Pan-scholarship Symposium on Leadership for Positive Change

  • July 14, 2008

The first ever pan-scholarship Symposium, organised by Gates Scholars on 23 June this year, was such a success that it is set to become an annual fixture.

The event, entitled ‘Leadership for Positive Change’, brought together 60 students from Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, NIH and Gates scholarship programmes.  Participants engaged in presentations and discussions about leadership and the challenges faced by future leaders, and covered issues such as the power of social entrepreneurship, the role of the media, science policy and democracy.

Lord May (former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and former President of the Royal Society), spoke on science and leadership.  Adele Blakebrough MBE, one of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs, talked about leadership via social entrepreneurship.  Mary Hockaday, Deputy Head of BBC Radio News, spoke on leadership and the changing face of international news media.

All three keynote speeches were followed by panel discussions led by groups of students from different scholarship programmes and varying subjects.  This brought further life to each topic, as scholars drew on their research and on their own examples of leadership, ranging from work with AIDS charities to recent experiences in Zimbabwe.

Hamish Forsyth, Convener of the Symposium and External Officer of the Gates Scholars’ Council, said “The objective was to bring together people who share a common desire and capacity to be agents for positive change in their fields. We recognise that leading in any challenging area requires cross-disciplinary thinking and that it makes sense to connect with others who share a similar purpose.”  In addition to the keynotes and panels, a symposium dinner and social function provided further opportunity for informal interactions.

Dr Gordon Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, commended the symposium and expressed his hope that participants would leave with “new energy, new ideas, new collaborators, and a shared sense of belonging to a broader community of scholars committed to leading for positive change.”

Latest News

Tracing the origins of our political beliefs

What makes some people more vulnerable to extremism than others? How do we build cognitive resilience against extreme ideologies? And how does the brain react to misinformation on social media? These are some of the key political questions that political neuroscientist Leor Zmigrod [2016] is exploring, putting the science into our understanding of radicalisation.   Leor […]

A leading woman in STEAM

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been selected as one of the 75 leading women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in India. Yama Dixit will feature in the second edition of the book She Is, published by the Red Dot Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India to mark 75 […]

Tackling the obesity epidemic in Africa

When she left school, Paula-Peace James-Okoro [2022] intended to become a medical doctor, but after starting a degree in Biochemistry she discovered a passion for the subject and for using it to address one of the major health challenges facing Africa – obesity. She says: “In Africa, the rates of metabolic diseases, like obesity and […]

Triple win for Bill Gates Sr. Prize

For the first time three Gates Cambridge Scholars are sharing this year’s Bill Gates Sr. Prize in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership. Kim van Daalen, Reetika Subramanian and Cynthia Okoye have been selected for the prize which was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012 in recognition of the late […]