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

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

Start Date
Friday June 25, 2021
End Date
Saturday June 26, 2021
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


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

Panel 2 - Motivators to Non-citizen Military Participation

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

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