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March 11, 2011

Facts About The Women and Public Service Initiative

Building a generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership in their governments, and change the way global solutions are forged.

The range of complex challenges that exist around the world today and into the future require the robust participation of women in public service and political leadership to forge global solutions to improve governance, expand civil rights, and combat corruption. As Secretary Clinton announced on March 11, 2011, the State Department is working in partnership with five leading women’s colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley – to launch a new Women and Public Service initiative to advance women’s leadership in politics and governance worldwide. With rich traditions of educating women from around the world to be leaders for over 30 generations, these schools represent the very best of American higher education and a legacy of historic achievement for women. Together the State Department and these colleges will convene a series of global conversations and launch partnerships to ensure that we are educating and training a new generation of women to enter the public sector with the strategic leadership skills, energy, and commitment required to tackle today’s global challenges.


To challenge the world community to identify, create, and advance a new generation of women committed to public service

To bring together thought leaders, educators, and public servants from around the world, as well as members of the private and non-profit sectors, who wish to take up this challenge

To identify and address the obstacles that prevent more women from committing to a life of public service and political leadership

To explore creative solutions that will increase the number of young women who aspire and are empowered to pursue a career in public service

To make recommendations for implementing those solutions at all levels of political involvement around the world

As a first step, the State Department and the participating colleges will partner to host a Colloquium in the Fall of 2011 at Bryn Mawr College convening policy makers, public officials, academics experts, and innovative thinkers to: (1) form a global network of women in public service; (2) draw attention to the need to train and uplift a new generation of female political leaders; (3) advance partnerships, including an annual summer institute on public service and political leadership for young women from around the world.


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

Kristen Cole
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T (413) 585-2190

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