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Interview with Barkha Sengar

Barkha Sengar has recently organised WikiStage ESCP Europe on 5 different campuses across the continent. She invited speakers to deliver their WikiTalks at events spreading from Paris to Madrid to Torino, London and Berlin. Barkha is a student at ESCP Europe Paris, where she is a Master’s candidate in Management and Finance. She wanted to host the event because she saw it as a great opportunity to gain experience in leadership and event management. She says herself, “I wanted to be a leader, but when I first became an organiser I wasn’t so sure in myself […] however, after the event, I feel like a better leader and I would organise a WikiStage event again.”   The theme of the events was “Direction Europe,” which was intentionally created to give the co-organisers at the other campuses the possibility to invite the speakers whom they preferred. In total Barkha managed 36 people all over Europe, and she says that it wasn’t always easy. At one point, Barkha’s team had difficulties finding an organiser in Berlin and when they finally found one, she had to organised the event herself. However, with a new plan and a lot of encouragement they hosted a great event in Berlin. All of the WikiStage events around Europe were hosted with success thanks to Barkha and the team the she had recruited. Which brings us to another extremely important task -  recruitment. She needed people with knowledge in different fields such as marketing, raising sponsorships, finance, et cetera. Ultimately, this experience gave her an opportunity to manage and lead a team, as well as to learn a lot about team work and management. As she says “when I work in teams today I know how it is to be the leader and what responsibility that carries along.”   At the onset of the event, Barkha didn’t have much previous experience in event managing. Yet, she organised the WikiStage event with a considerable success. In fact, she did it with so much success that at the very end of it, many were interested in organizing and participating in a WikiStage event themselves.   The WikiStage team is very thankful to Barkha and other organizers who constantly invest their best efforts to maintain and further build our community. They are the most valuable part of our network and we are always looking forward to working with exciting and motivated people all over the world.

Responsible research and innovation: WikiStage SoScience

(This article is a contribution from Laurent Calmus, doctor in organic chemistry and ESPCI-ParisTech engineer, and is a preview for the WikiStage SoScience event May 16) Responsible research and innovation is an emerging concept in natural sciences. It originated in the US about 10 years ago, and it aims is to find solutions for today's social and environmental challenges. Through responsible and reflective scientific activity, methodologies and agenda, it hopes to establish sustainable and greener societies. The field is emerging, and there is much to be said about it. But since it is so new, there exist no place for participants in the field to express themselves. So we believe a WikiStage event is perfect to start a conversation. The goal of this first conference is to present responsible innovation and foster curiosity about it. After introducing the key topics, there will be different talks centered around the three following points: “The impossible becomes possible" / How to make it happen / The emergence of a new reality. It is crucial to present the different aspects of responsible research and innovation processes. For example, academic and industrial researches, funding, intellectual property and politics are essential parts in the definition and development of responsible research and innovation.  “Evidence can take so many forms” / Examples of different projects. Different exciting projects are ongoing in several research areas. To understand what is happening in responsible research and innovation at this moment, what could be better than to let researchers present their own projects and goals?  “Make it yours” / Access of the crowd. We think that responsible research and innovation can’t truly be effective without a serious relationship between researchers and society. To innovate in the right way, researchers have to be aware about society's main goals. On the other hand, society should be informed about recent researches in order to engage in discussion with the researchers. If you are curious to learn more about responsible research and innovation, feel free to attend the event on Saturday May 16 at 1 PM at ESCP Europe Paris Campus (79 Avenue de la République, 75011 Paris).  

Wikistage - Empow’Her: Share Her Voice

Our April 16 WikiStage conference brought it back to where it all began -- the Paris campus of ESCP Europe! #ShareHerVoice Conference was an inspiring and eye-opening experience aiming to bring awareness to creating future gender equality champions. Amongst the speakers we welcomed on stage, there were quite a few amazing women. Tatiana Moura from Promundo, a Brazilian based, non-governmental organization promoting caring, non-violent and equitable masculinities and gender relations, talked about the importance of engaging men in the process of establishing gender equality.  Shannon Galpin, the founder of Mountain2Mountain, a non-profit organization fighting for women’s rights in conflict zones, spoke about her experience in Afghanistan where she worked on many projects aiming to empower women by engaging them in various activities related to education, art and sports. Galpin, who also happens to be the first person to practice mountain biking in the area, is currently supporting Afghanistan's first Women’s National Cycling team. In her powerful speech, Shannon Galpin said she always wondered why people were indifferent towards sexual violence until she realized she was one of these people. "Having a voice means taking a stand”, she said. Chloé Chambraud and Luisa de Simone, two young and ambitious volunteers, talked about their projects in Thailand. They have created a social enterprise for women affected by violence aiming to help boost these women's creativity, regain confidence and simply empower them by having them create things from recyclable materials. Charlotte Werner, junior associate at McKinsey & Company and contributor the company's the Women Matter studies, spoke about how having more women at the top means better results for companies. Later, when asked about the situation in her working establishment, Werner replied she cannot complain, and it is going in the right direction. Yann Borgsted, founder of the Womanity Foundation and the only male representative on stage that night, shared with us the story of his success. He spoke about how he created the first commercial women’s radio in the Middle East, called “Radio NISSA FM”, and how Womanity is all about pushing the boundaries of women empowerment. All in all, the atmosphere that night was empowering. Even the cocktail hour immediately following helped maintain the positive atmosphere as audience members got the chance to meet the speakers and learn even more about these organizations. If you are curious about how to get involved, check out some of the links to these wonderful organizations and stay tuned for the recordings to be posted on the website. #ShareHerVoice!

Traveling off the beaten path

I'll never forget the day I boarded my first, long distance flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Madrid, Spain. Passport clutched in my hand, my heart was pounding with adrenaline. I couldn't contain my excitement. For as long as I can remember, I've had the travel bug. I have always wanted to go and see and do. Sitting still was never an option. And four years after boarding my first long distance flight, I have been living abroad in Paris for three of those years and have visited over fifteen European countries. In his talk, "Why you should, and how you could, travel off the beaten path?" Jeremy Ximenez of WikiStage Stanford breaks down the "Where?" "How?" and "When?" for traveling off the beaten path.   Ximenez has tons of experience visiting countries that most wouldn't dare out of fear and uncertainty. While I myself haven't traveled to the countries he mentions, I have visited ones that aren't in the top five for most European travelers, and these tend to be some of my favorites. But why? In the "Where?" section, Ximenez answers that question by explaining that there are less tourists in these countries. And since there are fewer, people tend to be more hospitable and eager to meet foreigners. When I took a cab ride from the Sarajevo airport to the center of the city, my cabbie tried to give me a quick, historical tour of his city with his broken English while whizzing in and out of traffic. The man was proud of his country, and despite a language barrier, he was eager to tell a young American traveler everything he possibly could. Traveling is already something important to learn more about yourself and other cultures. But sometimes when you travel somewhere filled with tourists, it can be difficult to fully experience what the country has to offer. I've discovered that when you travel somewhere with few tourists, locals are more likely to offer a helping hand and try their hardest to ensure your visit is memorable. My stories are not as extreme as Ximenez, but they just as important to me and serve as a reminder for why I love traveling to places most people wouldn't think twice about. And this is something I keep in mind as I plan my next adventure. If you itching to travel but aren't sure where, just take a few minutes to listen to Ximenez's talk, and maybe you will have the urge to travel off the beaten path.