In November 2017, 30 emerging leaders from 27 countries, students and faculty from the University of Virginia, and other scholars and experts gathered on grounds to participate in The Presidential Precinct’s Global Leadership Forum: Promoting Gender Equality in Education. Events included round-table and panel discussions, breakout workshops, small group conversations, and site visits to Charlottesville community organizations, with project-based learning components. The Jefferson Trust was very pleased to support this initiative!
The week began with the University of Virginia’s Women’s Global Leadership Forum, a part of the Bicentennial celebration. Spearheaded by the UVA Morven Programs, the forum brought together women of all backgrounds to address the “Role of Women in the 21st Century Democracy.” Participants explored the challenges and contributions women have made in today’s complex society through conversations on 21st century democracy: race, religion, and gender, leadership and gender equality, political power, mobilizing millennials, and health and education challenges for women and girls. The culmination of the event was the closing address by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, where she discussed the path forward for women in 21st century democracy.
The forum continued with the Presidential Precinct’s Global Leadership Forum, which focused on developing innovative ideas and effective solutions being implemented to ensure that women and girls around the world have equal access to quality educational opportunities setting them up for lifelong success. Highlights included small group site visits to Charlottesville’s most progressive and concentrated programs focused on education, and Design-Thinking sessions where participants learned practical solutions to complex problems, based on an understanding of target group needs. Lastly, a key application involved a full-day design challenge – in small groups participants used design-thinking methodology to tackle real-world problems in one of the participant’s home countries, which resulted in six new approaches to various challenges in gender equality in education.
Organizers of the week consider their weeklong symposium a successful event. Attendees were able to strengthen individual skills and perspectives to address gender equality in education, create professional ties among participants, and UVA students who worked on the program gained a valuable professional development opportunity. From one global emerging leader, “In addition to the various interactive and informational sessions delivered during GLF, I appreciated connecting with many leaders from all around the globe acting as agents of change with regard to women and gender issues in their respective communities. What’s more striking was for me to see to what extent projects other peers have been able to successfully implement which I long have thought impossible at home. Now more than any time before, I am armed with the confidence and inspiration it takes in order to drive the same initiatives in my own country as well. I feel so empowered to be part of this large network of young leaders.” Funding from the Jefferson Trust supported partial program costs, helping in the symposium’s success.