Welcome, Future Leaders!

The third edition of our Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age will take place in the historic city of Prague from the 17th to the 22nd of July. Students should prepare themselves for a week that they will never forget!
Our 29 young leaders of tomorrow – comprising one from each EU member state, one from the ‘Western Balkans Six’ and, for the first time, one from Ukraine – will embark on a journey of discovery. Mornings will be taken up with a combination of panels, workshops, roundtables and masterclasses, while the afternoons will include cultural visits and teamwork sessions. Every evening, participants will be invited to a themed dinner.
With a line-up of top-level lecturers and speakers, students will have the chance to debate with global thought leaders, policymakers and business executives. They will be able to network in a safe and inspiring environment, while learning skills that will be valuable to them throughout their careers and making friends for life.

Day 1

Summer School 2022

The first day of the Summer School will allow students to settle into their new surroundings. They will have the opportunity to get to know the rest of the group and to begin exploring the fascinating city of Prague.

There will be an introduction to the programme, followed by the first team-building exercise ‘Discover Prague’, where students will have to work together to learn about the city, and about each other.

After an afternoon that includes some free time, the 29 participants will be transported to a magical evening location for this edition’s Inaugural Ceremony. A series of keynote speeches and welcome remarks will provide insights into the exciting agenda that awaits them in the days to come, and into the trends shaping the quest for equality and the ethical use of new technologies throughout the world. Students and mentors will enjoy their first dinner together with a beautiful sunset as the perfect backdrop. Their journey towards empowerment and leadership has begun!

Day 2

Our first full day will kick off with a Masterclass on Leadership – a key module of the programme. This session introduces participants to the different kinds of leadership and helps them to identify the skills that are crucial to establishing themselves as the leaders of the future. Using a combination of advocacy techniques, knowledge tools and coalition building, the class aims to provide students with the basic skills on which they can build to shape the type of leader that they want to become. One that is true to their authentic selves and enhances their own strengths.

Following a brief coffee break, our first group of top-level panelists will gather to discuss How Women Can Shape Technology, Cybersecurity and the Digital Economy. The session looks to encourage lively debate and includes an interactive segment where students and speakers exchange views and ideas.

Next on the agenda is the first networking lunch and then a short breakout session on the History of European integration, where participants will get an executive overview of how the European Union institutions work, how this common project was born, and the prospects for future enlargement. The initial Inspiring Session on the subject From Zero to Hero with Passion and Determination will follow, empowering our future leaders to pursue their goals and dreams without getting burnout in the process. Participants will gain insights into the challenges women are facing in managerial positions, both in the public and private sectors. Our dedicated mentors will explore how to overcome such obstacles and raise awareness of the importance of supporting female leadership from all segments of society.

After hours of non-stop learning and debating, the students will come together to work in teams and start developing the projects they will present at the end of the week. Building on the School’s core value of “Leave no one behind”, this edition’s Group Work sessions will uphold the motto “Leave no SME behind” during our continent’s Twin Transition to a better future – one that is green and digital.

After some free time to relax and get to know the School’s historical surroundings, participants will enjoy their first evening getaway. Dining in an enchanting Czech garden on the outskirts of Prague, students and mentors will get a taste of Bohemia, and a first-hand introduction to modern Czech cuisine, which is delightfully rooted in local traditions and flavours.

Day 3

Our students will start this day bright and early with a practical workshop on How to get funding as a female entrepreneur – from Brussels to Silicon Valley, the Middle East, Asia and beyond! After this energising beginning, our future leaders will pack their bags and leave for a picturesque farm in the Czech countryside that will host our key modules on Sustainability. Departing for a group work session and a relaxing lunch in the sun, the students will dive into the art of Creative empathy. Next on the list is our most acclaimed Coding Masterclass – which this time will be taught in the nature! Under the guidance of top professors, the 29 will be introduced to this discipline through one of the most innovative learning experiences that has been developed in Europe. It will engage students in the world of algorithms and programming - useful skills that every leader in the digital age will need.

After some free time, during which the students will have a chance to rest, network and meet the inhabitants of the farm – horses included, a debate on the subject of Innovation for a sustainable future will precede an equally sustainable dinner. A fitting end to a full day!

Day 4

Smile: our famous Tech & Ethics Day has finally arrived! Today’s opening session, Spotlight II, will focus on Cognitive Sciences and Machine Learning and will be followed by a workshop exploring the topic of Tech for Good and The Next Stages of Innovation.

After the coffee break, a panel of experts in diplomacy, international relations, trade and cooperation will prompt a great deal of debate and discussion. Global Collaboration in the Age of Disruption is a key module of our Schools, in which students will have the chance to bring forward their ideas and proposals on how international businesses and multilateral institutions can best navigate challenging times.

Debate is sure to continue into the networking lunch, after which a session on AI Ethics and Values-Based Technology will provide students with the opportunity to address the ethical questions specific to the digital age and the transitional shift in a society where laptops, smartphones and other devices enable the quick and easy transfer of information. An interactive approach is designed to create opportunities to ask questions and engage in the subject, providing an insight into how the topic of ethics has evolved as technologies have developed.

Mid-afternoon will be the time for teamwork once again when our students will get into their groups and continue to work on their projects. There will be a space for downtime afterwards, before they embark on the one evening getaway that is made just for them – Disconnect from the World, Connect with your Inner Self. Comfortable clothing and zero judgements are a must for this part!

Day 5

Public Speaking will be the subject of today’s Masterclass, designed to help students practice confidence-boosting techniques that will help them stay focused, clear, and calm when speaking in front of an audience. Future leaders will learn how to sharpen presentation skills and deliver messages in an understandable and persuasive manner, and to influence their audience in a memorable way. Hint: this is usually the students’ favourite session of the whole School programme!

Our stimulating agenda continues with Inspiring Session II: Entrepreneurship, Career Development and Women on Boards. It’s crucial that we understand the challenges faced by women in business, but also the opportunities that the business world offers for talented individuals. This class aims to provide information – based on real-life examples from one of our most admired role models - and offer solutions to empower young women to develop any project and overcome any obstacles that they will face in their professional journeys.

Today’s panel discussion will explore the topic of Digital Inclusion, Social Progress: How to make Growth Work for All, and our students will exchange views with the speakers on matters such as how technology can advance the inclusion of people with disabilities, what has to be done to eliminate biases in algorithms, how connectivity can bridge the rural-urban gap, etc. The debate will generate food for thought and challenge the audience in their preconceptions and assumptions.

This will be followed by the usual mid-afternoon teamwork session. Next, the time will come to learn more about The Economics of Equality. The evening before the grand finale will wrap up with the Start-Up Dinner & Final Teamwork Session, where students will make finishing touches to the projects they have been working on all week.

Day 6

All good things must come to an end, and in a flash our week is almost over. Today marks the final day of formal sessions and will begin with group presentations of the students’ projects.

This exciting moment will be followed by a new session exploring The Power of Everlasting Connections – brace yourselves for a heartwarming surprise! Right after the last coffee break, our final panel discussion will host top female leaders from different fields; in fact, they are some of The Women Shaping Europe. The students will get an insight into facts and figures about women in decision-making in Europe, get tips on “dos and don’ts” for women leaders-to-be, and learn how to develop more gender-inclusive organisations. Our group of female experts will show that leadership can also be exercised at a local level, within your community – and how this can have a great impact on the upbringing of new generations.

The day’s final formal sessions will take place after the networking lunch. Firstly, we will talk about the necessity of Empowering Women to Lead the Digital Revolution. Lastly, our Inspiring Session III will dive into one of the most important issues of our time: Mental Health and the Future of Social Media. Together with a leading figure in the field, students will evaluate their own attachment to social media and will discuss how to make better use of the platforms available – first and foremost, for their own mental health.

With this, the academic curriculum is finally over! Only some free time separates our students from the one and only Farewell Gala & Awards Ceremony we have all been looking forward to.

By this time, our students will have made life-long friendships and important connections, preparing them to take their careers to the next stage. The Farewell Gala is an occasion to celebrate and crown these days spent together – and, in all honesty, also to take the most beautiful pictures. After an innovative Czech meal and several inspiring speeches, the evening will close with the Awards Ceremony. Students will receive their certificates of achievement – and which of the 29 will be awarded our prestigious Future Leader statuette? 

This magical evening will close with a good dance, and the morning after our #NextGenChangeMakers will depart – but the memories created in Prague will last a lifetime.