Several United Nations representatives, former heads of state, and other global leaders joined 11 student delegates from across the country for a day-long discussion of how to grow the ranks of women in government leadership positions worldwide. The Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) conference, held on September 26 at Barnard, explored what it takes for women to achieve success on the political stage at all levels. The participating students, who were chosen by a competitive application process, came from Barnard, Bryn Mawr, City College of New York, Mills College, Mount Holyoke College, Mount St. Mary's, Scripps College, Smith College, Stephens College, University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth, and Wellesley College.

Early in the afternoon, the student delegates gathered for workshops led by Tomika Rodriguez of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies; Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the Women in Public Service Project and the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center; and Farah Pandith, the State Department's Special Representative to Muslim Communities. Below, students hear from Pandith about how student leadership can be good preparation for careers in public service.

Here is a collection of participants' photos, tweets, and other social media posts from throughout the day, plus a photo slideshow.

Later, the student delegates to the conference and public guests gathered to hear Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, who discussed social media and the new frontier of global leadership. 

Barnard student Emily Anne Rigal '16 introduced Newmark and moderated questions from the audience. 

In the evening, global leaders and UN representatives—many of whom were in town for the UN General Assembly—gathered to discuss topics of significance for women leaders around the world. Speakers included Daniela Bas, director, division for Social Policy and Development; Wafa Taher Bugaighis, deputy foreign minister of Libya; Helen Clark, administrator, UN Development Programme and former prime minister of New Zealand

; Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the Women in Public Service Project and the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center; Jane Harman, director, president, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Kimberly Marten, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, Barnard College;

 Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director, UN Women
; Debora Spar, president of Barnard College; and Melanne Verveer, executive director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; former ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, State Department, and the event moderator.


View more photos from the day's events below. 

About the Women In Public Service Project

Developed by a founding partnership of the U.S. Department of State and women’s colleges of the Seven Sisters – the Women in Public Service Project provides vital momentum to 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.