Women's colleges partner to help & learn from war-torn communities

Stefanie Botelho's picture

Best practices in higher education often brings campuses together to share costs and resources in the dual spirit of collaboration and good business sense. Three Massachusetts women's colleges-Smith, Mount Holyoke and Simmons-are teaming up in a project to maximize their combined resources and connections to help women from around the world who are already making a positive impact in their own conflict-torn cities and towns.

A group of 50 women from more than 20 nations who will take part as delegates in the 2014 Women in Public Service Project Institute May 25-June 6 held in programs that will move from campus to campus.. They will travel to Massachusetts to receive mentoring and support in their work to rebuild communities torn by war, political violence and human rights violations to address "Reconstructing Societies in the Wake of Conflict: Transitional Justice and Economic Development."

The intended result is leveraging the power of doing good, collaboratively, while also drawing from what will be learned to further strengthen educational programs on all three campuses.

These 50 women who are making a difference in post-conflict societies in Asia, Africa, and South America will benefit from the insights of more than 20 scholars, policy makers and representatives from U.S. and international government and nongovernment organizations, universities and institutes who will help mentor them. According to Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquerella, the collaboration among the colleges furthers the approach in which the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) was established in 2011. "This year's two-week program on our three campuses reflects this collaborative spirit," she says. "Beyond working together to promote our shared objectives in fostering women's leadership, this partnership provides the opportunity for enhanced academic and administrative collaborations that will benefit each institution."

Co-founded by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, other women leaders, including Madeleine Albright, the U.S. State Department and America's leading women's colleges, the institute aims to provide emerging women leaders with the concrete tools and training necessary to increase the scope, efficacy, and visibility of their work. In 2012, the WPSP joined forces with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The 50 delegates all have stories to tell and insights to share. They and project organizers from the colleges and the WPSP would welcome your interest in the project:

http://womeninpublicservice.wilsoncenter.org/institutes/summer-institute-at- mount-holyoke-simmons-smith-colleges/ and http://www.smith.edu/wpsp/

The delegates: http://www.smith.edu/wpsp/about-the-delegates/ and the featured speakers: http://www.smith.edu/wpsp/speaker_biographies/