Nonprofit leaders, government officials, educators, policymakers, entrepreneurs; in all, 30 emerging women leaders from 16 Latin American countries were selected to attend the Institute for Women’s Leadership in Latin America, co-hosted March 12-21 by Mount St. Mary’s College and Scripps College.
The intensive, invitation-only Institute seeks to engage early- and mid-career women from Latin America, and reflects the overall goal of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP): to increase the participation and influence of women in all spheres of public service. Founded in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the WPSP envisions a world in which women make up 50 percent of political and civic leadership by 2050.
“The overall Project and our upcoming Institute for Women's Leadership in Latin America fit in beautifully with the Mount’s commitment to education, leadership and service in a women-centered environment,” says Mount St. Mary’s President Ann McElaney-Johnson. “Public service is a powerful way for women to transform their communities and the world.”
The Institute will serve as a forum for these Latin American women to share ideas for social change, economic empowerment and increased political influence. More than two-dozen speakers, panelists and mentors will lead discussions and share advice during the Institute.
“Women drive positive political and social change in our increasingly inter-connected societies,” says Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga. “This Institute comes at a dynamic time around the globe and in Latin American countries.”
At the Institute’s opening ceremony, to be held at Scripps College on March 12, speakers will include: Josefina Vazquez Mota, a 2012 presidential candidate in Mexico and that country’s former Secretary of Education; Maria Echaveste, former deputy chief of staff for U.S. President Bill Clinton; and a video address from Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary General and executive director of UN Women.
On March 17, participants will transfer to Mount St. Mary’s Doheny Campus for the second half of the Institute. A reception that night will feature Eliane Karp Toledo, the former first lady of Peru and current visiting scholar at Stanford University. At the Institute’s closing ceremony on March 20, the delegates themselves will speak about their experiences and what they learned from their time together.
Other speakers scheduled during the Institute include: Gisselle Acevedo, CEO and former president of Para Los Ninos; Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;Vicky Colbert, founder of Escuela Nueva; Dolores Huerta, activist and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation; Cecilia Lopez Montano, former Senator in Colombia; Erika Guevara Rosas, program director for Latin America and the Caribbean Global Fund for Women; Nathalie Cely Suares, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States; and Pamela Yates, documentary film director and co-founder and president of Skylight Pictures.
The Institute also marks the first time that the WPSP has included students as conference participants, with a special track focusing on politics and women’s issues in Latin America. Five students each from Mount St. Mary’s, Scripps and Mills — the three colleges that makes up the West Coast contingent of the WPSP — will join in with the 30 delegates from Latin America.
Two of Mount St. Mary’s own leaders crafted the academic curriculum for the Institute: Lia Roberts, professor and director of the Mount’s International Relations program, assisted by Rosalyn Kempf, director of the Women’s Leadership Program at Mount St. Mary’s.
'Next generation of women leaders'
The Institute is a component of the larger WPSP, which was launched in March 2011 by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. State Department and five women’s colleges on the East Coast: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley. Mount St. Mary’s, Scripps and Mills soon joined to expand the WPSP’s reach to the West Coast. The WPSP is now housed within the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“Together we 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,” Clinton said when the WPSP was first announced in December 2011.
Participating in the WPSP — and co-hosting the Institute on for Women’s Leadership in Latin America — is a natural fit for the Mount’s ongoing mission to build leadership skills and foster a spirit of service in the College’s students, alums and among women in its communities.
In February, Mount St. Mary’s debuted Ready to Run™, a nonpartisan, campaign-training program designed to train and encourage women to run for public office. On March 21, the day Institute concludes, Mount St. Mary’s will release its second Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. The Report is a compilation of the most up-to-date, existing research that explores key areas crucial to the advancement of women.
For more details on the Women in Public Service Project, visit http://