On Thursday, March 15, more than 80 high school students from around Mumbai gathered at the Cathedral and John Connon School to take part in Barnard College's 2012 Young Women’s Leadership Workshop. The event, which took place the day before Barnard's global symposium "Women Changing India," featured a plenary address by Riya Bhattacharya, a research analyst from Credit Suisse in India, who stressed the importance of financial literacy for young women. Participants also heard from Barnard President Debora Spar and Professor Kathryn Kolbert, director of Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Ann Dachs, a senior admissions officer and director of Barnard's Pre-College Programs, talked about the value of liberal arts education.
Later in the day, Barnard's Global Symposium Student Fellows led small group workshops helping participants explore leadership and develop their collaboration and negotiation skills. The workshop curriculum, "Perspectives on Leadership," incorporated a role-playing exercise where the high school students were encouraged to consider an eminent domain scenario set in a fictional Mumbai slum. A redevelopment plan would bring in foreign investment and help establish the city as a leading global center, but would also have significant humanitarian, environmental, and health repercussions. Taking on the roles of residents, developers, city government officials, and NGO representatives, the students talked through the clashing perspectives and opposing interests associated with this issue.
"I was amazed by how we could relate to the issues were and how candid everyone was about the problems their country -- and world -- face today," said Sara Lederman '12, one of the six Barnard student fellows who traveled to Mumbai to conduct the Young Women's Leadership Workshop and participate in the global symposium.
"All the students seemed to share a real passion for social change, and it was so clear that they are more than equipped to make it happen," said Shilpa Guha '12, another of the student fellows. "Each and every one of them exhibited leadership, but they did so in completely different ways - I think this variety in styles really enriched the workshop."
Check out media coverage of the 2012 Young Women's Leadership Workshop, as well as photos and coverage of Women Changing India.
Learn more about Barnard's Global Symposia Series.