Fulbright Belgium at the Women Leaders in International Relations: Comparing EU and U.S. Experiences conference


Photo of Executive Director, Erica Lutes, and former Congresswoman and President of Women’s Campaign International, Marjorie Margolies at the ‘Women Leaders in International Relations: Comparing EU and U.S. Experiences’ that took place in Brussels 8-11 July at the Italian Cultural Institute. Ms. Lutes was the U.S. embassy contact for Ms. Margolies during her visit with 10 women from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to provide a training course for women in media where Ms. Lutes was interning.

Different themes were highlighted throughout the week like on Monday. Ali Edelstein, Fulbright Program Manager, attended the session on ‘Promoting Women in Diplomacy’ with Marta Dassù, Italian Foreign Deputy Minister; Céline Fremault, Minister of Economy, Employment and Research of the Brussels-Capital Region; Mara Marinaki, Managing Director for Global & Multilateral Issues at the European External Action Service; Mari Skåre, NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security; Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State and Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University and Federiga Bindi, Director Italian Cultural Institute who moderated the session. The conversation focused on how to institutionalize the issue of promoting women within major international institutions. Within this conversation, the panellists discussed the recent accomplishments of leaders like Hillary Clinton and Lady Catherine Ashton and the need to move from a focus on policies surrounding women to policies surrounding flexibility and family for the workplace. Examples included discussion of telecommuting and paternal leave policies already in place in certain countries. The evening ended with panellists answering questions from young women in the audience about how they personally deal with the stress of serving as a female leader in foreign policy and managing a personal life, too.

Ms. Lutes attended the session ‘Promoting Women Leaders in Institutions’ with  Monica Frassoni, President of the European Greens; Marjorie Margolies, former Congresswoman, founder and President of Women’s Campaign International; Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth and moderated by Dr. Federiga Bindi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels.

Ms. Marglolies spoke about how she loved the Fulbright program and spoke to 100 Fulbright women at Simmons College in April before they headed back to
their home countries after a year in the US.