Strong, Beautiful Women Spring Break in São Paulo


March 25, 2013


While Bwog was imbibing in the Caribbean on the couch with our dog watching the Girls finale, Barnard bears were actually doing something in the form of a delegation sent to São Paulo, Brazil for its fifth annual Global Symposium, “Women Changing Brazil.”

According to the full press release the Symposium, held last year in Mumbai, India, garnered “approximately 400 people” for the “day-long event, which brought together exceptional leaders from all over the country as well as Barnard students, alumnae ad faculty.” “Global Symposium Student Fellows” also led a “Young Women’s Leadership Workshop for high-school students from around São Paulo.” Among the day’s speakers were Eleonora Menicucci, Brazil’s Minister of the Secretariat of Policies of Women, and, of course, DSpar.

The annual Symposia series, held first in Beijing in 2009, next in Dubai and Johannesburg, will return to its last continent, ours, next year in celebration of Barnard’s 125th Anniversary. Read Barnard’s full press release below.


Premier U.S. Women’s College Gathers Prominent Brazilian Women Leaders

New York, NY – On March 18, Barnard hosted its fifth annual Global Symposium,Women Changing Brazil, in São Paulo. Approximately 400 people attended the day-long event, 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 event was open to the public and sponsored by Credit Suisse. Watch video highlights and view photos.

On March 20, Barnard’s Global Symposium Student Fellows led the third annual Young Women’s Leadership Workshop for high-school students from around São Paulo. Read more and view photos.

Monday’s symposium opened with introductory remarks from Michelle Gadsden-Williams, managing director and global head of diversity and inclusion at Credit Suisse, and Petra Costa ’06, a Brazilian filmmaker and actress. Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard, also spoke, noting the significance of holding this year’s symposium in Brazil.

The keynote address was delivered by Eleonora Menicucci, Brazil’s Minister of the Secretariat of Policies for Women. Minister Menicucci is among Brazil President Dilma Rousseff’s record number of 10 female ministers in Brazil’s cabinet.

The first panel of the day, “Voices of the Region,” showcased women whose art and activism are effecting change and improving conditions in Brazil for the greater good. Speakers included Panmela Castro, graffiti artist and activist who uses street art to promote the rights of women; Kátia Lund, screenwriter and film director ofCity of God, whose organization Nós do Cinema (We of Cinema) provides training and job opportunities to poor children in Brazil’s favelas; Mayra Avellar Neves, student activist and winner of the 2008 International Children’s Peace Prize who mobilized a peaceful protest in her drug- and violence-plagued community to demand a cease-fire during the hours when children walk to and from school; and moderator Kathryn Kolbert, the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies.

After a lunch where participants mingled and chatted in both Portuguese and English about the events of the first half of the day, Monica Waldvogel, Globonews journalist and news anchor, moderated a discussion of women in science in Brazil with Duilia de Mello, NASA astronomer and professor of astrophysics at The Catholic University of America, and Mayana Zatz, a professor of human and medical genetics at the University of São Paulo who has been actively involved in genome research related to the passage of the Brazilian embryonic stem-cell bill in 2005 and 2008.

The day culminated with “Conversations on Leadership,” which was moderated by Spar and included Adriana Machado, the first woman to serve as president and CEO of GE Brazil, and Maria Christina Frias, member of the board and columnist forFolha de S.Paulo.

Barnard’s Global Symposia series, held previously in Beijing in 2009, Dubai in 2010, Johannesburg in 2011, and Mumbai in 2012, provides a dynamic forum for discussion of women’s issues, 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 a U.S. college, to learn from women in other parts of the world. To learn more, visit

Not your Spring Break courtesy of Barnard Media Relations.

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