The results of a United Nations-endorsed conference on women’s leadership in sports held in Atlanta last week include Kennesaw State University’s outreach to businesses and organizations to affect social change in countries worldwide, according to the university’s president, Betty Siegel.

“Business, with its strong support of diversity and best practices, is really a force for social change, and this conference was about social change through women’s leadership,” Dr. Siegel told GlobalAtlanta in an interview following the conference that took place Oct. 20-22 at the Cobb Galleria. “The beliefs and values learned from sports accompany women into the business, government and diplomatic world.”

The conference, “Effecting Social Change through Women’s Leadership in Sports,” focused on women’s sports as a vehicle for promoting human rights, international cooperation and economic development as part of the U.N.’s International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005 program.

Kennesaw State, which organized the conference, is the only American university to be part of the International Labor Organization’s Universitas program, a network of higher education institutions worldwide that are participating in programs aimed at achieving the U.N.’s Millenium Development Goals.

Although Dr. Siegel is stepping down from her position as president of Kennesaw State in January, she said she will still be working with Kennesaw State and around the world to further women’s leadership in sports and other fields.

Dr. Siegel will be taking an endowed chair position at KSU focused on ethical leadership. Through this role, she will help to plan a conference next fall at Oxford University in England that will involve business leaders, presidents of universities and nonprofit organizations addressing ways their institutions can affect social change.

Dr. Siegel already participated in a similar conference this year, the Oxford Conclave on Global Ethical Leadership, with six U.S. universities to discuss how universities can develop leaders of character.

Kennesaw State will also open in January the Center for International Women’s Leadership in Sport, which is to focus on encouraging women to take leadership positions in sports and physical education as a means of transforming developing communities domestically and internationally.

Speakers at the Oct. 20 opening ceremony of the Atlanta conference included U.N. Under Secretary for Development and Peace Adolf Ogi, U.N. special adviser to the ILO Giovanni diCola and several Olympians and International Olympics Committee staffers, in addition to Dr. Siegel.

“When you get so many countries represented in one meeting, the change that results will not be just in faculty exchanges or academic programs, but will impact social change in those participating countries, so that is the exciting part,” Dr. Siegel said.

“We’re going to spread the message,” she said of her plans to follow-up on the conference that drew more than 600 participants from 37 countries to discuss ways for women’s sports programs to alleviate poverty, despair and violence in developing countries.

Dr. Siegel said the university plans to distribute a monograph on physical education, sports and character resulting from the recent conference that could be used as a text in educational institutions or as a resource for anyone interested in international sports and social change.

She added that the conference has already resulted in new partnerships between Kennesaw State and universities in Germany, Italy, Korea and Switzerland to collaborate on academic programs, conferences, writing and research, as well as community service related to women’s leadership and sports.

For more information about Kennesaw State’s University’s program, contact its director, Michael Spino, at (678) 797-2032 or Visit to learn more about the conference.