In August 2014, Harpswell partnered with the Women in Public Service Project of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and with Pannasastra University of Cambodia to host a two-week Institute for the period 17 August to 30 August 2014. The classes of the Institute involved lectures and workshops in critical thinking, leadership, and public service, taught in English by an international faculty. A number of distinguished international visitors attended the opening of the Institute, including the American Ambassador to Cambodia, William Todd, the Cambodian Minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, the director of the Women in Public Service Project (and Harpswell Trustee), Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow and Board member of the Global Fund for Women, Marissa Wesely, and the country director of UN Women, Wenny Kusuma. Over sixty students from a dozen universities in Cambodia attended the two-week Institute, about half from Harpswell.

The first week of the workshop was held at our Harpswell Foundation Dormitory and Leadership Center for Women in Teuk Thla. The second week was held at Pannasastra. Each working day of the Institute included 6 hours of lectures and workshops on a single module. The modules were: (1) Debate and critical thinking, (2) Business and communication, (3) Human rights, (4) Women in decision making, (5) Leadership skills and ethics, (6) International and family law, (7) Economics and women in development, (8) Southeast Asian geography and governments, (9) Women and education, (10) Good governance and management. Graduates of the two-week Institute received a certificate.

The Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) was launched by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December of 2011 in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the Seven Sisters women’s colleges of Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley. The mission of the WPSP is fifty percent of public service positions held by women by 2050.

To see comments about the Institute from William Todd, US Ambassador to Cambodia, click here.

To read essays about the Institute written by the student participants, click here.