May 2011 Archways

In the World

State Department Unveils Women’s Initiative

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Bryn Mawr College—along with Smith, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke and Barnard—and the U.S. State Department will come together to forge a program to promote women as leaders throughout the world.

“I am proud to announce that the State Department is working with the historic Seven Sisters colleges to launch a new Women and Public Service Initiative,” said Clinton at the Women in the World: Stories and Solutions conference in March (sponsored by Newsweek and the Daily Beast). “Together we will seek to promote the next generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed.”

As part of the initiative, this fall Bryn Mawr will host a colloquium of global policy makers, public officials, academic experts, and innovative thinkers.

“Our alumnae have distinguished themselves in multiple forms of public service and constitute an extraordinary global network of experience and commitment, one that is ideally positioned to mentor and support a rising generation of dedicated leaders,” said President Jane McAuliffe. “We’re very excited to join with the State Department and our sister colleges to leverage the lessons we’ve learned through a history of fostering women’s education, advancement and empowerment.”

Delegation Goes to Bangladesh

Three students—Madelyn Houser ’11, Huipu Li ’13 and Jomaira Salas ’13—and three professors—sociologist Nathan Wright, anthropologist Amanda Weidman, and political scientist Jeremy Elkins—took part in groundbreaking ceremonies for the new permanent campus of the five-year-old Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

The university draws women from South and Southeast Asia. Li described the AUW as “a Utopia in Bangladesh.” The academic program at AUW, Li said, is “a unique model, and very brave,” because of the diversity of AUW’s student population: 60 percent of its students come from 11 countries outside of Bangladesh. “The spirit of cooperation among its students was especially impressive,” Li noted.

At an international conference hosted by AUW in the capital of Dhaka, President McAuliffe welcomed the fledgling women’s institution into the community of women’s colleges.

“There is an increasing awareness among Seven Sisters schools and other U.S. women’s colleges of women’s colleges around the world,” McAuliffe said, “and it’s a delight to learn more about new ones.”

Nepal Peace Project

Anthropology major Briana Bellamy ’11 will be able to carry out some of her ideas about social justice in Nepal, thanks to a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Grant. The program awards grants to 100 students who have designed projects that aim to promote peace and address the causes of conflict throughout the world.

Bellamy spent the fall of her junior year in Nepal and returned the following summer after she received the Emily Seydel International Internship grant from Bryn Mawr College. She intends to go to Kathmandu for a third time to implement her Davis Project for Peace, called “Sharing Knowledge for Peace (Shantiko laagi gyaan baatnu).”

She says that the core philosophy of the project is that all knowledge is valuable and all people have knowledge to share. Bellamy hopes that programs incorporating this philosophy will help youth to become more invested in their local communities. She also envisions the sharing knowledge project as an opportunity for adults to learn much-needed literacy skills and job training.

Taking Global Concerns to Capitol Hill

If Bryn Mawr’s classrooms were bereft of students over spring break, the halls of Congress were not: 22 students from the Undergraduate College and the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research spent Thursday, March 10, 2011, in the offices of U.S. senators and representatives.

The students went to D.C. to attend the national conference of the humanitarian organization CARE, which culminated in a day of meetings on Capitol Hill. CARE’s legislative agenda is to alleviate global poverty by focusing on women.

The Bryn Mawr delegation was organized by GSSWSR students Sara Grainger and Sheri McDonald. Lakshmi Somasundaram ’13 joined the groups that visited Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Joe Pitts (R-PA), as well as the offices of U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA). “It was great to connect with people from all over the U.S., and from 40 different countries,” Somasundaram said. “It was really uplifting to be surrounded by people who are all passionate about empowering girls and women.”