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Barnard gathers Chinese women leaders for sixth annual Global Symposium

Barnard College hosted its sixth annual Global Symposium in China on Wednesday, March 19. Women Changing China, gathered exceptional leaders in business, finance, academia, media, and the arts for conversations about their experiences and perspectives. The event, attended by more than 300 people, took place at the Portman Ritz Carlton in Shanghai. View photos from the symposium.

Women Changing China opened with introductory remarks from Barnard President Debora Spar, who then moderated a discussion with Yang Lan, chair of Sun Media Group and Sun Culture Foundation, and Wu Qing, activist and English-language professor. Both women also participated in Barnard’s first Global Symposium, which took place in Beijing in 2009, and returned to this year’s event with ideas about what “having it all” means to Chinese women today. Wu Qing emphasized the fundamental values of love, truth, and equal rights, while Yang Lan talked about the need to prioritize different aspects of life over time, as well as the complicated challenges facing urban women.

During the second panel of the day, Insights into Business and Finance, the audience heard from Song Bing, managing director at Goldman Sachs, Beijing; Jiang Peizhen, chair and general manager of Golden Throat Group; Yuan Li, managing editor of the Chinese online edition of The Wall Street Journal; and Yunli Lou, founding partner of Milestone Capital. Moderator Kathryn Kolbert, director of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, talked with panelists about their “secret sauce”—their personal formulas for success—as female entrepreneurs and business leaders.   

The event’s closing panel, Voices in Education, Media, and the Arts, featured Julia Huang, executive chairman of ChinaEDU; Scarlett Li, founder and CEO of Zebra Media; Danwen Xing, visual artist; Tracey Trench, head of creative development at Oriental DreamWorks. Moderator Catherine Sameh, associate director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, led a discussion about what it means to create content and the roles of art, technology, and social media in women’s personal narratives.

In her closing remarks, President Spar focused on what is missing from the media's representation of women today, saying, "I think it is really important for all of us to notice that we are used to seeing less-than-perfect-men...we tend only to see women who are perfect, or pretty darn good."

On Sunday, March 16, Barnard College's Global Symposium Student Fellows facilitated the 2014 Young Women's Leadership Workshop at the High School Affiliated to Fudan University in Shanghai. Read more about this event, watch videos, and view photos.

Learn more about Barnard's Global Symposia Series.