Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

The Power of Diversity in the Armed Forces:
International Perspectives on Immigrants’ Participation in the Military

Virtual workshop: Friday June 25 - Saturday, June  26, 2021.



Download the Workshop Agenda (PDF 1.6mb) 

Download the full Workshop Programme (PDF 3.1mb) 

A key issue scholars and government officials around the world are currently grappling with is that of enhancing the diversity of their countries’ armed forces. Very few, however, focus on a critically important aspect of this debate: the representation of those who, in many countries, cannot fully contribute to enhancing the diversity of their armed forces because of their status as immigrants or non-citizens. This topic is particularly important to today’s militaries because they need to find innovative ways to increase and diversify their recruitment pools in order to accomplish the double objective of meeting their current recruitment needs whilst also reflecting the diversity of the populations they serve. This workshop brought together researchers from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States who will discuss the different experiences of various militaries around the world as they attempt to meet these two objectives simultaneously.

In particular, they discussed the nature of existing barriers as well as opportunities to immigrants/non-citizens’ full participation in the armed forces by drawing comparisons across countries, identifying common challenges and opportunities, sharing best practices, and providing evidence-based recommendations. This workshop’s most important contribution to the debate focussed on how to increase the diversity of militaries around the world consists in its central claim that the participation and integration of immigrants/non-citizens in the armed forces is morally and strategically imperative, and contributes to the goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion in defence organizations.



Expanding the Considerations of Immigrants and Military:  Al Okros, Royal Military College of Canada; Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, Canadian Defence Academy.


From Integration to Inclusion: Key to Successful Culture Change:  Major-General Lise Bourgon, Canadian Armed Forces; CIDP 2020-21 Visiting Defence Fellow



Panel 1 - Representation: A Military that Reflects the Society it Serves

Fighting for Your Host country: A Look at Non-citizen Soldiers in Belgium [PDF 616kb]Delphine Resteigne, Royal Military Academy, Brussels; University of Mons, Belgium. 

The Swiss Armed Forces' Reputation and Its Integration Function for Recruits with Migration Backgrounds [PDF 1.1mb]: Stefano De Rosa, Military Academy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland and Tibor Szvircsev Tresch, Military Academy at ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Whose Military Is It Anyway? Transforming the Australian Defence Force into Australia’s Defence Force [PDF 1.7mb]Jarrod Pendlebury, University of Sydney, Australia. 

Panel 2 - Motivators to Non-citizen Military Participation

In Defence of Diversity: Immigrant Inclusion in the US Military as a Strategic Imperative [PDF 1.6mb]Emerald M. Archer, Mount St. Mary’s University, California, US 

Gym Warriors: Motivations and Barriers to Second Generation Immigrants for Enlisting in the Dutch Armed Forces [PDF 322kb]René Moelker, Netherlands Defense Academy and Lema Salah, Netherlands Defense Academy; Radboud University, Nijme-gen, the Netherlands, 

Panel 3 - Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: Benefits and Imperatives to Non-citizen Military Participation

The Military as a Path to Citizenship, Integration and Identity: Visible Minorities and Immigrants' Perspectives about the the Military in Canada [PDF 1.6mb]: Grazia Scoppio, Royal Military College of Canada; Nancy Otis, DGMPRA, Department of National Defence Canada; Yan (Lizzie) Yan, Queen's University

Nationalism and Absence of Immigrants in the Brazilian Armed Forces [PDF 250kb]: Maria Celina D'Araujo, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Panel 4 - Roadblocks: Barriers to Non-citizen Recruitment and Retention in the Armed Forces

Children of Migrant Workers in Military Service: Cross-sectional comparison in the Israel Defense Force [PDF 1.5mb]: Uzi Ben-Shalom, Ariel University, Israel; Deny Babis, Ariel University; Galia Sabar, Tel Aviv University, Israel; Anabel Lifszyc Friedlander, Gordon College, Israel and Tel Aviv University; Corinne Berger, Ariel University

International Perspectives from India, Norway and Poland on Imigrant Intake in the Military [PDF 1.3mb]: Samir Rawat, Military MIND Academy, India; Andrzej Piotrowski, University of Gdańsk, Poland; Ole Boe, Bjørknes University College, Norway; Shradha Sharma, Military MIND Academy 

Caught in Between the Progressive and the Traditional: The Swedish Military Managing Diversity [VIDEO]: Arita Holmberg, Swedish Defense University; Beatrice Pahv, Swedish Defense University