Monday 26th June 2023, Valencia (Spain)
Top female talent has descended on Valencia this week as the city hosts the fourth edition of the Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age, a Huawei programme designed to empower young female leaders to thrive and lead Europe into an inclusive, sustainable digital future.
Students were welcomed by the Schools’ Director, Berta HERRERO, Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at Huawei Europe, who said: “I am proud to have my home country Spain hosting this life-changing programme. Women from all across Europe are meeting here to become the leaders this world needs – and when they reach leadership positions, they will remember that everything started here, in Spain, at our European Leadership Academy. Throughout this week, we will equip them with the tools and skills needed to be at the forefront of the digital revolution. My message to them is clear: talent is power. Femininity is power. Technology is power. Combine the three and let the power of your skills, ambition and determination make you succeed.”
The 29 students representing each one of the 27 EU Member States, the Western Balkans Six and Ukraine come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from engineering and biotechnology to humanities and social sciences, but they are united by their desire to make a difference. Selected by an independent jury, they have each received a full Huawei scholarship to attend the School and are the living embodiment of the company’s motto Leave no one behind.
The School kicked off with the Inaugural Ceremony at Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences, where high-profile female leaders and mentors including top business executives, tech experts, researchers, Members of the European Parliament, former EU Commissioners and prestigious journalists inspired them to seize the opportunity.
Selina WEN, Huawei’s Chief Representative to the European Institutions, said: “Since we established the European Leadership Academy in 2021, more than 100 talented young women from 34 European countries have benefited from this programme and been empowered to take the next step. Our alumnae are already leaders in technology, business, global politics and academia. The European Leadership Academy is part of our long-term commitment in Europe. We are trying to play our part by helping thousands of European talents to upskill and reskill, so that they can get the European economy ready for the green and digital transitions.”
Building upon the words of WEN, Professor Danuta HUBNER, Member of the European Parliament and former EU Commissioner for Trade and Regional Policy, said: “Leadership is not a destination but an ongoing process of learning and growing. There is evidence that women's leadership results in greater responsiveness to citizen's needs and this matters strongly for the digital transition, which should leave no one behind.”
Mary COUGHLAN, former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, said: “This is a new revolution. A digital one. It will without a shadow of a doubt give great opportunity to young people and to people in rural parts of the European Union, especially if we have broadband. Education is key, knowledge is power. If we continue to educate, we will certainly be able to be more dynamic.”
Violeta BULC, former EU Commissioner for Transport and former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia shared valuable life lessons with the students, saying: “Get your experiences and competencies ready, because you never know what is waiting around the corner. Be ready to seize the moment like I did. I knew that the future of transport was technology and digitalization. I knew that the future of transport was going in a green direction. I never wanted to become a politician. I was a successful entrepreneur, but I knew I needed to do something.”
Welcoming the students to her home region of Valencia was Member of the European Parliament Inmaculada RODRIGUEZ-PIÑERO, saying: “I see 29 young women eager to support an inclusive digital transition that does not leave women behind. Technology has permitted every aspect of our society, from healthcare and agriculture to finance and transportation. It has become the bedrock of innovation and progress. Technology will always challenge us, it doesn’t matter if you specialise in tech or other areas. The digital revolution affects us all.”
Finally, one of the European Parliament’s youngest members, Josianne CUTAJAR, emphasized that “having more women in digitalization and STEM is not only a matter of fairness and equal representation, but it has practical benefits, bringing unique perspectives and experiences to these fields, which can lead to new discoveries and advancements,” and she continues: “I am proud that the European Leadership Academy hosts a session on how artificial intelligence could help persons with disabilities. We need inclusivity. It’s useless having technological advancement if we don’t keep it human-centric.”
Hosted by news anchor Isabelle KUMAR, the ceremony paved the way for a week of learning, sharing and expanding horizons in a safe and supportive environment. The upcoming days are filled with masterclasses, debates and teamwork activities on a broad range of topics, from the ethics of generative AI to public speaking, all through green digital skills, entrepreneurship and leadership essentials. New this year, a panel discussion will explore men’s role in advancing equality, and there will be sessions dedicated to talent development in cloud and cybersecurity.”
Tony Yong JIN, Huawei’s Vice-President of the European Region, said: “We are delighted to be holding our 2023 Summer School in Spain, just days before the start of the Spanish Presidency of the EU. Huawei is an integral part of the European Innovation Ecosystem, and a reliable partner in the green and digital transitions. We believe that innovation cannot be generated alone, by one single person, one single company or one single country. All of our successes cannot be achieved without openness and collaboration. We have to be open to understand each other’s strengthens and collaborate for a better future.”
Full details of the Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age, including previous editions in Lisbon, Nice and Prague can be viewed here: www.europeanleadershipacademy.eu
As part of the European Leadership Academy’s programmes, the first-ever Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation also took place in Candeleda, Spain, in October 2022, empowering women from rural areas to lead their local communities in ripping the benefits of the digital era.
Aibing Guo, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 478791859