Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a new partnership between the U.S. Department of State and five prestigious all-female colleges.
The Women and Public Service Initiative will bring together the resources of Smith, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Barnard and Bryn Mawr, with the State Department to increase the participation of women around the globe, in public service and political leadership, Clinton, a 1969 Wellesley alumna, said on Friday.
“Together we will seek to promote the next generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed,” Clinton said.
Clinton made the announcement in New York City at the Women in the World Stories and Solutions conference, sponsored by Newsweek and the Daily Beast website.
In a speech highlighting the promise for women in countries that are making the transition to democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere, Clinton warned that the gains are “fragile and reversible.”
“We have learned the hard way that without involving women in peace, the peace will not be sustained,” Clinton said.
The initiative will present a conference this fall and develop a public service and political leadership institute for young women. The conference, to be held at Bryn Mawr College, will bring together global policy makers, public officials and academic experts to draw attention to the need to train and inspire a new generation of female political leaders, among other goals.
The liberal arts schools have a distinguished roster of graduates who have gone on to work in public service and international issues, including Secretaries of State Clinton and Madeleine Albright – both graduates of Wellesley.
Kavita Ramdas, graduate of Mount Holyoke, is a recent president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. Farah Pandith, a graduate of Smith, is the U.S. Department of State special representative to Muslim communities.
“In today’s interconnected world, it is our goal to educate women for positions of global leadership and train a new generation of thought leaders who will make a difference in the world,” said Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly in a statement.
“We are delighted to collaborate further with our esteemed alumna, Secretary Clinton, and our sister colleges to continue to promote the voice of women around the world,” Bottomly said.
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