Women Changing Africa

By Samantha Plotner and Lindsay Garten
This spring break as most of us head home or go on vacation a delegation from Barnard College will be in Johannesburg, South Africa for Barnard’s third annual global symposium, Women Changing Africa. President Debora L. Spar, Athena Center for Leadership Studies Director Professor Kathryn Kolbert, representatives from Admissions, Lucyle Hook Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies Kim Hall and Visiting Professor of English and Africana Studies Yvette Christianse will accompany six Barnard students to Johannesburg. This is the third year of the global symposium; it was in Dubai in 2010 and Beijing in 2009. In a released statement, President Spar explained why Johannesburg was chosen.  
It’s becoming abundantly clear that women are playing critical roles in steering African nations through rapidly evolving political, economic and cultural times.  Their willingness to challenge institutional and social norms, and their commitment to generating and sustaining progress, are reinventing the world’s perceptions of women, leadership and Africa…Each year, Barnard focuses on a region of the world where women are paving new roads for their daughters, their communities and their countries.  South Africa, still shining in the spotlight of last year’s World Cup, is a perfect place to gather and discuss how women are truly changing a continent.
The half-day symposium will consist of two panel discussions “Conversations on Leadership” which features established female leaders in Africa and “Voices of the Next Generation” which highlights the work of those inspiring young African women to continue the pursuit of positive change on the continent. “Conversations on Leadership” will include 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; and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission. “Voices of the Next Generation” will include 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 Organising Committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Before the panels there will be a luncheon with introductory remarks from Maria Ramos, the group chief executive of Abasa Group, Ltd. Barclays Capital, Barclays Wealth, Abasa Capital and Abasa Wealth are sponsoring the symposium along with patron sponsor Jennifer Oppenheimer.
Samantha and Lindsay are sophomores at Barnard and Co-Editors-in-Chief of The Nine Ways of Knowing
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