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

Friday June 25 - Saturday, June  26, 2021.
Virtual Workshop via Zoom (by invitation only)


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 brings 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 will spell out 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 focusing 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.

The workshop will be held virtually over two days, on June 25 and 26, 2021, through the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP) at Queen’s University. The CIDP has a wide network of students and early career researchers, who we will be pleased to engage leading up to, during, and after the workshop. A number of our presenters are also new scholars, which is another meaningful way we are involving early researchers and providing them with opportunities for professional and career development. Employing an interactive panel style will effectively allow presenters to share the research they have developed. On Friday, June 25, workshop organizers will welcome participants and provide opening remarks to set the stage for the two-day workshop. This will be followed by the keynote address by Dr. Alan Okros, and three consecutive panels. The following day, Saturday, June 26, will consist of the guest speaker’s presentation by Major-General Lise Bourgon, followed by a fourth panel, leading into two sessions of three concurrent break-out groups with different themes to generate rich discussions. Finally, a theme integration session will conclude our virtual workshop.

download the short-form programme (PDF 1.6mb)