It's not every day the Secretary of State greets you personally when you arrive in the Capitol—but that's precisely what happened when a delegation of 25 Mount Holyoke students gathered with students from the other Sister colleges on December 15 for the first Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) colloquium.
The event marked the official launch of the WPSP, a partnership between the State Department and the remaining Seven Sisters—Mount Holyoke, Smith, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, and Wellesley Colleges. An audience of several hundred female diplomats, Cabinet secretaries, lawmakers, and military officers joined the college delegations of students, alumnae, faculty, and staff for a daylong program of inspiration and networking.
Students were greeted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a private breakfast before the morning program, where Clinton gave the keynote address and was among some 20 women leaders calling for a new generation of women committed to public service. Among others, the speakers included IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, noted women's advocate and writer Gloria Steinem, the president of Kosovo, and Mount Holyoke student and Zimbabwe native Chiedza Mufunde '12. (See a video of some of Mufunde's remarks.)
Beginning in the summer of 2012, the Department of State will partner with the colleges to offer annual summer WPSP institutes.