A diverse group of 77 students from 26 colleges and universities joined PLEN’s first virtual seminar on Women in Global Policy in May, the largest group of participants in PLEN seminar history. The students hailed from 22 states and four countries, including Ghana and Pakistan. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the change to an online format, it allowed a much larger cohort to gain the skills, knowledge, and networks that will help prepare them for careers in global public policy.

The RFG-supported program offered training on how public leadership and global policy intersect through a series of workshops, panel discussions, and virtual site visits to 10 organizations and companies, including the German Embassy, Foreign Policy 4 America, and the Brookings Institution. By the end of the five-day seminar, students had benefited from eight skill-based workshops and events, covering topics including salary negotiation, resume review, and networking. And they engaged in nine panel discussions, connecting virtually with more than 50 women leaders who shared information on career opportunities at the intersection of public policy and global issues.

A new feature of the seminar was the first-ever virtual simulation of international negotiation, guided by Lauren Fischer, education program specialist in the State Department’s National Museum of American Democracy. Other highlights included a keynote address by Heather Higginbottom, executive director of JPMorgan Chase’s Policy Center; remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes; and a storytelling workshop.

Three members of congress also joined the online program to share experience and encourage women to pursue careers in policy, including Sharice Davids (KS-3), Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21).

One student stated, “I was nervous about having an online seminar for five days. However, PLEN has exceeded all of my expectations. It is one of the most organized programs I have ever attended, let alone online. I cannot stress enough how helpful and enlightening the programs, breakout sessions, workshops, and guest speakers have been to my future career and interests.

Check out the PLEN website for more information on the Women in Global Policy seminar and other training programs.