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International Student Leadership Conference

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Past Conferences: Themes, Keynote Speakers & Quotes


2016- Theme: Accidental Leadership

  • Keynote Speaker: Wajahat Ali
  • Quote: "A new world begins within you!"
  • Description:Why are you a leader? What has inspired you to be a leader? Understanding your reason for being a leader along with knowing your story will fuel your motivation to implement your vision for a new world. While some will argue that leaders are born, this year’s keynote speaker, Wajahat Ali, is more likely to argue that leaders arise out of special events, tragedies and disasters. As a matter fact, he considers himself an “accidental activist.” This year’s conference will give participants a chance to explore the experiences that lead them to become leaders. Furthermore, just as Wajahat has learned of the importance of social media as a means for entrepreneurs/leaders/activists to promote their cause/passion, participants will be in a position to apply this same concept for their story and values. 

2015- Theme: Right? Wrong? Ethical?

  • Keynote Speaker: Miki Agrawal
  • Quote:
  • Description: Being an ethical leader sometimes means having to take actions that are inconvenient and unpopular, but an ethical leader is always one who sees the interconnectedness of individuals, cultures, experiences and passions by implementing multidisciplinary solutions to address complex problems. An ethical leader thinks outside of the box, and relies on others to obtain different perspectives and solutions by trusting and empowering them. Learn what it takes to create your own path to entrepreneurship, find fulfillment and above all to become an ethical leader. 

2014- ThemeKnow your story. Lead with Passion.

  • Keynote SpeakerSahil Dhingra
  • Quote: "Passion is a heartfelt energy that flows through us, not from us. It fills our hearts when we allow it to and it inspires others when we share it.” John J. Murphy
  • Description: How can you inspire others to join your cause if they do not know who you are and what you believe in? So, what are you passionate about? What inspires you? What is your story? Think of your strengths and what drives you or motivates you. Your passion is how you leave your mark in life. It’s how you become remembered. It’s how you become a leader. Passions, like stories, are meant to be shared.


2013- Theme: Strengths Within

  • Keynote Speaker: Michael McCleve
  • Quote: “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” Anna Freud
  • Description: How is one to lead when one does not know about his or her own skills and strengths? This year’s conference will not only enable you to identify your strengths but also learn how to apply these strengths to your advantage in your different leadership roles and positions. Your own personal strengths will be assessed through the Strength Finder Gallup assessment tool by identifying your natural abilities and strengths.Saturday night

2012- Theme: Lead the Change

  • Keynote Speaker: Leymah Gbowee
  • Quote: "Don't wait for a Gandhi, don't wait for a King, don't wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi, you are your own King."
  • Documentary: Pray the Devil Back to HellFeatured: Kike, Miguel y Jania - an ensemble of musicians hailing originally from Chile, Argentina and Ecuador - concert on Saturday night

2011- Theme: Courage to Engage

  • Keynote Speakers: (Friday Night) Greg Meyer & (Saturday) Arnd Wachter
  • Description: Leadership is not always easy - sometimes it is downright difficult. Do you always have the courage to jump into a situation and take the steps needed to move forward? We have designed this conference to give participants the tools to better prepare for those times when leadership is hard. 
  • Documentary: Crossing BordersFeatured: Ohana of Polynesia which offered a Hawaiian Style Lu’au Show on 

2010- Theme: Weaving Leadership Through Stories

  • Keynote Speaker: Moses Asamoah
  • Description: We each have stories to tell - from our childhood, from times of great joy and times of overwhelming sadness - stories our grandparents passed on to us, and stories that our children will tell. This year’ theme is: “Weaving Leadership Through Stories.” Participants in this conference are urged to find and tell their unique stories and, in doing so, enhance their leadership potential.
  • Featured: Kike, Miguel y Jania - an ensemble of musicians hailing originally from Chile, Argentina and Ecuador - concert on Saturday night

2009- Theme: Faces of Leadership

  • Keynote Speaker: Michael Tapscott
  • Description: Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Mohatma Gandhi, Desmond Tutu... these are but a few faces of leadership that immediately come to mind. This conference will encourage the participants to recognize the attributes of these great leaders, and to identify similar attributes in themselves. Thus in the future, when participants are asked to identify the faces of leadership, they will be challenged to recognize their own faces.
  • Featured: "Inspirational Quotes from Different World Leaders"

2008- Theme: Impossible is Nothing

  • Keynote Speaker: Deng Lual
  • Featured: a Saturday Street Fair- browse the items for sale by our guest vendors, Ronald Rosario's Indian Market (selling authentic Indian clothing, jewelry, etc) Sue Dille Designs (handmade ethnic style jewelry-sterling silver rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces of natural stones and beads) and the different student organization tables

2007- Theme: Transforming cultural experiences into leadership opportunities

  • Keynote Speaker: Darla Deardoff
  • Featured: Sattaskys - a reggae-rock group - concert on Friday night

2006- Theme: Communication, Wellness, Skills, Identity – Connecting the Pieces of a Leader

  • Keynote Speaker: Salorne McDonald
  • Featured: a drumming circle" Music- The Universal Language"

2005- Theme: Awaken your World: Live your Vision

  • Keynote Speakers: Zebulon Davenport; Randy L. Mitchell
  • Themed Luncheon: Dr. Terrence L. Jantzi led a lunch-time panel discussing ways the individuals “lived their vision” and leadership as service to others
  • Description: What does it mean to “Awaken Your World" and "Live Your Vision”? How do we approach the world in ways that bring enlightenment and provide significant leadership while remaining true to our personal vision and dreams? The luncheon program will provide opportunities for you to explore your own vision, and consider individual acts which have brought about change and hope throughout the world. Come prepared to be moved and challenged.
  • Featured: Elegba Folklore Society Concert on Friday night

2004- Theme: Awaken your Unique Dynamic Self

  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Aminata Njeri (CEO of LeaderShipology)

2003- Theme: Learn, Cultivate. Grow: Discover Your Leadership Potential

  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mark J. Warner

2002- Theme: Combining our Voices: Celebrating Similarities and Embracing Differences

  • Keynote Speaker: Anthony Lemonte Hogan

2001- Theme: Combining our Voices to Strengthen Global Leadership

  • Keynote speakers: Zebulun Davenport and Randy Mitchell


Participating Universities Over the Years

  • Albright College 
  • Allegheny College
  • Baltimore City Community College 
  • Bluefield State College
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Bridgewater College
  • Bucknell University
  • Cerritos College
  • College of William and Mary 
  • Concord University 
  • Dickinson College
  • Duke University
  • Drexel University
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Fairmont State
  • Genesee Community College 
  • George Mason University
  • Goucher College
  • Hofstra University 
  • Hollins University
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • James Madison University
  • Juniata College
  • Keystone College
  • Lewis Clark State College
  • Liberty University 
  • Lime Academy College of Fine Arts 
  • Lynchburg College
  • Macon State College
  • Mary Baldwin College
  • McDaniel College
  • Montgomery College
  • New York University
  • Nother Virginia Community College
  • Old Dominion University 
  • Penn State University 
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • Polytechnic Institute of New York University 
  • Portland Community College Sylvania 
  • Radford University
  • Randolph-Macon Woman's College
  • Randolph College
  • Reading Area Community College 
  • Riverside Community College District 
  • Shenandoah University
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • State University of New York at Fredonia 
  • Texas Christian University
  • The College of The Bahamas
  • The University of Texas 
  • The University of Virginia's College at Wise
  • Towson University 
  • U. of VA College at Wise
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of Beyreuth
  • University of Charleston
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of Richmond
  • University of San Francisco 
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia State University 
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Washington and Lee University 
  • Wells College

Inspirational Quotes from Different World Leaders  

  • "Passion is a heartfelt energy that flows through us, not from us. It fills our hearts when we allow it to and it inspires others when we share it.” John J. Murphy
  • “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” - Anna Freud
  • "Don't wait for a Gandhi, don't wait for a King, don't wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi, you are your own King." - Leymah Gbowee
  • “For me, education is about the most important thing because that is what liberated me.... The ability to read saved my life. I would have been an entirely different person had I not been taught to read when I was at an early age. My entire life experience, my ability to believe in myself, and even in my darkest moments of sexual abuse and being physically abused and so forth.” - Oprah Winfrey
  • “The advice I would give any young person is, first of all, to rid themselves of prejudice against other people and to be concerned about what they can do to help others. And of course, to get a good education, and take advantage of the opportunities that they have... And whatever they do, to think positively and be concerned about other people, to think in terms of them being able to not succumb tomany of the temptations, especially the use of drugs and substances that will destroy the physical health, as well as mental health.” - Rosa Parks
  • “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” - Desmond Tutu
  • “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” - Diana, Princess of Whales
  • “If you are given a chance to be a rolemodel, I think you should always takeit because you can influence a person’s life in a positive light, and that’s what I want to do. That’s what it’s all about.”Pelé“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” - Tiger Woods
  • “...instead of giving a rifle to somebody, build a school; instead of giving a rifle, build a community with adequate services... develop an educational system that is not about conflict and violence, but one that promotes respect for values, for life, and respect for one’s elders. This requires a huge investment. Yet if we can invest in a different vision of peaceful coexistence, I think we can change the world, because every problem has a nonviolent answer.” - Rigoberta Menchú
  • “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” - Mother Theresa
  • “Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.” - Kofi Annan
  • "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama
  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frus- trations, but about your unfulfilled po- tential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.” -Pope John XXIII
  • “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to dis- cover them.” - Galileo Galilei
  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” - Leonardo da Vinci
  • “All our problems, all our disputes, all our disagreements can be resolved quickly to mutual satisfaction if we address the question.” - Benazir Bhutto
  • “We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”The 14th Dalai Lama“Change doesn’t come from the sky. It comes from human ac- tion.” - Madame Curie
  • “Time is my greatest enemy” - Eva Perón
  • “Girls are the future mothers of our society, and it is important that we focus on their well-being.”Che Guevara“Knowledge makes us accountable.” - Miriam Makeba