JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - New York City’s Barnard College gathered influential African women leaders for the school’s third annual Global Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event, Women Changing Africa, brought together exceptional women from across the continent—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.”
“As a leader, you've got to be able to do things that make you uncomfortable and take you outside of your comfort zone,” said Susan Mboya, founder and president of the Zawadi Africa Education Fund and general manager for Coca Cola. Governor Gill Marcus of the South African Reserve Bank added, “Don't ask for it to be fair, because it's not going to be. You need to be better.”
“If you look at the recent history of this continent, you see the incredible role that women have been playing," said Barnard President Debora L. Spar. “I would say not only are women part of the change on the African continent, they're actually leading the change.”
“Conversations on Leadership” highlighted some of the most established and influential women leaders from South Africa and the continent, including Governor Marcus; 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” showcased women whose important work is inspiring a generation of young women to continue the progress achieved in Africa by leaders such as Marcus, Haffajee, Inyumba, Ramphele and Mokgoro. Panelists included Mboya, Ndidi Nwuneli, founder of LEAP Africa; 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™.
The day began with introductory remarks from Maria Ramos, group chief executive of Absa Group, Ltd.
The annual symposia, held previously in Beijing in 2009 and Dubai in 2010, are supplemented by regional gatherings throughout the year, providing an opportunity for members to meet, network, share ideas, and create opportunities. The series continues in the spring of 2012 with the fourth annual Barnard College Global Symposium to be held in India.
About Barnard College
The idea was bold for its time. Founded in 1889, Barnard was the only college in New York City, and one of the few in the nation, where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, Barnard is the most sought-after college for women and remains dedicated to the education of strong, independent-minded women who change the world and the way we think about it.