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The Women in Public Service Project


A 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.

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

“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 former Smith President Carol T. Christ. “That is the venture on which we embark.”

Past Programs

Reconstructing Societies in the Wake of Conflict: Transitional Justice and Economic Development

Smith, Mount Holyoke and Simmons colleges hosted a two-week Institute, “Reconstructing Societies in the Wake of Conflict: Transitional Justice and Economic Development,” in 2014. This Institute explored the crucial issues of human and economic security in rapidly changing societies with an emphasis on Asia. Learn more...

Women’s Leadership: Public Service and Global Health

“Women’s Leadership: Public Service and Global Health” was held in Paris on October 17–21, 2012, and was organized by Smith College and co-sponsored by Smith and the U.S. State Department. The conference centered on the broad topic of public service leadership on issues of public health. Learn more...