Duilia Mora Turner
Born in New York, Lieutenant Colonel Duilia Mora Turner is a first-generation American from a Colombian family. When she was two years old, her family moved to Brazil, where she grew up. She returned to the U.S. at the age of 19 to learn English and attend college. Faced with financial challenges and a great interest in science, she enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1997. As the Chief of Women, Peace, and Security at United States Southern Command, Lt Col Turner has gone above and beyond the call of duty to lead, mentor, and advocate for the full integration of women of across all sectors, not only in the United States, but also in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the past year, Lt Col Turner led numerous women’s inclusion and empowerment activities, connecting with 36 nations, and reaching over 10,000 people through virtual and inperson engagements. She promoted initiatives that directly address issues affecting women and girls during times of crisis, worked with the local community, and mentored other men and women on how to advocate for gender integration. Some specific examples include:
- As a subject matter expert, presented at the Defense Institute of Medical Operations' "Gender-Based Violence & Women's Health" forum. Highlighted the importance of gender perspectives to medical professionals from Belize, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.
- Created content and hosted episodes for a Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Podcast called Breaking Barriers highlighting distinguished servicewomen from Suriname, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Haiti, and Colombia. This podcast elevated the status of women across the Western Hemisphere, making the “invisible, visible.”
- Mentored two Latina students from the Florida International University for their graduate capstone, which focused on women’s studies.
- Planned and executed a high-level women's leadership panel with the Minister of Defense of Suriname at the SOUTHCOM headquarters in Miami-Dade, and secured an article with a defense magazine, "Suriname’s Defense Force Strengthens the Role of Women.”
- Served as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for women’s inclusion during Human Rights initiatives with US, Guatemala, Peru, and Paraguay.
- Partnered with UN Women in Colombia and the Colombian Armed Forces to implement the first “Gender Perspectives and Strategic Communication Course” in-country. This program was endorsed by Colombia's Presidential Office for Gender and counted with 52 students.
- Through outreach, Lt Col Turner supported local organizations, including the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, the South Dade Veterans Alliance, and the Miami Military Museum. She was also the keynote speaker for the Common Threads of Military Women Conference, which focused on healing sexual trauma.
Lt Col Turner did not hold back representing the professionalism of our forces, and the fact that every human being - regardless of gender - deserves a chance to participate meaningfully and succeed in our societies. This unconditional commitment to human capital and talent management was at the center of Lt Col Turner’s leadership and exceptional contributions. Lt Col Turner embodies all the qualities reflected in this prestigious recognition.