President of CERN Council discusses women in leadership

Agnieszka Zalewska, President of CERN Council, participated in the Annual High-Level Forum “Women in Leadership”, which took place on 29 April in Geneva. The event was organised by a group of students participating in the International Organizations MBA (IO-MBA) programme at the University of Geneva, which has maintained a friendly relationship with CERN since its creation.


From left to right: Ambassador Suzan LeVine, Prof. Doris Schopper and Prof. Agnieszka Zalewska. (Image: Lidia Kleshchenko.)

The forum gathered influential leaders from Geneva, Bern, Rome and Krakow to discuss the perceptions, challenges and opportunities that women face in leading roles in international organisations. The panellists were Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, Suzan LeVine, United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Michael Møller, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Doris Schopper, Director of CERAH, member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and professor in the medical faculty at the University of Geneva, and Agnieszka Zalewska, President of CERN Council and professor at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Before the forum, Professor Zalewska, along with Ambassador LeVine, attended an informal meeting with the IO-MBA students, sharing stories of their personal career paths. One topic of the conversation was the difficulties that occur when combining a family life and motherhood with a management position, which a lot of women have to face.

The discussion continued as the forum began, gathering around 270 people in the audience. The panellists agreed unanimously upon the importance of gender equality for both social and economic development. Professor Zalewska pointed out that nowadays there are clearly more women than men at the universities. It must mean, she concluded, that in the future we will see more and more women taking up high-level posts.

Watch the recording of the "Women in Leadership" discussion here. The full version of this article is available on the Diversity at CERN website.

by Lidia Kleshchenko, IO-MBA student