The Stennis Center and Mississippi University for Women (MUW) held the fourth annual Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership on May 23-27, 2016 on the MUW campus in Columbus, Miss. Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership is a national bi-partisan program from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University designed to educate college women about the political process and teach them to become effective leaders. The program brought together 24 women from universities and colleges across Mississippi to encourage them to pursue leadership in public service. The next NEW Leadership Mississippi program will be May 22-26, 2017.
Lindy Boggs’ life of public service leadership is proof that power and grace are not always mutually exclusive in American politics. Instead of demonizing her opponents, Lindy treated political opponents with respect and kindness. She won many important battles without resorting to angry confrontation, and often made friends of her enemies in the process. Lindy made politics look good.
To replace the Southern Women in Public Service conference, the Stennis Center organized the Summit of Southern Women Leaders on May 4-6, 2008 at St. Simons Island, Georgia. Approximately 150 women leaders from 14 states attended, including state legislators, statewide elected officials, mayors, judges, commissioners, cabinet officers, academic professors and business leaders who are interested in exploring ways that women can strengthen the quality and character of public service.
Since the first Southern Women in Public Service conference in 1991, the Stennis Center has developed a reputation for supporting the advancement of women in public service leadership. This annual conference has become the most significant bipartisan gathering of women political leaders from across the South.
The Stennis Center in 2010 created Lifting Leaders, a pilot mentoring program for college women interested in becoming leaders in public service. The first program is being conducted in Arkansas, matching exceptional women political leaders with young women who are emerging as leaders on college campuses in the state. The concept of this program came through the Stennis Center’s work with women political leaders in 14 Southern states over the past two decades. We hope that the Lifting Leaders program in Arkansas will be a model for similar programs in other states.