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A founding partnership of the U.S. Department of State and Smith, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke and Wellesley colleges, the Women in Public Service Project works to advance women’s leadership in politics and governance worldwide. Since the establishment of the project, the academic partners have expanded to include Mills, Mount St. Mary’s and Scripps colleges; the project is now a program of the Wilson Center.

“At a time when governments, NGOs, and businesses are increasingly recognizing how educating women and girls allays poverty and political instability, we need women leaders, committed to the public sector, from many nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds, globally educated and prepared to lead,” said Smith President Carol T. Christ, in explaining the founding institutions’ commitment to the endeavor.

Launched December 15, 2011 with an international colloquium at the State Department, the project's first Summer Institute was held in 2012. Smith alumna Farah Pandith ’90, who serves as the State Department’s special representative to Muslim communities, has been a key mover in the formation of the project, helping ensure that the Sister colleges’ legacy of education for leadership is leveraged to address today’s challenges around the globe.

In 2011, Smith College collaborated with other top women’s colleges and the U.S. State Department to launch the Women in Public Service Project, with the goal of preparing the next generation of women leaders from around the globe for success in public service. In this video, Smith President Carol T. Christ discusses the importance of the project.