Women as Global Leaders Conference in Zayed University
Women as Global Leaders Conference in Zayed University
The Woman as Global Leaders Conference has been running for the last four years since 2008. This year, the Zayed University Student Council, organized and hosted the fourth conference that attracted more than 1800 students from all over the world. It was held from the 13th to 15th march 2012 in their new campus in Abu Dhabi. This year’s theme was ‘Creating a Sustainable Future for the World’. The conference saw scores of established leaders and businesspersons coming together to share their knowledge and experiences with the students.
Students were especially encouraged to register and participate in the conference, to learn leadership skills, share leadership experiences and research, take part in intercultural experiences, establish global networks with fellow students and the speakers, grow in terms of leadership education and enjoy first hand experiences of the United Arab Emirates diverse cultures. This was also a good platform for the women leaders to give back to society through inspiration and motivation.
The conference was aimed at motivating the new generation of female students to become women leaders in their communities. There were workshops that were meant to instill leadership skills in students and empower them to become dependable role model for the future generations. Students, both male and female, were also given opportunities to present and air their views and ideas on empowering women. This provided for equity and fairness during the conference, which was held in English.
The conference was sponsored by the big names in the business world. These included the ‘Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)’, ‘ADIB’, ‘ADNOC’, ‘CNN’, ‘ETIHAD AIRWAYS’, ‘Patchi’, ‘Advanced Technology Investment Company’, ‘Lund University’, ‘Yale University’ and the ‘Masdar Institute’. Thanks to these sponsors, the conference was a success.
The conference saw more than 170 speakers from undergraduate students, professionals, and academic leaders from more than 90 countries invited to address the students in an effort to empower them and give them a chance to work together and exchange ideas with women who have proved themselves as leaders and businesspersons. There were economic, social, environmental and cultural presentations throughout the conference made by students and guests at large.
Some of the eminent visitors and speakers included the United Arabs Emirates Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan. He is also the President of Zayed University. Others were H.R.H. Princess Lolowah al-Faisal Saud, a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family, H.E Baroness Helena Ann Kennedy, Sigourney Weaver, Dr. Isobel Coleman, Hala Gorani, Badria Ahmed Khalfan, Mrs. Raja Al Gurg, among others.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan flagged off the convention on the first day and met with the speakers. According to the program, there were open day exhibitions and networking breakfasts on all days. The second day saw the launch of the poster opening sessions and a panel discussion titled ‘Leadership Lessons form Emirates Women Business Leaders’ where panelist talked about their journeys to leadership and strategies to development and success. On the third and final day, there were round table and Emerging Leaders Panel discussions that gave the students chances to ask the speakers questions. Students were also given a chance to forward their presentations later in the afternoon. There were concurrent academic sessions every day.
Some of the women leaders at the conference tried to encourage students to take charge and improve their lives and the lives of those around them in their communities. Award winning female actor and devoted environmental activist, Sigourney Weaver, emphasized that change for a better future depends on women. In her speech, she added, “we will only succeed if women can take active roles in preserving our environmental resources” (WAGL 2012 videos).
Hala Gorani, CNN Anchor and Correspondent, was disappointed at the rate at which women in business are dropping out of the game. She mentioned that the Arab world has no women leaders and yet women make up half the world’s population. It is time for women to wake up and play their parts in creating futures worth for the future generations. The media need to recognize that women have just as a great deal of talent and capabilities as men and, therefore more top positions should be offered to women. She said, “Within the fortune 500, only 12 women run big businesses” (WAGL 2012 videos).
The ‘Dubai Business Women Council’ also took part in the conference. Its president, Raja Al Gurg, was the keynote speaker on the opening day. In her speech, she motivated Arab women to be productive society members and be role models to other women in the region. She said that initiatives like the Woman as Global Conference “will inspire a great number of women to become actively involved in the socioeconomic growth of the nation and the greater Arab society” (uni magazine blog, 2012).
As the conference ended, the students representing their universities took with them enough useful information to share with their colleagues. The organizers were satisfied with the turn out of students and guests and vowed to make the next Woman as Global Leaders Conference better. Their goals and objectives, which included encouraging collaborations and partnerships between Zayed University and other universities around the world, were accomplished.
University magazine, (2012, March 19). Women as Global Leaders Conference. Retrieved from www.uni.ae/2012/03/19/women-as-global-leaders-conference-2/
Zayed University Abu Dhabi, (2012, March 13). Women as Global Leaders Conference 2012. Retrieved from www.abudhabievents.ae/pages/eventdetails.aspx
Zayed University, (2012, May 23). Women as Global Leaders Conference 2012. Retrieved from www.zu.ac.ae/main/en/wagl2012/conference.aspx