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October 18, 2010

Six-City Asia Tour by Smith College President
To Highlight the Power of Women’s Education

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Smith College, one of the nation’s original “Seven Sister” colleges and an institution with longstanding ties to Asia, will soon host discussions in major cities throughout the continent about its success in educating young women who transform their communities and change the world.

Smith President Carol T. Christ will lead the six-city tour, beginning in Tokyo Nov. 9, and followed by visits to Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai, and Delhi.

At each event, President Christ will speak about the important role Asia will play in Smith’s future, and how Smith intends to educate today’s students to be the global leaders of tomorrow. Additionally, a panel discussion will spotlight prominent local alumnae who will reflect on how Smith prepared them for life beyond the campus.

“Increasingly, high-achieving women are coming to the United States—and to Smith, specifically—from Asia, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe—spurred by a desire for a challenging, engaging, global education,” said President Christ. “The college is a recognized choice for exceptional young women worldwide.”

International students now represent the fastest-growing segment of Smith’s applicant pool. Applications from non-U.S. students nearly doubled over the last 15 years, and international students now represent 12 percent of the student body.

Additionally, Smith is developing a distinctive academic enrichment program for girls in secondary schools – ages 14 to 17 – outside the U.S., who aspire to enroll in the nation’s leading colleges. The six- to eight-week program, which is slated to be launched in the summer of 2012, will offer enrichment courses that emphasize persuasive writing, public speaking and direct engagement with original sources.

“U.S. higher education institutions value not only demonstration of knowledge but the ability to analyze material, synthesize arguments, and bring forward new, creative ideas and interpretations,” Christ explained. “By focusing on those skills, Smith’s program will help girls find their own voices and position themselves as compelling and successful applicants to U.S. colleges and universities.”

President Christ’s tour of Asia coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the graduation of Smith’s first Asian student, Tei Ninomiya, a native of Japan whose college education in another country was remarkable for the time. Afterward, Ninomiya returned to her country to work with the YWCA and marry Unjiro Fujita, governor in Formosa.

Smith’s graduates hold prominent leadership positions around the world including Laura D’Andrea Tyson, the first woman to chair White House Council of Economic Advisers and first female dean of the London Business School; Pearl Yau Toy, chief of the University of California San Francisco Blood Bank and Donor Center; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chair of the Carlson Companies; Hoon Eng Khoo, faculty at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore; Pamela Craig, chief financial officer for Accenture, the world’s largest management information consulting firm; Carol Rodley, United Sates Ambassador to Cambodia; Farah Pandith, U.S. Department of State special representative to Muslim communities; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker; Shaharzad Akbar, Foundation for Free and Fair Elections in Afghanistan; and the late Xie Xide, physicist and president of Fudan University in China.

Students are often attracted to Smith’s vibrant and highly diverse student body and by the Five Colleges, a consortium with some of the largest concentrations of international students anywhere in the country. While on campus, Asian Smith students participate in a variety of cultural groups, including the Asian Student Association, Chinese Interregional Student Cultural Organization, EKTA students of South Asian heritage, International Students Organization, Korean American Students of Smith, Southeast Asian Alliance and Vietnamese Students Association.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 72 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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