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Isom Center Celebrates Women in Civic Engagement Roles with Day of Empowerment

By Caroline Gleason
Hottytoddy.com intern

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at The University of Mississippi is planning a half-day summit Feb. 19 entitled “Women and Civic Engagement” to celebrate, uplift and support women.

The event will be held in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom located in The Inn at Ole Miss. It will feature a wide range of conversations about the many ways that women are engaged in our larger communities: running for office, organizing nonprofits, building community, starting businesses, advocating for change, and transforming institutions, according to the event’s flyer.

“There are some times when we unconsciously think that women don’t belong in certain spaces because we haven’t seen them there. Now, women do so many amazing things in our community and in our state. The Summit is a chance to showcase the unlimited possibilities and how we can be inspired by those possibilities,” Sarah Isom Center Director and Professor of English Jaime Harker said.

Harker said the goal of the event is to showcase the many ways that women in the community and around the world are making a difference. She hopes everyone who attends the event will walk away feeling inspired for change and inspired to lead.

“It’s easy to feel powerless and we want to give everyone a sense of possibility. The things you think can’t happen are possible and that is what we want to showcase at this event,” Harker said.

The day will begin with the inaugural Carolyn Ellis Staton Women in Government Luncheon. Dr. Staton was the university’s first female provost and she joined the University of Mississippi’s faculty in August 1977. She served as a professor and interim dean in the School of Law, associate provost and provost before her retirement in 2009.

“What I hope people will remember and honor in Dr. Staton is the passion she brought and the way that she rolled up her sleeves and got involved. Dr. Staton worked to create multiple pathways and multiple communities on the Ole Miss campus so that everyone could find a way to be involved and make a difference. She never thought in terms of limitations. She always thought in the boldest terms and no one doubted her,” Harker said.

Following the luncheon, the Honorable Nadia Theodore—Consul General of Canada in Atlanta—will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon. Theodore joined the Canadian civil service in 2000. She has made her career in the Trade Agreement and Negotiations Branch of Global Affairs, holding leadership positions on several recent and major trade initiatives of Global Affairs Canada, including serving as one of the two deputy chief negotiators for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and as the Executive Director of Canada’s Secretariat for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Nadia Theodore, Consul General of Canada in Atlanta, addresses a crowd on Canada Day. Photo courtesy of Consulate of Canada in Atlanta.

“Part of our theme this year is crossing borders and thinking about not just women’s roles in our community and state, but internationally. Nadia and her mother both work in civil service with an interesting life history and getting to hear her speak at the event is a really cool opportunity for our community,” Harker said.

Roundtable conversations will be held on the following themes: historical movements, political leadership, entrepreneurship, and community activism. This event will be free and open to the public. To learn more about the event or to register, visit this website.


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