Past World Leadership Conferences

World Leadership Conferences, conducted annually by the International Women’s Forum, draw women from more than 50 countries who are the world’s leading architects, advocates, catalysts, and pioneers of change – the women who are re-drawing the map for how we’ll live, work, produce, and maintain healthy communities in the coming years. As our global economies restructure and reshape business, politics, environments, access, and opportunity, IWF’s cutting–edge conferences harness those must-have conversations to educate, inform and inspire our women leaders and our partners to be out ahead of the change that is needed.



2023 – Detroit World Leadership Conference

Our Detroit conference—held in the birthplace of Motown and the only American city to be designated a UNESCO City of Design—was the perfect venue to explore solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing global leaders today. More than 700 leaders from 22 countries gathered to reflect on how creativity and culture shape our economy and our world, tackling such topics as artificial intelligence and what it means for the future of humanity; the transformation of transportation and its implications for the climate; and how our environment shapes our brains and bodies even before birth. We welcomed Hall of Fame Honorees Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and public health advocate whose research exposed the Flint water crisis.


2022 – Las Vegas World Leadership Conference

This long-awaited return to IWF’s in-person World Leadership Conference and Gala was an excellent opportunity to discuss setting priorities and finding solutions to some of the most critical challenges of our time as attendees experienced the magic of IWF. The City’s leadership in renewable energy and water conservation, the research underway on the importance of behavioral and cognitive health, and the examples of success in innovation in a transitional time, provided an excellent context for cutting-edge conversations about these and other issues facing global leaders today.



2021 – Virtual World Leadership Conference

From co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Priscilla Chan to the author and visionary Margaret Atwood, our conference featured a fantastic lineup of speakers who addressed the many global forces for change that were accelerated or magnified by the pandemic. And, of course, we had our incredible Hall of Fame inductees, Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia. For your viewing pleasure, we’ve compiled a video of conference highlights. Enjoy!




2020 – Virtual World Leadership Conference

The 2020 Virtual World Leadership Conference and Gala, Leading in a Disrupted World, leveraged a cutting-edge virtual platform to make the conference more accessible to more members. Attendees heard from incredible speakers and honorees, participated in robust breakout sessions, and enjoyed world-class entertainment.

If you registered for the live event, all sessions, including the Gala, are now available in the On Demand library. Simply log in using the same email address and password you used to access the conference and enjoy. 

If you attend the live event and want to see the conference and gala highlights, you can view the content available in the Previous Programming area of the Thought Leadership library.



2019 – Toronto, Canada World Leadership Conference

The 2019 IWF World Leadership Conference – Open Minds, welcomed a record 1,100 attendees from more than 30 countries to Toronto, Canada, for an unforgettable week of learning, connection and fun. Members witnessed entertainment from some of Canada’s best, ranging from Indigenous performances to star jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky.

Canada’s identity as a trendsetter was exemplified through our programming. We examined the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence, explored the new frontier in cannabis, and laughed our way through a panel on women in comedy. IWF members Carmen Best, Shari Graydon, and Patricia Foley Hinnen wowed us with their Ideas Remaking the World presentations. The Town Hall session featured a poignant discussion about the global refugee crisis.

Nobel Laureates and Drs. Frances Arnold and Donna Strickland were inducted into the IWF International Hall of Fame. Seven other IWF women leaders and game-changers were honored with our “Women Who Make a Difference” awards.


Explore the IWF Flickr photo album below.


2018 – Miami, Florida World Leadership Conference

With more than 900 members and guests from more than 25 nations – the Conference in Miami was a great success.

Miami is at the vanguard of change. The city sets trends in art, culture, media, and entertainment. It is a financial center, a critical path for trade, and a thriving center for technology. It is the American gateway to Latin America both economically and culturally and is a truly global city, with a rich diversity defined by its bold creativity.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why Miami was the perfect place to examine global issues including the future of political warfare, blockchain technology, trade-in flux, sea-level rise, and women who persist to make change happen. We were excited to continue our special Ideas Remaking the World series in which three IWF members were featured on stage sharing their ideas that are disrupting, improving, and reimagining our future, and our IWF in Action Town Hall, which will explore the Opioid Crisis.

Explore the IWF Flickr photo album below.