40th Anniversary Opens With 'Women Who Inspire' Exhibition

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On September 27th the celebrations to mark the 40th Anniversary of Webster University Geneva began with a welcome by campus director Clementina Acedo to a special exhibition by artist Sema Jonsson titled '100 Portraits of Women Who Inspire'. Curated by Julianna Sandholm-Bark, the exhibition showcases 100 portraits of women who have changed the world, including artists, activists, writers, singers, scientists, politicians, businesswomen, humanitarians, and philanthropists. Further details about their accomplishments can be accessed by visiting the artist’s website.

Dr. Sandholm-Bark explained, "Our hope is that the stories of the women in the portraits will inspire the students and push them towards their own voyage of self-discovery."

Among the portraits on exhibit are Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, (born in 1997); British model, anti-bullying and body positive activist Harnaam Kaur (born in 1990); North Korean defector and human rights activist, Yeon-mi Park (born in 1993); and Dutch sailor and youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly, Laura Dekker (born in 1995). The installation was conducted with the assistance of Francesco Arese Visconti and a team of undergraduate students (Elisa Honegger, Puja Schroth, Fernanda Faria Zagato and Claire Vasiloglou), and students enrolled in First-Year Seminar class helped select portraits for the Student Lounge.

On the day after the vernissage, approximately a third of the portraits were moved from the east wall of the Student Lounge into the office spaces of staff and faculty, who volunteered to “host” a portrait in their office for a temporary time. Testimonials will be collected from staff and faculty on the reasons why they chose a particular portrait, and these will be published in a commemorative catalog.

This event marked the beginning of a year of celebrations which will culminate with a gala event in April. The latest news on the anniversary and links to past events can be found at webster.ch/40. More images from the event can be found on Instagram.