the various related fields of nuclear disarmament, peace and security, and sustainable development. Through these conversations we wish to offer you all the chance to learn and be inspired by those who are actively working towards a fairer and more peaceful future for all.
Here, we have yet another exciting episode of the Youth Fusion Expert Series, which is long overdue by now! In this episode, Michaela Sørensen, a core member of Youth Fusion, sits down with Jannis to talk about all things feminist foreign policy and nuclear disarmament. Jannis’ achievements and expertise will undoubtedly pique your interest, especially all our feminists and gender studies listeners out there!
Jannis is currently a PhD Student and Researcher at the esteemed University of Hamburg in Germany. He was also a Young Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, and he holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies. His main areas of focus encompass nuclear disarmament and international peace and security, and what’s truly remarkable is that despite being in the early stages of his career, and a youth, Jannis has already gained invaluable experience within the field, including with the United Nations and other international arenas.
Recently, Jannis wrote an exceptional paper on feminist foreign policy, with a specific emphasis on nuclear weapons. When Youth Fusion came across his work, we were immediately interested, and knew we had to delve deeper into his research. Over the past couple of years, we’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with Jannis at various conferences, and today, we finally have the opportunity to hear about his incredibly intriguing findings thus far.
In the podcast episode, Jannis spoke about his PhD titled ‘Feminist Foreign Policy, Nuclear Non-Proliferation-Regime and their Interrelations: A Case of Conflicting Norm Clusters?’, and explained the intersectionality of the nuclear disarmament field. Using a social norms approach, Jannis is digging into how feminist foreign policy is making such ‘norm clusters’ today, and comparing this to how the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation spaces have developed their norm clusters.
Jannis also spoke on the history of nuclear weapons, and described in great detail the horrible history of nuclear weapons testing, the relationship nuclear weapons have with colonisation, and highlighted how nuclear weapons are the ultimate form of patriarchy. The bottom line for Jannis is that nuclear weapons are not feminist, and if countries, like Germany, who have a feminist foreign policy are hosting US nuclear weapons, it is not a genuine feminist foreign policy. You can read more about his critiques on this here.
Michaela and Jannis got very critical of feminist foreign policy. While acknowledging it is very new- less than a decade old since Sweden’s feminist foreign policy in 2014- there is a long way to go in ensuring more inclusion and agency, especially for countries in the Global South. Jannis gave some insights as to where feminist foreign policy is headed, and also noted how little there currently is on nuclear disarmament in feminist foreign policy agendas. Jannis views feminist foreign policy as a powerful tool in achieving nuclear disarmament, and one day, nuclear abolition. That is why his work in building such connections is so important.
Jannis also explained the history of nuclear disarmament movements and how feminist activism is deeply responsible for the nuclear disarmament movement, and in policy making today. Jannis mentioned women like Bertha von Suttner, who was a peace-making champion.
Michaela and Jannis also discussed what it is like to be in the nuclear disarmament space, especially within academia, wherein Jannis noted that it is such a small field with a lot of support, and claimed that it is very much worth it to be in such a space. Jannis gave out some advice to young people to always ask for help and support when needed, and just do it!
If you want to find out more about what was in this episode, give it a listen!