This July the College was caught up in a flurry of activity as it hosted the 2013 Women in Public Service Project Institute—an event that, among other milestones, brought former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to campus as a keynote speaker. In gathering information for this month’s cover story, “The New Face of Leadership”, I had the privilege of talking to some of the people who made the Institute such a success.
I was most struck by the absolute commitment shown by faculty, students, staff, and alumnae to pulling off the herculean task of developing a two-week curriculum of leadership development for delegates from 35 countries. But after talking to some of these emerging women leaders from nations that recently experienced disruptive conflict, I could see why the Bryn Mawr community was so inspired. Their courage, conviction, and accomplishments in rebuilding peace and security in their homelands make a powerful argument for the College’s ongoing investment in global women’s advancement.
In her inaugural blog post, Interim President Kim Cassidy writes, “Over the past decade, public policy research has documented that when women have a ‘seat at the table’ in public service, whether at the local, regional, or national level, they support policies, laws, and practices that advance educational opportunity and health outcomes for all, and they pursue strategies to build peace rather than escalate violence.”
According to Clinton, colleges and universities can have more of an impact than government in advancing women in public service because they are not seen as having a political agenda or ulterior motive for their involvement. “It is hard,” Cassidy concludes, “to imagine a more compelling mission for a women’s college.”
On the cover: Portraits of six of the 43 delegates who attended the 2013 Women in Public Service Project Institute at Bryn Mawr College for two weeks of leadership development: (clockwise from top right) Nisan Ahmado from UAE/Syria, Agnes Igoye from Uganda, Azra Jafari from Afghanistan, Julijana Trajkovik from Macedonia, Carmen da Cruz from Timor-Leste, and Wanja Michuki ’96 from Kenya. Portraits by Greg Copeland.