Barnard’s Global Symposia series was launched in 2009 with four main goals in mind:
- to provide a dynamic forum for discussion of women's issues in regions where such opportunities do not readily exist;
- to create a network of women leaders from around the world;
- to inspire young women about their own leadership potential;
- and to provide an opportunity for Barnard, as an American college, to learn from women in other parts of the world and bring their stirring stories back to our students.
The first Symposium was held in Beijing in 2009 and since that time Symposia have been held across the globe, in Dubai, Johannesburg, Mumbai, and most recently in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The Athena Center for Leadership Studies has played an active role since the 2010 Dubai Symposium. Athena Center Director, Kathryn Kolbert has attended and moderated panels of women leaders at each Symposia. Beginning in 2011, she has helped to train Barnard students, including many Athena scholars, to provide leadership development programs at local high schools. These programs inspire the young women we meet in each locale and create an extraordinary learning opportunity for the Barrnard students who attend.
2013: WOMEN CHANGING BRAZIL
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Approximately 400 people attended Women Changing Brazil, in São Paulo which brought together exceptional leaders from all over the country as well as Barnard students, alumnae and faculty for wide-ranging discussions addressing education, activism, leadership, science, the arts, and more. Read more and view photos and video highlights.
Following the symposium, Barnard's Global Symposium Student Fellows led the third annual Young Women's Leadership Workshop for high-school students from around São Paulo on Wednesday, March 20. Read more and view photos.
2012: WOMEN CHANGING INDIA
The fourth annual Barnard College Global Symposium in Mumbai, to showcased the incredible work being done by some of the most prominent women throughout India and featured a dialogue on women's leadership, women's agency, and women's voices.
2011: WOMEN CHANGING AFRICA
Women Changing Africa brought together leaders—in government, commerce, academia, media, and the arts—for a day of collaboration, networking and discussion, including two panels entitled, Conversations on Leadership and Voices of the Next Generation. Featured panelists included Governor Gill Marcus of the South African Reserve Bank; Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, a South African academic, activist, and former senior director of the World Bank; Ferial Haffajee, editor-in-chief of City Press; Senator Aloisea Inyumba from Rwanda; Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission; Ndidi Nwuneli, founder of LEAP Africa; Susan Mboya, founder and president of the Zawadi Africa Education Fund and general manager for Coca Cola; Fiona Budd, managing director of the South African Ballet Theatre; and Nomfanelo Magwentshu, formerly chief operations officer of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Watch a video of Athena Scholar, Reni Callister '11 discussing the Young Women's Leadership Workshop held at the African Leadership Academy.
2010: WOMEN IN THE ARAB WORLD
Dubai, United Arab Emerites
Women in the Arab World showcased the work and careers of preeminent women throughout the Middle East. The event began with a luncheon where Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates' Minister of Foreign Trade and the first woman in her country to hold a cabinet post, delivered the keynote address. The keynote was followed by two panels. Moderated by President Spar, Voices of the Region focused on women in literature and film. Conversations on Leadership examined the changing face of women's leadership across the Arab world; its moderator was Kathryn Kolbert, director of the Athena Center. A reception concluded the day's events.
Click here to read an article in Barnard Magazine written by Kathryn Kolbert entitled, "Barnard Global Symposium II: Dubai; A Revealing Exchange of Personal History and Ideas About the Future"
2009: WOMEN CHANGING CHINABeijing, China
The inaugural Barnard College Global Symposium was held in Beijing, China on March 19, 2009, bringing together prominent women leaders in government, commerce, academia and the arts. The event honored the legacy of one of China’s first feminists Kang Tongbi, daughter of political reformer Mr. Kang Youwei. Ms. Kang was b and, along with her father, advocated successfully to eliminate the traditional practice of footbinding in China. Panelists included Yang Lan, a leading television anchor, media entrepreneur, and philanthropist; Wu Qing, an esteemed advocate for women’s rights in China; Yan Geling, one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters; and Ruby Yang, an Academy Award-winning Chinese-American filmmaker.