Women as Global Leaders - Learning Leadership

Call for Papers

The call for papers is now closed

Theories of leadership tell us that those who are leaders were born to lead - rising to the occasion when needed. For centuries it was believed that some people naturally possessed innate leadership qualities and thus were ready to lead in ways and in positions outside the reach of the common person. In nearly every society, examples of ascribed and elite forms of leadership can be found from divine kings to chiefs. Still today, the idea of the "born leader" remains popular especially as leaders often stand out as unique and exceptional individuals. Yet this approach to leadership is increasingly falling out of favor in both academic and industry circles. Rather, attention is focused on "how leaders are made" with emphasis on the ways one learns leadership and the importance of followership in that process. Despite the general acceptance that leadership behaviors and qualities can be learned, theories abound about the best way to teach leadership - or whether leadership can be taught - in formal and informal contexts.

In the last two decades, higher education has witnessed a veritable explosion of leadership programs offering minors, majors, certificates, and degrees in leadership. Many programs offer academic courses and nearly all varieties of leadership education emphasize self-awareness and reflection as central components of leadership development. While it is clear that higher education is seeking avenues for educating people for and about leadership, we must also ask ourselves how other lessons inform the practice of leadership and what constitutes best practices for leadership development. For example, what skills, knowledge, and resources do people need to form a vision of the future or work together in accomplishing it? Do men and women learn different leadership lessons either as followers or leaders, and are there different effects from lessons learned in leadership style, opportunities, and practices? At what point can we announce that one has learned leadership and how do we account for the degree to which innate personal qualities afford its acquisition? In preparing students and professionals to undertake the challenge of leadership, programs must ask questions pertinent not only to an educational or industry context but also to the needs and challenges of the complex global environment in which we live.

Many internationally renowned leaders describe their ascent into leadership as a process of learning but not necessarily one that starts or ends in the classroom. Rather, they note that their experiences - both successes and failures - are "lessons learned," guiding them in the ways they lead others. It is no surprise then that leadership education programs also emphasize the importance of experiential education, noting that experience and reflection are primary routes for learning leadership as well as for affording opportunities for enhanced classroom interactions. Experiential types of education from service learning to internships encourage students to put into practice lessons learned in the classroom, taking their education to new levels that are informed by on-the-ground practice. These programs clearly demonstrate that successful leadership development hinges upon the integration of numerous bodies of knowledge with heightened reflection of one's values, behaviors, and relationships.

The 2008 Women as Global Leaders conference theme focuses on the multitude of ways people learn leadership. As calls for leadership echo across the globe and as people call into question whether there is a leadership crisis, there is concentrated interest about the best ways to develop leadership skills and knowledge in individuals. Popular theories emphasize that leadership goes beyond positions and rather is, a dynamic, reciprocal process that involves both leaders and followers. Still, despite intense attention on the need for accomplished leadership especially in an increasingly complex world, little consensus exists about how best to learn leadership and the role higher education, nongovernmental, and industry players serve in this learning process.

Thus, the 2008 Women as Global Leaders conference invites papers, sessions, roundtables, and workshops that explore how leadership is learned as well as taught in a variety of settings. We are particularly interested in women's leadership development and the ways in which gender unfolds within the practice and learning of leadership. Questions of interest include but are not limited to:

  • What does the practice of leadership teach us about leadership?
  • Do men and women learn the same leadership lessons? Do they learn through the same means?
  • How do we best learn leadership? Is the natural-born leader a myth?
  • How does gender impact leadership acquisition and development? Does this vary cross-culturally?
  • Which lessons do we value the most and why? Do all people learn leadership through the same means?
  • What are the best practices for teaching leadership?
  • How do we assess what we have learned or accomplished?
  • Who should lead us? How do we learn to follow as well as to lead?
  • What are the differences between teaching and learning leadership?
  • What are the opportunities and barriers for learning leadership and transforming that knowledge across different economic, social, and cultural contexts?

Submissions are welcome from female undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty, nongovernmental organization members, industry representatives, and those interested in women's leadership development and education of both sexes. We especially encourage students and educators to participate in the conference, which emphasizes women's roles as global leaders and the importance of student leadership education and opportunities.



Submissions must be original. Presentation of in-progress research is also encouraged, as are collaborative projects between students and faculty, universities and communities, and among students.


Individually Submitted Papers (20 minutes)

Individually submitted papers are 20-minute presentations in which authors present original research (including in-progress research), findings from a project, a case study, class exercise, or critical analysis. These presentations can be formally written academic papers, multimedia presentations, or other formats that convey ideas and conclusions; papers can be co-authored. If participants choose to present a written paper, 20-minutes of presentation time translates into approximately 9 double-spaced pages of computer text. However, participants are encouraged to prepare a 20-minute presentation in which they present a paper rather than read the paper to the audience. Program organizers at Zayed University will group presentations into panels around common themes. New explorations and analyses of leadership theory and practice are especially welcomed.

Organized Panels (90 minutes)

Organized panels are already organized groups of papers submitted by an individual(s). These panels are organized around a central theme; papers in organized panels address this central theme. Papers included in organized panels are those in which authors present original research (including in-progress research), findings from a project, a case study, class exercise, or critical analysis. These presentations can be formally written academic papers, multimedia presentations, or other formats that convey ideas and conclusions; papers can be co-authored. Panel organizers submit sessions with assigned individual papers (i.e. Zayed University does not group papers as is the case with individually submitted papers) and thus, organizers must have all included paper information with them when they submit the panel for review. All panels must have at least three papers in order to be considered a pre-organized session. Although organizers can submit panels with discussants, this is not required.

Roundtable Discussions (60 minutes)

Roundtable discussions are informal conversations led by an individual on a prearranged topic. Participants do not sign up in advance but choose the session that they would like to join. Roundtable conversations stimulate intellectual exchange around a common theme, thus encouraging participants to share ideas and information as well as generate new knowledge. Given the diversity of conference delegates, roundtable discussions are unique opportunities for exploring different cultural backgrounds, intellectual traditions, and understandings of leadership topics or global problems. Roundtable organizers should come prepared to begin the conversation with 10-15 minutes of prepared information such as the topic at hand, background details, and questions for consideration. Organizers also should be ready to guide discussion around the common theme. Although topic choice is open, all topics presented must relate to the conference theme.

Workshops (60 or 90 minutes)

A presentation or interactive activity that encourages the development of skills and techniques beneficial to leadership development and knowledge. Workshop possibilities include small group exercises, hands-on activities, and in-depth discussions on topics or skills pertinent to the practice or acquisition of leadership. Workshops can be led by individuals or groups. Although workshops commonly concentrate on competency development, they can also address pedagogical issues related to the teaching of leadership. Proposals that encourage interaction between faculty and students and among individuals of different backgrounds are especially encouraged.


Proposals for sessions must be submitted online. An automated message will confirm receipt of submission.


Abstracts of proposed sessions are due on November 15, 2007. You will be notified within 2 months of the status of your proposal. After November 15, proposals will be accepted according to space availability.

Proposal Format

Proposals must be in English, and must include the following information:

  • Presenter name, email address, institution, address, title and submission format
  • Abstract of 300 words maximum
  • Internet and audio-visual requirements necessary for the session


Candidates must also register separately to attend the conference. The conference registration and proposal submission processes are completely separate. However, the first step is to register with our site in order to access our online conference system.

The call for papers is now closed