Last week, Barnard hosted the inaugural Baraza: Young African Women’s Leadership Initiative, a two-day conference that brought together African college students from New York, and as far away as North Carolina and Georgia. Organized by Barnard students, the event aimed to connect these students with exceptional women leaders from around Africa. The event provided a forum for brainstorming ideas for entrepreneurial projects aimed at improving education, the environment, and women’s health, as well as increasing the participation of young women in business and politics throughout Africa.
Prior to the event, student organizers Clare Korir ’12 and Shilpa Guha ’12 answered a few questions about the Baraza, which is Swahili for “meeting.” An economics and history major, Clare is from Kenya. Last spring, she served as a student fellow at Barnard’s third annual global symposium, “Women Changing Africa.” Shilpa is a political science and human rights major, and in March she will attend this year’s global symposium, “Women Changing India,” as a student fellow.
Shilpa, how did your involvement with planning this conference inspire you to apply to be a global symposium fellow at this year's program in Mumbai?
In what ways will this event continue/expand upon the conversations and connections that started at the Global Symposium last spring?
Who will be speaking at the Baraza and why do you think their experiences will interest Barnard students?
SHILPA: There will also be a panel discussion among three leaders from organizations that serve African women. One is Susan Mboya, who was a panelist at last year’s global symposium--her appearance will be an exciting continuation of last year’s conversation. Mboya is an executive at Coca Cola, and the founder of Zawadi Africa International Fund, an organization that provides scholarships to African girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them attend U.S. colleges. Another panelist is Peg Snyder, a vice president on the board of the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, an organization that supports market women’s efforts to rebuild their communities in post-war Liberia. With the recently awarded Nobel Peace Prizes that have highlighted the women’s movement in Liberia, hearing from Snyder will be timely and very inspiring. Kim Feinberg, another panelist, has developed a number of educational initiatives to promote tolerance and cultural sensitivity in post-apartheid South Africa. Her current initiative, The Tomorrow Trust, focuses on educating and supporting children affected by AIDS.