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By Kristen Cole    Date: 10/25/11 Bookmark and Share

Women in Public Service Project to Convene Inaugural Colloquium Dec. 15

View video coverage of the event.

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 weeks.

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.

President Christ characterized WPSP as “an ambitious project that will be accomplished with the help of many partners around the world.”

“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.”

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