Susan Yoshihara

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Susan Yoshihara is founder and president of the American Council on Women Peace and Security, a non-partisan nonprofit organization advancing women’s leadership in international peace and security. She is the Women Peace and Security Advisor to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and University, and serves on the board of the White House Fellows Alumni Association and Foundation.

She has participated in UN negotiations on development and human rights since 2006 as a member of civil society, and served on the Holy See delegation to the UN Commission on Population and Development.

Dr. Yoshihara has given expert testimony before UN and U.S. government bodies, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, UN Security Council, and the UN Economic and Social Council, on the human rights treaty system, human trafficking, women and children in post-conflict peace building, and the role of the family in sustainable development.

Dr. Yoshihara served for 20 years as an active-duty U.S. Navy helicopter pilot in the Western Pacific. She led combat logistics missions in the Gulf War, conducted humanitarian assistance missions in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, and served on the personal staff to the combatant commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet, Admiral William J. Flanagan. Dr. Yoshihara was on the faculty at the U.S. Naval War College where she taught national security affairs, international relations, strategic leadership, and organizational management.

As a White House Fellow (1996-97) she conducted research on Nazi theft of gold and other assets of Jewish families (the Nazi Gold Project) for the Under Secretary of Commerce, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat. The effort led to the repatriation of $8 billion to the victims of the Nazis.

Dr. Yoshihara is the author of Waging War to Make Peace: U.S. Intervention in Global Conflicts (Praeger, 2010), which examines why the great powers enter small wars. She is also co-editor of Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics (Potomac Books, 2012). The book challenges a widely-held, but false, view that population growth harms global security. Instead, it argues that demographic decline is making the world less secure.  The study has been translated into Japanese as The Life and Death of Nations (2014) and has inspired several international conferences on the nexus of population and security. She has published in law review and peer reviewed journals on international human rights and humanitarian law/the laws of armed conflict.

Dr. Yoshihara is a frequent public speaker and her commentary has appeared in Fox News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Times, Providence Journal, Roll Call, Human Events, and National Review Online.

She holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, M.A. in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, M.F.A. in creative non-fiction from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband Dr. Toshi Yoshihara and their two daughters.

Explore Her Work


Waging War to Make Peace: U.S. Intervention in Global Conflicts, Praeger Security International, 2010 by Susan Yoshihara

Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics by Susan Yoshihara (Editor), Douglas A. Sylva (Editor), Nicholas Eberstadt (Foreword)

For decades scholars have maintained that fewer people will make the world safer. Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics (Potomac Books), co-edited by Susan Yoshihara and Douglas Sylva, finds just the opposite. Demographic decline will make the world a much riskier, more unstable place to live in the next few decades. The distinguished contributors to this new provocative book refute the conventional wisdom by showing how fertility decline in Europe, Japan, Russia, and China, along with population divergences in India, will likely increase transatlantic tensions and destabilize Asian security. Meanwhile, the United States faces tough choices if it is to harness its demographic advantage.

Articles and Chapters

Abortion and the Laws of War: Subverting Humanitarianism by Executive Edict,” University of St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy (2016)

The World’s Worst Law,” Townhall, January 8, 2015

Terrorism and the Ethics of War,” International Philosophical Quarterly, vol.51, no.2, issue 202 (June 2011)

“Kosovo,” in Flashpoints in the War on Terrorism, Derek Reveron and Jeffrey Murer, eds. (New York: Routlege, 2006

“The Trouble with Mixed Motives: Debating the Political, Legal, and Moral Dimensions of Intervention,” Naval War College Review vol. LVII, no. 3/4 (Summer/Autumn 2004)

Opinion Pieces

How Congress Dismissed Women’s Empowerment”, The Hill, December 31, 2020

Three cheers as Trump launches first Women Peace and Security Strategy“, The Hill, June 11, 2019

 “What really happened with the breastfeeding scandal in Geneva,” The Hill, July 13, 2018

Does USAID Blame Women for the World’s Wars?,” The Stream, April 28, 2018

Time to let Trump lead on women, peace and security,” The Hill, February 12, 2018

“Population Decline and Japan’s National Defense: Compatibility with International Contributions,” Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2012

The quiet revolution in Asia,” Human Events, March 8, 2012

The one thing Putin wants Russians to do like Americans,” Fox News, March 2, 2012

Defense cuts are poised to squander America’s demographic advantage,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 2012

Seizing America’s Demographic Advantage,” Roll Call, February 15, 2012

As China Goes Geriatric, We Have the Advantage,” Washington Times, February 14, 2012

Aging World Population is Profound Crisis,” Human Events, April 15, 2010

How to Think About the Responsibility to Protect,” First Things, June 16, 2008

The False Choice Between Development and Daughters,” First Things, August 23, 2007

Congressional and UN Testimonies

UN Commission on the Status of Women, High Level Forum, “Femininity and the Advancement of Women,” (March 2019)

UN Commission on Population and Development, Panel Discussion with Chiefs of Mission, “Family and Peace: Demographics and Social Protection,” (March 2019)

Embassy of Hungary to the United States, Forum on Social Policy, U.S. Library of Congress, “Demographics and the future of NATO,” (March 2019)

UN Economic and Social Council, “Combatting Human Trafficking in the Digital Age,” panel chair (May 2017)

UN Economic and Social Council, Expert Panel on the Rights of Children, chair (October, 2016)

UN Economic and Social Council panel on Marriage and Family in International Law, expert (May, 2016)

UN Security Council, Open Debate on Children Affected by Armed Conflict, NGO representative (June, 2015)

House Foreign Affairs Comm., Subcommittee on Africa, testimony on children born of rape in conflict (June, 2015)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hearing on ratification of Disabilities Convention, expert testimony (Nov 2013)

UN Commission on Population and Development, Delegate for Holy See Mission to UN (April, 2012)

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, expert testimony on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (2010)

UN ECOSOC negotiations on Disabilities Treaty, NGO participant (August, 2006)

Selected Lectures and Addresses

J-CPAC, Tokyo, “The Life and Death of Nations,” November 2018

University of St. Thomas Law School, “Demographic Decline and Sustainable Development,” March 2017

Yale University, Vita et Veritas Conference, “The Life and Death of Nations,” October 2016

Tucson Committee on Foreign Affairs, “Population Decline and American Exceptionalism,” April 2015

Commission on the Status of Women, “Children’s Convention and the Rights of Children Born of War,” March 2015

St. Thomas University Law School, Minneapolis, “Demographic Decline and Great Power Politics,” April 2014

Jamaica Human Rights Day, Kingston, Jamaica, “UN Human Rights and Human Dignity,” December 2012

U.S. Naval War College, “Demographic Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics,” Aging Asia Conference, May 2012

International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, “Demographic Decline and U.S. Naval Power,” with Gordon Chang, Lisa Curtis, comments by Thomas Mahnken, April 2012

Roger Williams University, political science department, Bristol, RI, “Population and Power,” April 2012

Hudson Institute, Panel on Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics, April, 2012

Heritage Foundation, Panel on Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics, with Gordon Chang and Lisa Curtis, moderated by Ted Bromund, March 2012

Institute for World Politics, “Population Politics,” April 2012

Commission on Population and Development, UN Headquarters, New York, “Population Decline and International Peace and Security,” April 2011

Fletcher School New York Symposium, “A Career in UN Social Policy Research and Advocacy,” January 2011

Fletcher School Doctoral Symposium, Medford, MA, keynote address, “Political, Legal, and Moral Dimensions of U.S. Military Intervention,” 2010

U.S. Naval War College, Women, Peace & Security Conference, “Population, Peace & Security,” March 2010

UN Correspondents Association, UN Headquarters with Ambassador John Bolton, Ed Feulner, Brett Schaefer, “Social Policy, Sovereignty, and Human Dignity,” March 2010

Princeton University, Madison Program on Ideas and Institutions, “How to think About the Responsibility to Protect,” May 2008

International Studies Association, San Francisco, Panel Chair, “Population and World Power,” March 2008

European Civil Society Leaders Conference, Vienna Austria, “Agenda of the 62nd UN General Assembly: Problems, and Prospects,” November 2007

Institute for World Politics, Washington, D.C., guest lecturer, “Economic, social and cultural rights in international law,” September 2007

European Union Studies Association, Montreal, paper presentation, “Soft Norms, Hard Power,” May 2007

International Studies Association, Chicago, paper presentation, “The EU at the UN: Advancing New Norms on Gender and the Family,” March 2007

International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, “Mixed Motives, Moral Imperatives: A Triptych Approach to the Theory and Practice of Military Intervention,” March 2006

U.S. Naval Academy political science department, guest lecturer, Annapolis, “Terrorism, Intervention, and Ethics in International Relations,” November 2005

Embassy of Switzerland, Washington, Empowering Women, Promoting Peace Conference, “Expanding the Role of Women in the Security Sector: Lessons from the U.S. Military,” featured speaker, November 2005

Tufts University, the Fletcher School Doctoral Symposium, “Thinking about Iraq,” keynote paper, November 2002

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