SMU faculty members mentor first Women’s Initiative Fellows

Eighteen SMU faculty members taught or mentored in the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program of the George W. Bush Institute in 2012.

Under the program, 14 Egyptian women received leadership training “designed to empower women to transform their countries,” says Charity Wallace, director of the GWBI Women’s Initiative.

At SMU February 13-19, the fellows began their experience with leadership courses on topics such as influence without authority, negotiation, advocacy, and building teams and networks. SMU faculty in business, anthropology, communications, political science, law and education taught the courses. Several members of SMU faculty and staff also provided consultation in the development of the program and its curriculum.

The inaugural class of Egyptian women ranged in age from 23 to 52 and represented professions such as education, health, business, politics, law and media. They included both Muslims and Christians.

In addition to their SMU courses, the fellows visited local organizations such as Genesis Women’s Shelter and the Dallas Women’s Foundation to learn practical applications of their classroom work. The fellows also traveled to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., for additional training and mentoring.

“Working with the Egyptian women’s fellowship program was one of the best experiences I have had as a member of the SMU faculty,” says Linda Eads, law professor and associate provost, a mentor through the program. “The leadership training provided by the Cox Executive Education faculty was outstanding, and the substantive seminars provided by many faculty in other SMU schools were superb.

“The best part was meeting and interacting with the Egyptian women who were selected to participate,” Eads adds. “Each one has already accomplished so much in Egypt. Some are active in journalism, some in providing help for Egyptian women suffering domestic abuse, some in improving the Egyptian legal system. These women are inspiring.”

Eads began mentoring a young lawyer from Alexandria during her visit and communicates regularly with her since her return to Egypt, she says. “She and I are working together to expand her network and her knowledge.”

Other SMU faculty involved in the program include:

  • Patty Alvey, Temerlin Advertising Institute, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Cheryl Butler, Dedman School of Law
  • Jay Carson, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business
  • Kimberly Davis, Executive Education, Cox School of Business
  • Ernest Jouriles, Psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Sheri Locklear Kunovich, Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • LaiYee Leong, John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Renee McDonald, Psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Maria Minniti, Entrepreneurship, Cox School of Business
  • Neena Newberry, Executive Education, Cox School of Business
  • Tony Pederson, Journalism, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Robin Pinkley, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business
  • Mickey Quiñones, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business
  • Dan Schill, Communication Studies, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Francesca Spinelli, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business
  • Carolyn Smith-Morris, Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Paige Ware, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The Women’s Initiative is a major project of the George W. Bush Institute, which since 2010 has conducted several symposia on campus focusing on economic growth, global health, human freedom, and education, including literacy and economic opportunity for the women of Afghanistan. Future Women’s Initiative fellows programs will include women from various areas of the world, with a current concentration on the Middle East.

Above, the George W. Bush Institute has posted a highlight video from the 2012 Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program featuring former First Lady Laura Bush ’68. Click the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to see the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program video in a new windowvideo

> Visit the George W. Bush Presidential Center online

SMU Libraries honor Laura Bush for contributions to literacy

Laura W. BushFormer First Lady Laura W. Bush will receive SMU’s Literati Award for her contributions to the advancement of literacy. The award will be presented April 2, 2011, at SMU’s Collins Executive Education Center by the Friends of the SMU Libraries.

Mrs. Bush will receive the award at the Friends of the SMU Libraries annual fundraising dinner, Tables of Content. Award-winning journalist Rena Pederson will lead a conversation with Mrs. Bush at the event, which also will feature book signings with ten promising young authors. Kathleen Kent, author of The Hereti’s Daughter and The Wolves of Andover; Jennifer Pickens, author of Christmas at the White House, and 10-year-old Alec Greven, author of How to Talk to Girls and School Rules are among the featured authors.

Mrs. Bush, a 1968 SMU graduate and current member of the University’s Board of Trustees, has championed the importance of literacy and education throughout her life, particularly during her years as a teacher, librarian and as first lady of Texas and of the United States. From advocating for the rights of Afghan women to creating the National Book Festival, she presents a consistent message – the ability to read is life-changing.

Soon after arriving in Washington, D.C., as First Lady, Mrs. Bush launched an early childhood development initiative – Ready to Read, Ready to Learn – which helps parents and caregivers prepare infants and young children for success in reading and school. In 2002 she created the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, which has provided more than $7.3 million to school libraries in all 50 states.

Mrs. Bush has served as Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade since 2003. In 2006 Mrs. Bush hosted the first White House Conference on Global Literacy. Last September she addressed the International Literacy Day Symposium at the United Nations in New York. “Education is our most urgent priority. And it should have the highest call on our time and our priorities,” she said.

Expanding access to education and literacy is a central component of Mrs. Bush’s work as chair of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. The initiative is designed to enhance women’s access to education, literacy, health and economic opportunities.

Mrs. Bush also has supported writers and readers through the 1995 creation of the Texas Book Festival. She joined with the Library of Congress in 2001 to create the National Book Festival. She also is co-author with her daughter Jenna of a children’s book, Read All About It!

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