BC participates in the Women’s Conference via live web cast

Maryann Kopp

Bakersfield College was one of seven junior colleges in California picked to air the 2008 Women’s Conference via live web stream in the Fireside Room Oct. 22.
Held in Long Beach, the convention spanned many hours and had prominent figures such as Maria Shriver, Condoleezza Rice, Christiane Amanpour and Jennifer Lopez as speakers and panel members.
Jack Hernandez, director for the Levan Center for the Humanities, was present to help moderate a local panel, which consisted of foreign language professor Maritza Carlisle and Shohreh Rahman, BC’s counselor for international students. The two spoke between panel discussions of the conference that was aired. They discussed the panel discussion titled, “It’s Your Voice – How You Can Use It To Change The World” and included their personal experiences.
While Carlisle said it took her 10 years just to get her brothers to help her out with chores, Rahman said that she came from Iran, which is a place where there “is a lot of misinformation” regarding the treatment of women.
“Women are highly educated,” Rahman said. “Both my father and mother were teachers. We do value women and education.”
BC had only two weeks to prepare for the event, Hernandez said. “The panels are very good, and it’s exciting to be a part of this, especially since it’s the first year the conference is being web casted. It can be a very stimulating event for faculty, students and staff.”
BC president Greg Chamberlain was in attendance and said that he looked forward to future years where more campuses will be able to participate and hopes that BC will “have more time to plan and promote” the event, which sold out in four hours.
Maria Shriver had contacted the chancellor for the state community colleges, Diane Woodruff, to choose seven different colleges in the system to stream the event in order to make it more accessible, Chamberlain said.
Tracy Lovelace, an educational media design specialist at BC, thought that the CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour, had a “very incredible, uplifting” talk about her experience in journalism. Amanpour hosted the discussion panel mentioned above.
Ann Wiederrecht, BC professor of history, said that she had encouraged her students to attend once she found out the event was taking place.
“I think it’s important to focus on the voices of women,” Wiederrecht said. “It’s important to offer students the chance to hear the voices of international women.”
While not too many students were present in the Fireside Room during the afternoon discussions, if BC is chosen to show the convention again next year, many involved are confident that, if provided with more notice, it can become a positive, stimulating event for all who attend.