Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Wellesley College Class of 1969) and Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Class of 1959) visited campus on Monday for the Opening Ceremonies of the Women in Public Service Institute.
"Around the world, we are hoping to help correct the gender imbalances in public service," Clinton told the audience. "Not just by working at the top, shattering those glass ceilings, but also at the grassroots level by training and supporting women."
The Institute is part of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP). Founded by The U.S. State Department and the five leading women's colleges (Wellesley, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Smith and Mount Holyoke), WPSP seeks to "build a generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership in their governments, and change the way global solutions are forged."
Former Secretary Madeleine Albright opened the ceremonies with remarks that included an anecdote about how far women have come in this country -- a quote from her granddaughter who, at age 7 asked, “so what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddie being Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretary of State.”
But there's still a long way to go -- currently women hold less than 20 percent of elected offices in the United States. WPSP envisions a world where women hold 50 percent of elected offices by 2050.
The Project will "convene a series of global conversations and launch partnerships to educate and train a new generation of women to enter the public sector with the strategic leadership skills, energy, and commitment required to tackle today’s global challenges."
This year's Institute includes some 50 women from 21 countries. This year's delegation comprises a particularly strong cohort from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region.
Visit The State Department Web site to read the full text of Secretary Clinton's remarks, including the Question and Answer session Secretary Clinton participated in with the audience. In the Q&A program Clinton took questions from Afghanistan, Israel, and Kosovo, in addition to the general audience.
The Institute will continue at Wellesley through June 22. Next summer, the Institute will be hosted by another of the founding schools and will rotate among the schools each summer thereafter.