Institute at the Asian University for Women

Time and Place

Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Event Details


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The first AUW Women in Public Service Summer Institute was held at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, running from August 1 – August 15, 2012. The Summer Institute constituted a 3-week public service and leadership training program dedicated to strategy and solutions for the most pressing societal concerns and the public sector roles the women of Asia will take on in tackling them. The Women in Public Service Project is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the Seven Sisters women’s colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley – to advance women to positions of influence in governments and civic organizations worldwide.

The workshops enabled the participants to focus not only on Big Ideas, but also on the most effective ways to implement them through governmental institutions. Ten Afghan student participants join 30 exceptional AUW students, representing 12 countries across Asia. These students will then return to AUW in the fall of 2013 to present their projects to the greater AUW student body.

In the fall of 2012, following completion of the AUW Women in Public Service Summer Institute, the 13 Afghan participants will enroll in AUW’s Access Academy — a yearlong program that helps develop their communication and critical thinking skills to prepare them for matriculation into the undergraduate program.


AUW Summer Institute Goals:

• Develop young women leaders geared towards careers in the public sector

• Build tangible policy-making and public service skills

• Create a peer-to-peer mentoring program for an emerging generation of young women leaders in public service

• Build role models for women in public service

• Develop strong and sustainable networks

Key Workshops and Areas of Focus:

• Women and Transformative Politics and Policies

• Mentors, Role Models, and Pipeline

• Entry Points for Change: Women’s Activism

• Identifying and Transcending Challenges to Women’s Leadership in Public Service

• The Powerful Role of Transnational Networks

• Women Negotiating Peace and Conflict Resolution

• Women’s Rights as Human Rights

• Economic Agency and Women’s Leadership

• Civic Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship

• Combating Gender Stereotypes in Work/ Family Reconciliation Policy

• Role of the Media in Advancing Gender Equality, Accountability, and Good Governance

• Ethics in Public Service

• Political, Social, Economic and Cultural Empowerment

• Legislative Action

• Listening to Women’s Voices and Narratives

• The Status of Women in Politics in the World and in the Region

The Summer Institute was led by Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis (S.J.D.), Director of the WPSP’s inaugural institute at Wellesley College. She will be heading the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars where she will direct the WPSP and the Council of Women World Leaders – a network of current and former women heads of state.

Access Academy

After attending the Summer Institute program, the student participants will enroll in AUW’s Access Academy. The Access Academy is a one-year preparatory course that identifies and recruits girls who demonstrate exceptional potential, talent and intellect but are particularly disadvantaged because of a lack of an adequate bridge between their primary or secondary schooling and a university education. Successful completion of the Access Academy coursework leads to admission to the Asian University for Women undergraduate program. The Academy addresses the various needs of students in terms of academic preparation, social and cultural adjustment, youth mentorship, technological skills, and recreation. Through these comprehensive efforts, the Access Academy encourages young women to be assertive, confident, and culturally sensitive.