“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”
That proclamation, made 25 years ago at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69, feels as urgent today as it did in 1995—perhaps even more so—and inspired the theme of this year’s annual Albright Institute Wintersession program, “The Spirit of Beijing: Revisiting the Fourth World Conference on Women.” The three-week program, which wrapped up January 23, also coincided with another important anniversary: the 10th year of the Albright Institute at Wellesley.
The 40 Albright Institute fellows who participated in the program hailed from 16 countries, represented 32 majors, and included 27 juniors, 12 seniors, and one Davis Scholar. They attended lectures and panels led by invited speakers and Wellesley faculty, and they worked together in small interdisciplinary groups to understand and identify opportunities to address complex global issues inspired by the call to action that resulted from the Beijing conference—among them gender quotas in national legislatures, women’s involvement in conflict resolution in Afghanistan, women’s access to family planning in the Philippines, and the impact on women of Boko Haram and the small-arms trade.
During the final week, the fellows presented their projects to Secretary Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59, who served as the Mary Jane Durnford Lewis ’59 Distinguished Visiting Professor during the program in honor of the institute’s 10th anniversary.
“Having the secretary as the distinguished visiting professor has been a real treat for the fellows,” said Rebecca Gordan, program director of the Albright Institute. “As one alumna of the program has said, ‘If you can present to Secretary Albright, you can present with confidence to anyone.’”
Here are a few scenes from the Albright Institute’s Wintersession program.