CLEMSON — Thirty-two international female scholars are meeting at Clemson University this week for the 2014 Fulbright Leadership and Re-entry Seminar for Women from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Organized by Clemson’s Women’s Leadership program and the Office of Global Engagement, the four-day experience brings together Fulbright scholars from the African continent for a conference that combines practical workshops, community-building exercises and networking opportunities with an academically rich understanding of the fundamentals of leadership for social and personal growth.

“We want for them to take back two things with them,” said Diane Perpich, acting associate dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and director of the Women’s Leadership Program. “First, we want them to understand that leadership isn’t just personal success, it’s making a difference in your community. Second, we want to help them create a network to help realize their goals. They’ll be getting to know each other, Clemson faculty members, local political leaders, other Fulbrighters and graduate students. They will be connected to all these people over these four days, and we hope they stay connected long after the conference.”

Fran Mainella, a visiting Clemson professor who the first female director of the National Park Service, delivered the keynote address at the welcome dinner. Perpich and Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. welcomed the attendees at that evening’s dinner.

The remainder of the week’s events focus on various themes.  Thursday’s theme is “Leadership for Community Change,” and includes an introduction to leadership as social and community transformation, a skill-building exercise in how to mobilize community resources for change, an opportunity to meet and learn from women in local politics, to hear about an effort in Greenville County to alleviate hunger and provide greater access to locally sourced foods, and to engage with a Kenyan woman who teaches in the United States and has helped found a school for girls in her home country.

Friday and Saturday’s focus moves from social transformation and community growth to personal growth and networking with a theme of “Tools for Personal and Professional Success” and “Looking to the Future.” Participants are learning about the lifetime network and resources available to them as Fulbright Scholars, reflect on the importance of health and wellbeing for themselves and the women in their communities, meet with campus Fulbright scholars at lunch, and have opportunities to connect with local business leaders and campus researchers in their fields of interest.

Attendees also will attend cultural events, including a performance of the Ten Tenors at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, and the Pendleton Spring Jubilee.

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