RAND Launches Effort to Support First Ladies in Africa

For Release

September 24, 2010

Partnership with Women's Campaign International to bolster first ladies' effectiveness

The Pardee RAND Graduate School has created an African first ladies fellowship program and will work together with Women's Campaign International to strengthen the capacity of Africa's first ladies and their offices to address health and social problems across Africa.

The RAND African First Ladies Fellowship aims to help first ladies and their staffs develop skills for managing an effective first lady's office and learn practical policy-analysis techniques. Over a two-year period, first ladies and fellows will develop and implement a plan to address one of their nation's top challenges, such as maternal and child health, women's issues or education.

A week-long fellowship program will be held Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 at the RAND Corporation office in Arlington, Virginia, and will include chiefs of staff and other advisers to first ladies from Angola, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia. RAND is a nonprofit research organization.

Faculty from the Pardee RAND Graduate School, as well as select faculty from American University, will be responsible for much of the instruction and follow-on mentoring. Other presenters include Anita McBride, chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009 and currently executive in residence at American University's School of Public Affairs; Marjorie Margolies, president and founder of Women's Campaign International; Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues; and Jocelyn Frye, deputy assistant to President Obama for domestic policy and director of policy and projects for First Lady Michelle Obama.

The course is one of a number of efforts RAND will undertake alongside Women's Campaign International, which recently partnered with Malawi's first lady Callista Mutharika to launch the First Ladies Legacy Initiative. Women's Campaign International will conduct a series of trainings that allow each first lady to create a sustainable "legacy campaign."

Participants in the week-long RAND fellowship will be awarded a certificate of completion from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. RAND hopes to offer follow up courses in Africa, and engage subject-matter experts from local institutions, ministries and civil society institutions.

Gery Ryan, a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty and RAND senior social scientist, and Cora Neumann are leading the RAND African First Ladies Fellowship. More information is available on the Pardee RAND Graduate School website at http://www.prgs.edu/events/2010/09/27/.

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