McCulloch Center Presents Global Challenges Conference

Photo by Joanna Chattman

On February 16 and 17, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives hosted their biennial Global Challenges Conference. The event, this year themed “Social Change for Sustainable Communities,” brought together scholars and practitioners from around the College and the world to analyze issues and provide cross-disciplinary and cross-national perspectives on pressing concerns.

“This conference has been one of the most powerful we have held on campus in the past fifteen years,” said Eva Paus, Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center. “Attendees called it focused, insightful, stimulating, and life-changing.”

More than 120 students and forty alumnae participated in discussions about strategies for reducing growing inequalities at the global and local levels along with networking and career-coaching sessions. The event was tied to a current course on campus, Global-Local Inequalities, a multidisciplinary team-taught course that addresses how institutions, policies, and distribution of power shape access to resources around the world.

Among the many alumnae who returned to share their expertise were Evgenia Sokolova ’01, founder of impact advisory firm Aktivera, Ltd, and Jyot Chadha ’02from the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and the World Resources Institute India, who sat on a panel called Built Environments, analyzing the availability and affordability of housing, electricity, transportation, and more.

A Skills Workshop for Changemakers included presenters Kait Szydlowski ’09, Ann Blake ’85, Susan Lowenthal Axelrod ’84, Nausheen Khan ’11, Shannon Dalton Giordano ’91, Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67, Vijaya Pastala ’89, and Evgenia Sokolova ’01. Each presented specific tools from her line of work, ranging from ways to get funding for innovation to addressing gender discrimination to using storytelling for social change.

A post-event survey captured overwhelmingly positive feedback from student participants, who were pleased to learn of “many great ways and ideas for starting with your own social entrepreneurship path” and who “loved [the] discussion format that allowed for open sharing of ideas and collaboration between alums and students.”

To continue the momentum of productive engagement among alumnae and students interested in social-impact activities, the McCulloch Center has established a LinkedIn group called MHC Social Innovation. There, visitors may share experiences and knowledge; ask questions and offer advice; post blogs and webinars; publish profiles of alumnae; list jobs and internships; and develop mentoring structures in the area of social innovation.

Learn more about the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, including upcoming events and programs.

—By Anne Pinkerton

This article appeared in the spring 2018 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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