About the Emerging Leaders Conference

About the Emerging Leaders Conference

The Emerging Leaders Conference is an annual event hosted by the World Youth Alliance which seeks to examine the UN theme of the year in its application to the work of WYA. This year, the North American Emerging Leaders conference will be: Wo(men) and Health: Dismantling a Culture of Commodification.

Women’s health has been at the forefront of public discourse, receiving major emphasis in the 2012 US presidential election as well as in international negotiations, with many political, religious and activist leaders weighing in on the subject. The Emerging Leaders Conference seeks to challenge young leaders to critically examine the social, cultural and political drivers shaping our understanding of women’s health both here in North America and the impact of current cultural assumptions on girls and women worldwide. Through a survey of issues such as: reproductive health, the increasing sexualization of women and girls, as well as human trafficking and forced abortion, WYA’s ELC 2013 will emphasize the recognition of the intrinsic dignity of the person as a powerful solution to the many issues concerning women today.

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The Emerging Leaders Conference is a weekend-long gathering that features a wide range of events, including lectures, panel discussions, an orchestra performance, the annual 5k Run for Dignity race and more.

View the ELC weekend schedule, here. 

Speakers for ELC 2013

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. In the late 1960s she began her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction, and launched a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these problems. A radical and original idea at the time, this approach is now mainstream and an integral part of most prevention programs. According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture— advertising. We owe her a great debt.” Mary Pipher has called Kilbourne “our best, most compassionate teacher.” Her films, lectures and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She is the creator of the renowned Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series and the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids (with Diane E. Levin).

Marni Soupcoff is Managing Editor for Blogs at the Huffington Post Canada. She previously served as Deputy Comment Editor at the National Post, where she was also a weekly columnist. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, the Stanford Journal of International Law and other publications. She is also a regular contributor to Regulation magazine.

Marni is a fourth generation Torontonian, but spent nine years in the United States, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Johns Hopkins University in 1997 and received her law degree from Stanford University in 2000. Before moving back to Toronto, Marni worked as a lawyer with the  for Justice, where she litigated economic liberty and property rights cases. She has been a member of the District of Columbia bar since 2000.

Reggie Littlejohn is Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition opposing forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China. She has testified at the European, British and Irish Parliaments, and six times before the United States Congress. She has addressed officials at the White House, State Department and Vatican. A graduate of Yale Law School, she has represented Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases. She led the international coalition to free blind activist Chen Guangcheng. She is prominently featured as an expert on China’s One Child Policy in the film on gendercide, “It’s a Girl,” and is leading a campaign to save girls in China. Click here to view the website.

Lionel Tiger is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. His title reflects his pioneering role in introducing biosocial data into the social sciences. Since the mid-1960's he has been deeply involved in bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences. He has asserted that the words used appear to imply that human social behavior is somehow not natural. But of course it is. Exploring how and why is Tiger's central adventure. As a teacher, writer of books and articles which have been widely published and translated into a dozen languages and as co-Research Director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, he has been an influential figure in broadening our knowledge about why we do what we do.

He combines his scientific expertise with a lively sense of humor to offer original, entertaining and informative lectures that challenge what is entrenched or fashionable. He moves responsibly but with intellectual innovation where others fear to tread. Currently he is focused on child care, young males, the pill, college demographics, the workforce, and the ways in which humans are becoming progressively more and more alienated from their biological roots.

A graduate of McGill University and the London School of Economics at the University of London, England, he is a long-time consultant to the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense on human factors in military organization and the nature of strategy.



What is the World Youth Alliance?

The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations.

What is the importance of this year's theme?

As young people committed to defending human dignity, it is important to be aware of, and informed about, the ways in which culture dehumanizes persons, using and discarding, viewing persons as objects or commodities, rather than subjects.

This year's ELC will inspire young people think critically, to tackle the challenging issues of today, with regards to women and global issues of health.

What topics will be covered in the conference?

We will be discussing issues related to women’s health, in all it’s multi-faceted dimensions: the biological, psychological, sexual, social, political, anthropological and global (to name a few). We will be examining issues such as the problem of the sexualization of women in the media, reproductive health (what does it really mean?), human trafficking and forced abortion. In addition, we will also consider possible solutions to some of the problems at the policy-making level.

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What about housing for the conference?

Participants are responsible for their own lodging. There are a number of affordable options, so let us know if you need help and we can send you a few suggestions. 

Is the 5K Run for Dignity part of the ELC?

Yes! The conference itself takes place on Friday and Saturday and the final event of the ELC weekend is the 5K Run for Dignity, taking place on Sunday morning. Participants are encouraged to show their support and Run for Dignity!  However, you can register for the conference and the race separately. Just be sure to select the right payment option on the ELC 2013 registration page.

Can I bring guests?

Please do! Invite your friends to the conference, the 5K race, or both! Just send them the link and have them register online.  We will also be accepting payment in-person at the conference (Friday and Saturday) as well as on race day Sunday. 

Can I volunteer for the ELC weekend?

Yes, certainly!  We are looking for volunteers!  If you're interested in donating your time and talents for the conference and/or the 5K Run for Dignity on Sunday, please be in touch with us!  Email us at: northamerica@wya.net 

Is there financial assistance available?

We want everyone who is interested in World Youth Alliance to be able to take part in our activities and programs. So, there are a few need-based scholarships available to cover the registration fee, but we are also here to help you with your fundraising initiatives in any way that we can! Shoot us an email and we’ll talk: northamerica@wya.net 

Is there a registration deadline?

Spots are filling up so be sure to Register Now!

Email northamerica@wya.net

or call +1 212 585 0757