in Public Service Project to Convene Inaugural Colloquium
The Women in Public Service
Project, a partnership to increase the participation of women
in public service and political leadership around the world,
will soon host an inaugural international colloquium at the
U.S. State Department.
Since the announcement of the
project last spring, representatives from the founding institutions—the
State Department, Smith, and sister institutions Barnard,
Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley—have been working
to lay the groundwork for a forum to support current and
future women leaders worldwide.
The event on Dec. 15 will
address an invited audience that will include alumnae and
student and faculty representatives from each of the founding
colleges. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will
deliver the keynote address, which will be made accessible
to viewers around the world by webcast.
In the weeks before
the colloquium, the project will launch a multimedia website
to showcase the stories of women creating solutions through
public service and to make the colloquium proceedings, including
the secretary’s keynote, available.
Although each college
was limited in the number of representatives it could invite
to the event, the speeches will be live-streamed and featured
prominently online so that they are available to the Smith
community; watch for details of the webcast in the coming
The colloquium is expected to
create the foundation for women’s training institutes that will inspire and equip
women to improve governance, expand civil rights, achieve
positions of influence in governing bodies and combat corruption.
The pilot summer institute will be held at Wellesley in 2012.
Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large
for global women's issues, recently convened the initial
meeting of an international steering committee to plan the
first summer institute.
Smith alumna Farah Pandith ’90, who serves as the State Department’s
special representative to Muslim communities, has played
a critical role in the WPSP, helping ensure that the Sister
colleges’ legacy of education for leadership is leveraged
to address today’s challenges around the globe.
Christ characterized WPSP as “an ambitious project that will
be accomplished with the help of many partners around the
“It’s no coincidence,” she said, “that in founding this program, State is partnering
with Smith and the Sister colleges. Our legacy of alumnae in positions of influence
and leadership is historic, unparalleled, and very real. Smith alumnae are found
in every country and region, every field of endeavor, and at every level of leadership.
“Through his initiative, we will provide women around the world with the tools,
resources and network they need to succeed and thrive in public service.”