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    Inspiring future leaders

    Queen’s student group holds conference for women in politics.

    This past weekend, over 100 participants took part in the first annual Queen's Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) Conference.

    The two-day event brought together delegates from across the Queen’s community to learn from a wide range of experienced and engaging keynote and panel speakers, and take part in hands-on leadership and media workshops. Participants then had the opportunity to put what they learned to the test in a case study challenge, addressing real world issues and concerns.

    The Queen's Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) executive members posing for photos after a successful inaugural conference. (Supplied Photo)
    The Queen's Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) executive members posing for photos after a successful inaugural conference. (Supplied Photo)

    “I think it’s wonderful for young women to become inspired and to feel like their voices are being heard,” says Emily Pilon, Marketing Director for QFLIP. “I know many young people, women and men, want to become politically active, but don’t necessarily have the skills or opportunities to pursue that goal. This conference offers the opportunity to cultivate those skills and show them how to achieve their goals.”

    Guest speakers at the conference included Julie Lindhout, President of the Atlantic Council of Canada and the NATO Association of Canada, and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. Delegates also took in a panel discussion on careers in the political sector featuring Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Political Studies) as well as a workshop on media and communications from renowned political communications specialist Ian Capstick.  Alison Redford, the first female Premier of Alberta and the fourth woman in Canada's history to lead a provincial party to victory, delivered the conference’s capstone address at a banquet Sunday evening.

    Rachel Tung (ArtSci’18), QFLIP’s founder and co-chair, says planning for the conference began in earnest in March, but the original idea came to her much earlier than that.

    “I was inspired to start this conference after hearing Scottish Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick speak at the Principal’s Forum in January 2015,” says Ms. Tung.  “After the forum Caroline (Marful, ArtsSci’18) and I were having lunch in the Ban Righ dining hall when I proposed that there should be a conference and other events on female empowerment in politics. She immediately she responded, ‘Let’s do it, I can see it in my head already.’ We immediately started working on making our dream of this conference a reality.”

    While QFLIP formed, in part, out of the desire to host a forum such as this, the organization hopes to expand its aims to host additional events to help young women get a foothold in the world of politics. The group is already planning a career roundtable later this semester in conjunction with the Queen’s Student Alumni Association

    “QFLIP isn’t just a once-a-year conference,” says Ms Tung. “We’re planning many more opportunities to continue our mission of inspiring and equipping the next generation of leaders with the skills necessary to build their careers.”