Wellesley Passed Torch of Hosting WPSP Summer Institute to Bryn Mawr

July 12, 2013
Hillary Clinton greets emerging women leaders from around the world

The 2013 Women in Public Service Summer Institute, on the topic of peacebuilding and development, is underway at Bryn Mawr College. Delegates to this year’s Summer Institute are emerging women leaders from more than 38 post-conflict countries. The 51 women hail from places including Afghanistan, Egypt, Kenya, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 delivered the Institute’s keynote address on Tuesday. According to a local ABC news report, she told delegates, “Women who want to make a difference in the world must expand female leadership at all levels of society and make decisions based on evidence, not ideology.”

Clinton launched the WPSP initiative in 2011 to help guide and inspire women, especially those in countries undergoing political transitions or emerging from conflicts, to pursue leadership positions. The program’s goal is for women to hold 50 percent of public offices worldwide by the year 2050. Women currently hold fewer than 20 percent of elected offices.

Several members of the Wellesley community are participating in the 2013 Summer Institute including: panelists Victoria Budson ’93, Farahnaz Ispahani ’85, and former Wellesley Centers for Women researchers Rangita de Silva de Alwis; session facilitator Meenakshi Chakraverti ’83; and speaker Maria Kefalas ’89.

Wellesley College hosted the first Women in Public Service Summer Institute in 2012. During remarks the 2012 institute, President Bottomly said, “Together we are building an infrastructure that will provide women in public service around the world with resources and support to help them advance to leadership positions. Here at Wellesley, we have long been preparing women for leadership roles in an interconnected global society and so our involvement with the Women in Public Service Project is a natural extension of our mission.”

The College recently embarked on another initiative designed to inspire the next generation of women leaders globally. Women World Partners launched last month in Beijing, China.

The 2013 Summer Institute began on July 7 and will conclude on July 19. According to the Women in Public Service Project website, a second institute, Women Leaders in International Relations: Comparing EU and U.S. Experiences, is taking place concurrently in Brussels.