Journalist Simran Sethi ’92 reached out to Afghan members of the Smith community in the weeks after the fall of Kabul. Their conversations are a snapshot of the emotional pain, fear, anger, and hopelessness of that historic time.
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Smith, Mount Holyoke Partner for Women in Public Service Project Institute
Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges are preparing a two-week institute for emerging women leaders from post-conflict societies in Asia, to be held early next summer—from May 25 through June 6, 2014—in partnership with the U.S. State Department and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The Women in Public Service Institute at Smith and Mount Holyoke will focus on “Reconstructing Societies in the Wake of Conflict: Transitional Justice and Economic Development.” Institute participants will be drawn predominantly from Asia and will focus on women who are working to re-build their communities and promote sustainable economic livelihoods, following periods of political violence and human rights violations.
The Institute is part of the Women in Public Service Project founded in 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in collaboration with Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley colleges. The partnership has grown to include Scripps, Mount St. Mary’s and Mills colleges. WPSP is focused primarily on training early- to mid-career women from around the world to advance their careers in government and public service as they move their communities and countries forward politically, economically, and socially. The central mission of WPSP is to foster a world in which civic and political leadership is 50 percent female by 2050.
“WPSP exemplifies the important role that women’s colleges like Smith and Mount Holyoke are playing in the worldwide development of women leaders,” said Smith President Kathleen McCartney. “I am proud of the work our institutions and our alumnae have done in establishing WPSP and look forward to joining our faculty in welcoming the delegates next summer.”
“The Women in Public Service Project, with its goal of dramatically expanding representation by women in public service worldwide, is an effort that is drawing interest not only from educational leaders, but leaders in every field,” noted Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella. “There is a growing realization that when women are equal partners in leading societies, chances for positive social transformation are enhanced.”
The Institute will provide the emerging women leaders selected for participation with the concrete tools and training necessary to increase the scope, efficacy, and visibility of their work. Invited scholars, policymakers, and government and non-government representatives–among them Smith and Mount Holyoke alumnae–will aid delegates in expanding their leadership and communication skills, developing effective use of traditional and social media, and improving their ability to build national, regional, and international networks.
Faculty leaders for the project include Gregory White, Professor of Government and Director of the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith, and Karen Remmler, Professor of German Studies at Mount Holyoke and Director of the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.
The Smith-Mount Holyoke Institute will be the third summer institute under the auspices of the WPSP. Wellesley and Bryn Mawr have hosted institutes; there have been a number of shorter programs as well, including a program on “Woman’s Leadership: Public Service and Global Health” that Smith held in Paris last fall and an “Institute for Women’s Leadership in Latin America” hosted by Scripps and Mount St. Mary’s Colleges. During the two weeks, delegates will spend time on both campuses (MHC: May 25-31 with arrival May 24, Smith: June 1-6). Field trips are also being planned to visit elected leaders and community based organizations in Boston, New York, and Holyoke.