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Christ, Creighton Collaborate to Promote Women’s Education

President Carol Christ met with leaders from 14 other women’s colleges in August to devise a strategy for ongoing collaboration to increase access to quality educational opportunities for girls and women. Christ co-founded the group Women’s Education Worldwide (WEW) with Mount Holyoke College President Joanne V. Creighton.

Among the areas of collaboration committed to by WEW representatives during the four-day summit in Bellagio, Italy, were faculty, student and staff exchanges; data sharing; and the development of an internationalized curriculum touching on subjects of cross-cultural importance, including women in politics and environmental issues.

“This level of cooperation among so many disparate institutions may be rare in higher education but it speaks volumes about the growing need to advance opportunities for women everywhere, regardless of cultural, economic, religious or historical contexts,” said Christ.

“When women are educated, all of society benefits—whether in terms of economic productivity, public health or an engaged citizenry,” said Creighton.

WEW’s members, now about 50, include colleges and universities from five continents, large and small, public and private, well established and new.

“We are making great strides in harnessing the collective energy of women’s institutions around the world to open new opportunities for educational advancement and social change,” said Hoon Eng Khoo ’73, recently named vice president of academic planning for the Asian University for Women, which will open the doors of its undergraduate program in Bangladesh in 2009. As a Smith alumna, Khoo credits her women’s college education as an inspiration for her work on behalf of women’s education in Asia.

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