Aspiring International Women’s Leadership Summit promotes diversity

Jaden Urbi

The International Student Council will host the very first Aspiring International Women’s Leadership Summit on March 31.

The AIWL Summit is designed not only for international women, but anyone who is interested in learning more about and appreciating multicultural women in leadership positions, said Onalie Ariyabandhu, senior in economics and president of the International Student Council.

“Diversity doesn’t only mean international students; it ranges from LGBT students to students with disabilities to even people with different religious affiliations, and it’s important to recognize that,” Ariyabandhu said.

Along with Ariyabandhu, Janet Horsager, International Student Council treasurer, assisted with planning the summit. 

Horsager said she has been working to plan the event since February, contacting the featured leaders and designing the event’s logo. The AIWL Summit is being funded by the Asian American Studies Program.

The event will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union. The summit will consist of small group activities, large group discussion and the presentation of a leadership concept.

“We have invited six faculty and student leaders on campus to be featured leaders working with small groups to discuss their leadership experiences, challenges, passions and ambitions,” Ariyabandhu said.

Following these small group discussions, the groups will all join together to freely discuss topics on international women in leadership roles, Ariyabandhu said.

“Diverse perspectives prepare people to address the multiple needs in a community and by promoting this at Iowa State, we are acknowledging the increased prevalence of globalization and a continual need to embrace new ideas in a changing community,” Horsager said.

Ariyabandhu said that she hopes participants will learn from current leaders and become inspired and motivated to take on leadership roles themselves.

“I have been in leadership roles all throughout college, but something I have noticed is that it takes some amount of effort and mental status for a woman to get into a leadership position without thinking twice,” Ariyabandhu said.

Ariyabandhu said that this is more of a motivational event for women to talk about the importance of leadership and why people should appreciate women of color, while encouraging current leaders to maintain their positions and prospective leaders to make the effort to get into a leadership position.

“Leaders are people who want to pursue these opportunities and who take that extra step and move forward,” Ariyabandhu said.

Horsager said she thinks it’s important to have this event because people can always improve their leadership skills and the summit brings together international women to encourage each other in future leadership endeavors. 

“Each person brings a new perspective to an organization, by encouraging more international women to seek out leadership positions we are expanding perspectives within organizations,” Horsager said.

Registration for the AIWL Summit has no deadline, but participants are encouraged to register by noon today. 

“The world beyond a university has a lot of diversity, and this is something that people should learn how to tolerate, accept and appreciate. That can’t be done overnight, it’s a learning process,” Ariyabandhu said.