Keynote speakers
Eleanor Blomstrom, Co-Director, Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
Rachel Kyt, Special Representative, the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All

Lorena Aguila, Senior Advisor, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Chizuru Aoki, Lead Environmental Specialist at Global Environment Facility
Lauren Burnhill, Managing Director at One Planet Ventures
Moushumi Chaudhury, Associate, Climate Resilience Practice, World Resources Institute
Kathryn Farley, Research Associate, Gender, Economic Empowerment, and Livelihoods, The International Center for Research on Women
Virginia Gorsevski, Programme Officer, Scientific and Technology Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Fund (GEF)
Sasha Gottlieb, Senior Program Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Services
Anne Kuriakose, Senior Social Development Specialist, Climate Investment Funds, World Bank Group
Melody McCoy, Vice President of Global Engagement and Communications, Jhpiego
Irving Mintzer, Managing Director and Chief Strategist at the Potomac Energy Fund and Professorial Lecturer and Visiting Research Scholar at Johns Hopkins SAIS
Jacqueline Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Deborah Rubin, Co-Director at Cultural Practice, LLC
Stacy Swann, CEO and Founding Partner at Climate Finance Advisors
Virginia Volpe, Managing Director at SS&C Technologies

April 21, 2017

On April 21, Johns Hopkins SAIS hosted the 2017 SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference examining the asymmetric impact of environmental change on women around the world and the ways in which women’s leadership can be leveraged to develop a sustainable future.

The conference’s first keynote speaker was Rachel Kyte, who previously led efforts at the World Bank Group to campaign for an ambitious agreement at the 21st Convention of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21). She emphasized that the evidence and the data is very clear about the challenges of climate change, and that the transition we need to engineer is technically feasible. However, there needs to be an emotion that accompanies data and evidence to create the political will to act. Therefore, her work focuses on telling stories about how a world of environmentally sustainable solutions would look like.   

The first panel focused on the uneven impacts of climate change. Women are disproportionately affected by climate change, therefore it is often women who spearhead innovation in the field. The panelists focused on how to integrate new technologies in the development of solutions to mitigate climate change. Watch the first panel at . 

Over lunch, the conference featured an expo for women entrepreneurs who work on sustainable development. The Expo featured Esther Ngumbi, founder of Oyeska Greens, a start-up aiming to revolutionize agriculture on the Kenyan Coast; Samantha Wang, co-founder of Bright Energy Africa, a social venture aiming to bring affordable, clean energy to Tanzania; and Mansi Prakash, founder of  Brighter Today, that aims to bring cost-effective, eco-friendly light bulbs.

The second keynote speaker was WEDO's Eleanor Blomstrom, focusing on the systemic barriers which women face worldwide, and which make them more vulnerable to climate change. These need to be acknowledged in order to find appropriate solutions. 

Additional panels centered on women’s professional development as approached from women in different fields, ranging from development to government, and financing gender-inclusive climate change solutions.