Barnard’s Global Symposia series was launched in 2009 with four main goals in mind: to provide a dynamic forum for discussion of women's issues in regions where such opportunities do not readily exist; to create a network of women leaders from around the world; to inspire young women about their own leadership potential; and to provide an opportunity for Barnard, as an American college, to learn from women in other parts of the world and bring their stirring stories back to our students.
In March 2009, Barnard College was delighted to host an influential group of extraordinary women leaders for a symposium in Beijing entitled Women Changing China. This high-profile event celebrated the lives of women in China today and examined the distinctive ways in which they are working, influencing others, and shaping the world around them. Based on the success of Beijing, the College decided to launch an innovative series of global symposia, focusing each year on women's leadership in a different region of the world.
The second Barnard Global Symposium, Women in the Arab World, held in Dubai in March 2010, gathered the preeminent women of the Middle East for a dialogue on women's leadership, women's agency and women's voices.
In March 2011, Barnard was honored to present its third symposium,Women Changing Africa, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event brought together leaders—in government, commerce, academia, media, and the arts—for a day of collaboration, networking and discussion.
In March 2012, the day-long Mumbai symposium drew over 400 guests from around India and the world, including Barnard students, alumnae, and faculty. Some of India's most preeminient women leaders spoke on issues surrounding social activism, entrepreneurship, and media.
Barnard hosted its fifth annual Global Symposium in São Paulo. Approximately 400 people attended the day-long event at the Grand Hyatt São Paulo, which brought together exceptional leaders from all over the country as well as Barnard students, alumnae and faculty for wide-ranging discussions addressing education, activism, leadership, science, the arts, public policy, government, work-life balance, and violence against women.
The sixth annual event will take place in Shanghai, China in March 2014.