U.S. Department of State Announces "The Women in Public Service Project"

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 6, 2011

The U.S. Department of State announced today “The Women in Public Service Project,” an innovative initiative that pairs the power of public service with the Seven Sisters Colleges of Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Wellesley College to engage and inspire future generations of women leaders in the United States and around the world. The Project will identify and educate a new generation of women committed to public service, create an infrastructure of support and mentoring, and help enable more women to enter public service and political leadership.

To kick-off this wide-ranging initiative, 40 women from 37 countries who serve their communities as elected officials, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, and civil society activists traveled to the United States today to participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program. During this international exchange, these international women in public service will collaborate with their American counterparts on ways in which to bridge barriers facing women in public service and empower a new generation of young women.

The 40 international participants are arriving from Afghanistan, Angola, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burma, Cameroon, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Maldives, Namibia, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia and Yemen. These women will travel to Albany, NY; Austin, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Manchester, NH; Minneapolis, MN; Pensacola, FL; Portland, OR; Sacramento, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; and Tampa, FL.

Following the 10-day exchange, the women leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. where they will participate in the Secretary of State’s Women in Public Service colloquium. The colloquium will bring together policymakers and leading thinkers to highlight the urgent need for women in public services and the resources they need to attain positions of leadership. Details regarding the colloquium will be forthcoming.

In addition, on December 16-17, the participants will attend the Emerging Women Leaders in Public Service Forum. The forum will explore such issues as the skills needed for successful public servants in the 21st century and how to achieve the 50 percent mark for women in public service by 2050. The women will identify mentoring and training needs, as well as how to establish and sustain an international network of leaders and generate new insights on women's political leadership roles.

Updates on the events and the Women in Public Service project can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WPSProject or on Twitter @WPSProject.

Media contact: Talley Sergent, U.S. Department of State, SergentRT@state.gov.

PRN: 2011/2078