Secretary of State Hilary Clinton returned to her alma mater yesterday, encouraging the 50 women sitting before her at Wellesley College to “keep pushing at that glass ceiling.” It was at Wellesley where Clinton admits “she first felt the call to public service — the imperative to get off the sidelines and try to make a difference.”
Wellesley College kicked off the inaugural Women in Public Service Project Institute, a first-of-its-kind, two-week program designed to train the next generation of female leaders. The program is being held in partnership with the U.S. State Department, along with the country’s leading women’s colleges, from now until June 22nd.
The goal is to boost world leadership from 17.5 percent female to “50 percent by 2050.” Fifty women from 21 countries were selected for the program, although Rangita de Silva-de Alwis told CBS Boston over 500 applied to participate. She said “delegates were chosen from countries undergoing transition and revolution, with over 40 coming from Northern Africa and the Middle East, so they could share their stories and learn from each other.”
Clinton reminisced on her days at Wellesley, speaking of her graduation in 1969. It was then the class decided they needed a student speaker, and they asked Clinton to lead the charge. She remembers saying, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible,” telling the women before her, “that is what I hope you learn to do here, at the Women in Public Service Institute — to make what seems to be impossible, possible.”
Fellow Wellesley alumna and previous U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be participating in the Women in Public Service Project, as well as Jane Harman, former congresswoman and president of the Woodrow Wilson Center; Mu Sochua, minister for women’s affairs and leader of the opposition in Cambodia; Honorable Judge Nancy Gertner and many more, according to Wellesley College.
When suggested yesterday if she could be the next president, Clinton shrugged, all while the audience erupted with applause. According to WBUR, Clinton steered clear of saying whether or not she would run again. She didn’t say no, however. All she did says was that she hopes to live long enough to see a woman in the Oval Office.
To hear Clinton’s full address at Wellesley, you can watch the video below.