Fresh from attending a major conference, EUSA President Liz Rawlings gives her thoughts on how students can improve the world.
Earlier this year, Liz and PhD student Tania Porqueddu traveled to New York to attend the Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit.
The Conference brought together 50 successful women from different fields - including health, development, economics, business and politics - with over 300 'emerging leaders' specifically chosen by their universities.
Liz spoke to Edinburgh Global about the experience.
“The aim of the Summit was to provide a platform for future women leaders to come together to discuss the important issues that face our global society.
“A deliberate investment in the potential of young women who have shown leadership qualities at their universities, Womensphere should be congratulated on recognizing the value of new young voices.
“This is crucial, particularly in the midst of a global society, which commentators have viewed as both economically and morally in transition. If ever there has been a time for new direction and ideas, it is now.
“Purposefully held in the week before the World Economic Forum in Davos, our views and opinions on global issues were filmed and later shown to the leaders convening in Switzerland. As a result, global dialogue and policy-making was very much informed and enriched by the women at the Summit.”
“For us, Michele Wucker, President of the World Policy Institute was impressive with her knowledge of global politics and her innovative outlook.
”The World Policy Institute is one of the world's leading think tanks. It aims to identify critical emerging global issues in an interdependent world and vocalise new global perspectives and innovative policy solutions.
“Speaking about her work, Wucker urged the delegates to forge networks and work together as global citizens to achieve progress.
“‘Global problems require global solutions’, she said, maintaining that critical, shared issues such as migration, climate change, human rights and terrorism will never be solved by traditional ‘foreign versus domestic’ boxes.
“This is a refreshing outlook in a world climate that, at times, can seem obsessed with division and a narrow view of citizenship as being defined by national, rather than global boundaries.
Speaking on the need for women to aim for leadership positions in a global society, Wucker was very clear: ‘We can never have a just society, until we have an equal one.’”
“Throughout the day, certain recurring themes became apparent.
“All the speakers gave tips on how to be successful - with perseverance and the need for women to be visible in a work environment at the top of each list.
“Moreover, the speakers consistently spoke of the importance of mentorship. Regardless of their gender, there will always be champions of your work who recognise your worth.
“According to the speakers at the Summit, it is vital to foster these relationships and use them to your advantage - for support, guidance, and in time - a step-up the career ladder.”
“One of Womensphere's key philosophies is the belief that empowering women and unlocking women's potential will be necessary for global change.
“The Emerging Leader's Global Summit started a conversation that, we believe, is symptomatic of the increasing momentum and global will to achieve this goal.
“The key in taking this forward will be to foster networks and strengthen our global connections. Since arriving back from New York we have stayed in contact with Womensphere and have plans to work with them in the future.
“On top of this, we are looking at ways to highlight the important work done by women at Edinburgh and start a thriving community of women students and academics locally.
”Jessica Posner, from Shining Hope for Communities, a not-for-profit organisation which raises money to build schools to educate girls in Kibera, Kenya, summed up the importance of the ideas discussed at the Summit perfectly: ‘We are the new generation. We have a responsibility to live in the world we want to.’”
“She is absolutely right. For too long, women have been fighting against the same barriers in a global society that could be more diverse and vibrant if leadership positions were filled with new faces, voices and ideas.
“The Emerging Leader's Global Summit illustrated that success is achievable and that collectively, women have tremendous power and influence to change the world. The time has come for us to be leaders, we must embrace it.”
This article was published on May 9, 2011