Miriam Mona Müller on why Feminist Foreign Policy must be Anti-Racist and Intersectional

Miriam Mona Müller is using her expertise and her voice to change how foreign policy is crafted and implemented – and we love to see it! Check out her Q&A to learn more about her work.

feminist foreign policy
Image by Aaron Blanco Tejedor via Unsplash

Miriam Mona Müller is one of those fantastic women who’s combined her activism with being a scholar. She is working with something as important as foreign policy and, I mean, how important are feminist and antiracist approaches in the interactions between countries, and maybe even more so in global north / global south relations… white saviorism, how climate affects women… don’t get us started!

Anyways, Miriam is such an awesome lady and we met her during The Gender Alliance Summit last year pitching her research approach to be more intersectional. She’s a Strategic Policy and Research Advisor at the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP) – a research, advocacy, and consulting organisation dedicated to promoting Feminist Foreign Policy across the globe – so naturally we knew we needed to hear more about her work and the human behind, so check out the Q & A below!

Hi! Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are based and how you got into the space of Gender equality? What journey have you been on?

My name is Miriam, and I identify myself as Afro-German. I’m an activist scholar working for the Centre For Feminist Foreign Policy in Germany and doing my PhD on Gender, Peace and Security. My feminist journey has been an adventure in my private and professional life. At the moment, I decided to no longer stay silent on the systematic discrimination Germany’s Foreign Policy is perpetuating through patriarchy and racism. 

Tell us a little more about your work at the centre? What do you do and why is it important?

The Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy is a research, advocacy, and consulting organisation dedicated to promoting Feminist Foreign Policy across the globe. It was founded by Kristina Lunz and Marissa Conway in 2016. I joined the CFFP in Summer 2020 as a Strategic Policy and Research Advisor, and I’m leading the programme area “Feminist Foreign Policy So White”, where working on decolonial approaches on (Feminist) Foreign Policy and centring intersectionality.

Like all other policy areas, Feminist Foreign Policy lacks diversity and the meaningful participation of BIPoC. As we’re one of the leading organisations advocating a Feminist Foreign Policy, we want to make sure that discriminatory practices arent’ repeated. That’s why we actively work on our vision to see an intersectional approach to foreign policy adopted globally. One concrete example of our work is the establishment of the May Ayim Fellowship for BIPoC researchers. Our objective is to amplify BIPoC voices at CFFP but, more importantly, in the Feminist Foreign Policy sphere itself.

You have a focus also on intersectionality and race can you elaborate on the importance of that in regards to gender equity?

In my opinion, there is still a long way to go for Germany to understand that to achieve real gender equality, intersecting forms of discrimination cannot be separated from each other. If only a specific group of women is empowered, the rest remains marginalised and oppressed. This isn’t gender equality for me. Globally speaking, I think the voting rights are a good example to understand the importance of intersectionality.

When the first countries introduced the voting rights for women, mainly white women from a certain class were allowed to vote. Until today, structural barriers prevent women with disabilities, criminal records, a certain marital status or a certain residency permission to vote. Not all women are allowed to vote. That’s why Feminism has to be intersectional to meet the demands of our time.

Tell us about yourself and what you have been up this last crazy year – is there more momentum for anti-racism and intersectionality in your work in general? Is there suddenly more space where we as PoC can be heard?

The Black Lives Matter protests 2020 in Germany presented a real breakthrough and were a significant signal of how powerful social movements can be to put racism as a threat to an equal society on the political agenda. However, Black feminist activism remains challenging under Covid-19.

On a personal level, I really miss safer spaces in the offline world where I can be in the same room with BIPoC, where we can just be ourselves. I think I definitely underestimated how much I really need safer spaces for healing, inspiration, support and empowerment. It might seem simple, but not being able to go to concerts of BIPoC artists like Kaleo Saansa isn’t just entertainment for me. These are spaces where I can recharge my batteries.

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Image courtesy of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy

I heard through the grapevine that you were nominated for some award. Has it been because of work at the centre, or do you have hidden superpowers we didn’t know yet…?

I’d love to have superpowers! I felt very honoured to be in the same category with Black and women of Color like Janine Kugel, Kave Bulambo or Düzen Tekkal. They are all transforming German society into a more inclusive one. I think awards are important to increase the visibility of people’s work. Unfortunately, often diversity awards do not capture the whole concept of diversity, which includes critical whiteness, and by the end, the majority of winners are too often white people.

Who are your biggest role models, or what is a role model to you?

I have to admit that my role models have definitely changed over time. At the moment, I’m getting my inspiration and strength from Black feminist. My role models are Dr Toni Haastrup and Dr Natasha A. Kelly, and both are Black feminist academics. Especially for me as a Black woman doing feminist research and advocacy, the saying “You can’t be what you can’t see” was and still is true.

You can learn more about the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
by visiting their Instagram and their website.

antiracism | centre for feminist foreign policy | cffp

Miriam is an activist scholar examining the regional governance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda from a post-colonial perspective as a PhD Researcher at @hhu_de. She particularly focuses on the regionalisation of the gender, peace, and security agenda, as well as Feminist Foreign Policy from a post-colonial perspective. Learn more about her work and connect here:
LinkedIn: Miriam Mona Müller 
Instagram: miriam.mona.mukalazi

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