U.Va. prepares for Women's Global Leadership Forum this week

Event organizers address ticket concerns for Clinton address


Hillary Rodham Clinton's final address's tickets were distributed via lottery.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Following up on the University’s Bicentennial Celebration that occurred just a few weeks ago, the University is preparing for its Women's Global Leadership Forum, to be held on Monday and Tuesday. This event on the “Role of Women in 21st Century Democracy” will feature a host of speakers and leaders from over 25 countries. 

Hosted by University President Teresa Sullivan and special guest Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, the forum will touch on issues related to the economy, women’s health, education and the steps moving forward into the third century at the University.

Stewart Gamage, the chair of the WGLF Steering Committee and director of Morven Programs, said the process for developing this forum involved a diversity of viewpoints and ideas.

“It’s been about 18 months preparing for this event,” Gomage said. “We worked hard to try to have a broad set of viewpoints; international, local, and private public. We tried hard to make sure we had a good balance of viewpoints."

This program is completely free to the public, with limited spaces. Most of the program segments are Q&A panels with the audience, in order to promote engagement and interaction, particularly with students.

One of the most sought-after events that will occur during this two-day event is the closing address, featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State and the Democratic 2016 presidential candidate. Clinton was the first woman to run as a major party’s candidate for president. The 90-minute address will take place in Old Cabell Hall and will be moderated by McAuliffe. 

With the limited number of seating in the auditorium, the event distributed tickets via lottery. Tickets were very limited, with a handful given to those that helped structuralize the event, such as the Women’s Center, Faculty Assembly and Student Council.

Gamage said the address would be in Old Cabell Auditorium instead of a wider space, such as John Paul Jones Arena, to have a “more intimate conversation.”

“They were thoroughly direct in saying that they didn’t want a campaign style arena,” Gamage said. “I think really the whole segment of the program was circulated in having a more informal, intimate conversation than having one thousand basketball arena.”

As to be expected, many students were disheartened to receive the news of their failure to receive a ticket. Gabrielle Posner, a first-year College student who wasn’t able to receive a ticket, said she would’ve loved to have had the opportunity to hear Hillary Clinton speak.

“If offered the chance to hear her speak and see how directly influential she is on politically driven women such as myself, I would have been thrilled and honored,” Posner said.

The Leadership Forum has already made plans to accommodate those who still want to hear Clinton speak but did not receive tickets. The address is set to be streaming live at two overflow sites — Newcomb Theater and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

However, Gamage said that there is still hope to receive a ticket for those who did not win the lottery.

“We are going to see if a few tickets have not been claimed or picked up, and send an email out on Monday about the process … if we can see how many tickets are available, and call back on a first-call first term basis,” she said. “We want to make sure every ticket out there gets available for someone.”

The Women’s Global Leadership Forum also plans to continue establishing relationships even after the event ends. One of the hopeful projects following the Forum is to establish an online network to remain in touch with other women and to get help when need be.

“I think people just need a way to explore these possibilities, particularly when it is a part of the world that they aren’t familiar with,” Gamage said.

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