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Dr. Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi and a Women in Public Service Project Distinguished Fellow, at Mount Saint Mary's.

Former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda visits MSMU

On Oct. 24, Mount Saint Mary’s hosted a very special conversation about advancing women’s leadership with Dr. Joyce Banda, the former president of Malawi and a Women in Public Service Project Distinguished Fellow.

The event, moderated by the Mount’s Professor Lia Roberts, Department Chair in Global Politics, presented a unique opportunity to not only promote women’s leadership in Africa and globally, but also to focus on the influence leadership has on governance, economic growth, and gender equality.

“I learned that leadership is about falling in love with the people you serve and the people falling in love with you,” says Banda. “It is about serving the people with selflessness, with sacrifice, and with the need to put the common good ahead of personal interests.”

Banda shared her challenges as the first female president of Malawi, then students asked her about gender equality, political leadership, and where to ignite change as emerging leaders.

Her response: “For those of you studying and practicing leadership, you don’t need to be in office to make a change.”

The occasion was presented by the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP), an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the Seven Sisters women’s colleges to accelerate global progress toward women’s equal participation in governments and civic organizations. WPSP is aiming for “50% representation of women in all elected and appointed policy and political leadership positions by 2050,” or “50X50.” 

To see a collection of photos from the event, visit our Facebook album.

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