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The Hillary Effect

December 21, 2011

In the span of a week, I witnessed what The Washington Post has labeled the “Hillary effect,” i.e., the ability of the Secretary of State to bring together women of power to influence both policies and people. Although the Post was referencing the fact that Hillary Clinton’s presence as Secretary of State has led to a dramatic rise in the number of female foreign ambassadors in Washington, I am referring to two events at which the co-sponsorship of the State Department has led to a closer connection between American women’s colleges and women across the globe.

The first event was co-sponsored by the New York Academy of Science to celebrate Nobel Day and women in science. Secretary Clinton, via video, introduced a program (NEXXT Scholars) to encourage more young women to study science and, simultaneously, to encourage women’s colleges to recruit women students from Middle Eastern countries. The second event, Women in Public Service, was hosted by the Secretary herself at the State Department in Washington and brought together a dizzying show of woman-power. Attendees included former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, activist Gloria Steinem, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga, President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla, female admirals from the US Navy, and ambassadors from around the world. The theme was to inspire and plan for the development of women leaders with the assistance of women’s colleges.

Saint Joseph College is eager to engage in these endeavors. Both efforts, to develop women in science and as leaders, mesh beautifully our mission and our strategic plan. We are ready to reach out to women throughout the world with our programs and our community spirit.

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