Being a diplomat’s wife isn’t easy, especially when one has to push aside personal goals and needs. But for the six panelists of the International Women’s Symposium, that difficulty was a learning experience, one whose lessons they would like to share.
On Sept. 2, the university will be hosting to be hosting six wives of current and former consul generals for a conference. The invitees will give presentations on the challenges, choices and opportunities that are faced in living a balanced diplomatic life. The guest presentations will transition into an interactive panel discussion.
Associate Vice President for International Affairs Dr. Rusty Butler became interested in the lifestyle changes women face as their husbands accept important diplomatic roles while meeting with a group of consul generals in Southern California.
“Accomplished women in their own right put aside their own careers so their husbands can take on a senior diplomatic role,” Butler said. “I have not heard of another event like this in the western United States.”
Dr. Susan Madsen, a professor of Leadership and Ethics, will be moderating a panel discussion along with Tcholpon Akmatalieva, wife of a former Kyrgyz ambassador. Madsen stresses that living in a global economy requires broadening understanding, values and opinions.
“We can’t just be comfortable with our perspectives within our own community and state,” Madsen said. “We need to be thinking globally in order to understand the struggles in all communities and be able to contribute.”
The guest speakers have chosen their own speaking topics and have served in countries such as Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Isreal, Kyrgyztan, Liberia and Malaysia.
The symposium will be held in the Library Auditorium (LI 120) on Thursday, Sept. 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. It is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the general public.