MHC Joins Sisters and State Department in Global Initiative

Saturday, March 12, 2011 - 18:04

Mount Holyoke College is joining with the U.S. State Department and four other leading women's colleges to establish a new program designed to increase the participation of women around the globe in public service and political leadership, and to develop global solutions to improve governance, expand civil rights, and combat corruption.

In broad ranging remarks delivered Friday, March 11 at the Women in the World Stories and Solutions conference in New York City, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the Women and Public Service Initiative, which will bring together the resources of five Seven Sisters colleges--Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley--and the State Department.

The collaborative effort aims to educate and train a new generation of women to enter the public sector with the strategic leadership skills, energy, and commitment required to tackle daunting world challenges.

"Today I am proud to announce the State Department is working with the historic Seven Sisters colleges to launch a new Women and Public Service initiative," Clinton said. "Together we will seek to promote the next generation of women who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed."

"At this particular moment in global discussions of democracy and representation, it is fitting that we should convene a long-term forum for the development of women in public service," said Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella. "Public service will never truly be public until women are equitable partners in shaping policies that serve the needs of humanity. We are thrilled to be convening a forum with our sister institutions who are committed to liberal learning as a powerful foundation for promoting sustained leadership in public service."

As a first step, in the fall of 2011 the State Department and the five colleges will host a colloquium at Bryn Mawr College that will bring together global policy makers, public officials, academics experts, and innovative thinkers. The event will have three goals: to form a global network of women in public service; to draw attention to the need to train and inspire a new generation of female political leaders; and to advance partnerships, including an annual summer institute on public service and political leadership for young women from around the world.

Many Mount Holyoke alumnae have gone into public service or work on international issues, including: Kavita Ramdas '85, recent president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women; Alfreda Brewer '77, director, Eurasian Affairs at USAID; and Mona Sutphen '89, who recently served as President Obama's deputy chief of staff for policy.

On the Mount Holyoke campus, work is already under way for participation in the partnership, which will draw broadly on the resources of the campus community, alumnae, and the Alumnae Association.

You can read additional coverage of the partnership in the Boston Globe and the Daily Beast.