Mount Holyoke, Women's Colleges Attend Women's Education Worldwide Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 4-6

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 09:37
Mount Holyoke students to run leadership-training workshop for students at Dubai Women's College

For Immediate Release
December 21, 2005

Contact:Allison Gillis
(413) 538-2030

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- At the second Women's Education Worldwide (WEW) conference, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 4-6, academic presidents and deans will discuss the education and advancement of women worldwide.

Mount Holyoke President Joanne V. Creighton and Dean of Faculty Don O'Shea will join presidents and academic deans of women's colleges and universities worldwide for "Women's Education Worldwide 2006: Women's Dreams and Leadership." The purpose of the conference, first held at Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges in 2004, is to pursue the recommendations of the first conference, to learn about women's dreams in the global and technology era, and to discuss women leaders' global opportunities and challenges. Dubai Women's College, founded in 1989, will host the conference.

I'm delighted that the Women's Education Worldwide project continues to gain momentum," said President Creighton. "It is appropriate that Mount Holyoke, as the oldest continuing institution for higher education for women in the nation--and perhaps in the world--is a leader in this project. At our inaugural conference here at Mount Holyoke and at Smith, we laid out an ambitious agenda of working together to advance the education of women around the globe. At the Dubai conference, we will continue our conversations about the interrelated challenges that so many nations and cultures face in tapping what I think of as the world's greatest underutilized natural resource: women. We will also look for ways to reap more tangible benefits from our colleagueship with these diverse institutions."

Four Mount Holyoke students will also travel to Dubai Dec. 28-Jan. 6 to run a leadership-training workshop at the Dubai Women's College, which received a grant from the U.S. State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative to finance the event. The students, who were chosen because of their leadership experience, along with Beth Gibney-Boulden of Student Programs, will work with the DWC's student council for four days exploring opportunities for leadership within the school and offering a training program that they can adjust and replicate for their own students. The students will also make a presentation at the WEW conference.

"MHC has empowered me as a woman and as a leader," said Katie Kraschel '06, one of the students traveling to Dubai and the president of Mount Holyoke's Student Government Association. "I hope that we can do the same for the students at Dubai Women's College."

Keynote speakers at the WEW conference include Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Company in Saudi Arabia, who was ranked the 35th most powerful woman in international business by Fortune magazine in 2005 and the 97th most powerful woman in the world; and Hafsa Al Ulama, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Planning for Planning and Statistics Affairs and the first UAE female to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

"Dubai Women's College is honored to host the second WEW conference," said Howard Reed, director of the college. "After the first successful conference held jointly by Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges, the move to Dubai is of symbolic significance. The fact that all of our 2,300 students are UAE nationals highlights the point that educating young women is a global concern. Educational leaders from around the world will join us in discussing the diversity of aspirations of female students as well as the challenges facing female graduates."

Dubai Women's College has asked each institution to submit three issues or challenges in advance, and these will in large part shape the discussions at the conference.

"Certainly we have much to learn from each other, and there are many opportunities for collaboration," Creighton said. "Among the specific challenges we hope to discuss are how we can ensure both access and quality as an educational institution, how we can sustain an educational mission that runs counter to the dominant trends in the higher education marketplace, how we can promote a balanced approach to work and family in women's lives, and how we can advocate effectively for the unfinished agenda of women's education and advancement."

For more information on Women's Education Worldwide: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/proj/wew/

To set up an interview with any of the students upon their return, please contact Allison Gillis, 413-538-2030, agillis@mtholyoke.edu.