Leaders in their own right, five Saint Mary’s students traveled to Dubai , in the United Arab Emirates, for the Women as Global Leaders Conference. Chelsea Iversen, Becki Faunce, Sarah Barnes, Sarita Fritzler, and Adriana Rodriguez (as pictured) attended the international conference held March 10-12, along with delegates from 200 institutions and 60 countries. Speakers included Academy Award winning actress Jane Fonda and former White House Bureau Chief Helen Thomas. Saint Mary’s students were accompanied by Joy Evans, the assistant director for scholarship and research in the Center for Women’s InterCultural Leadership (CWIL).
The Saint Mary’s students toured the city, including a visit to a local mosque. They also had the opportunity to meet with conference speakers and some of the 1000 participants. Even the bus ride back to the hotel provided an opportunity for the students to engage with students from other countries. Senior Sarita Fritzler had a chance to speak with a student from Zayed University, the conference host. “She wanted to learn more about how leadership is taught in the United States and especially the work we were doing in our Certificate in Intercultural Leadership . We had a very meaningful conversation and I learned so much about her life in Abu Dhabi and her passion for teaching and she learned about my ambitions and goals in life,” says Fritzler.
The best part of the conference for junior Sarah Barnes was meeting students from the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East. “Getting to know them and realizing the similarities we all have as young women leaders was a great opportunity that I am so thankful for,” says Barnes.
While meeting students from different countries seemed to be a favorite activity of the Saint Mary’s contingent, they also brought back new insights into leadership. “One of the themes several of the presenters emphasized was ‘owning your leadership,’ or simply telling yourself you are a leader even though you may not view yourself as a leader, despite your many leadership roles,” explained Becki Faunce. “Many women leaders have trouble owning their leadership, and I am one of them, and that is the first step in working for positive change in the world. I was also empowered as a young woman leader to envision myself as the change that I want to see in the world, because I am part of a group and generation that will change the world.”