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Leading Through Change


In 2017, Aarhus Symposium explored the theme “Leading Through Change”.


Globalisation and international cooperation have moved countries closer, enabling firms to grow beyond borders. Global developments continuously reshape the foundation of society, and leaders must ensure that these developments come to benefit the civilization.


As the world becomes increasingly complex, so does decision-making. Leaders walk a fine and twisted line between creating advancement in their organisation and reacting to change in their surroundings.
At Aarhus Symposium 2017, the aim was to create a diverse programme where 13 leaders and key decision-makers gave their take on the theme Leading Through Change. The theme was explored through four tracks: New Markets, New Society, New Consumers, and New Technologies.


The speakers shared their perspectives on change, pointing out uncertainty and ambiguity. However, it is when leading through times of change that great leaders stand out. For leaders to be successful, today and tomorrow, they must understand when to create changes and when to adapt to them.

Speakers at Aarhus Symposium 2017




Chief Operating Officer



Founder & CEO

Kunde & Co.

Helle Valentin

Global Chief Operating Officer of Watson IOT


Bjarne Corydon

Global Director

McKinsey Center for Government

Janina Kugel

Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Managing Board



Chief  Product Officer & Co-founder


Ole Lund Hansen

Chief of Leadership Programmes
United Nations Global Compact

Lars Rohde

Chairman of the Board of Governors

Danmarks Nationalbank

Steen Borgholm



Margrethe Vestager

European Commissioner for Competition




Speakers at Aarhus Symposium Focus 2017

Thomas Schulz

Group CEO

Christian Friis Bach

Former Executive Secretary,
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Dennis Novy

Associate Professor of Economics,
University of Warwick

Edward Ashbee

Associate Professor, Department of Business and Politics,
Copenhagen Business School

How can Denmark prosper as a small open economy in a closing world?


The foundation of global trade is changing. After decades of increasing economic integration, Western societies are experiencing a backlash against globalisation. These developments constitute a grave threat to the Danish economy, which has flourished in a globalised world.

Many of our largest trade partners depend less on us than we do on them, and should they resort to protectionist policies, the consequences are likely to be severe for the Danish economy. How should policymakers address similar sentiments among Danish citizens?


The theme of Aarhus Symposium 2017 was “Globalisation in Reverse, the Danish Response”.


The challenges of being a small open economy in a closing world was addressed, pointing out the requirement of a combined effort from many different stakeholders. At Aarhus Symposium Focus 2017, a panel of competent speakers with diverse academic backgrounds and experiences discussed these challenges and central points of globalisation, and how the Danish economy should response.


Speakers participating in

Aarhus Symposium Challenge 2017

Helle Valentin

Global Chief Operating Officer,

Watson Internet of Things, IBM

Bjarne Corydon

Global Director,

McKinsey Center for Government

Janina Kugel

Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens

Aarhus Symposium Challenge is the students’ chance to secure a seat for Aarhus Symposium and Aarhus Symposium Focus, and to qualify for an exclusive session with the leaders whose challenge they addressed. In 2017, all seats for Aarhus Symposium were secured through Aarhus Symposium Challenge.


The participating speakers in Aarhus Symposium Challenge 2017 were:


Helle Valentin, Global Chief Operating Officer, Watson Internet of Things, IBM on how companies can apply cutting-edge technology to create positive change.


Bjarne Corydon, Global Director, McKinsey, Center for Government – who was speaking on the challenge of facing public institutions and how they are to tackle it?


Janina Kugel, Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens who was talking over the problem of successfully leading the employee of tomorrow.


Leaders’ Forum 2017

On the day of Aarhus Symposium, the twelve students behind the most extraordinary and inspiring essays were invited to Leaders’ Forum. Here, they had the unique chance to meet and engage in dialogue with one of the three speakers participating at Aarhus Symposium Challenge in an intimate one-hour session.


The author behind the winning essay of the Aarhus Symposium Award 2017 was Bastian Emil Jørgensen, who contributed with an innovative essay on digital attacks being the biggest current threat to Denmark.

No longer shall the threats of yesterday dictate our defence capabilities of tomorrow

– Bastian Emil Jørgensen, winner of Aarhus Symposium Challenge 2017

Thank you to all the partners who helped us make Aarhus Symposium 2017 possible

Meet the organisers of Aarhus Symposium 2017


Jacob Ankjær Weinrich Rasmussen linkedin2

Nikolaj Birch Gjøde linkedin2



Lene Larsen linkedin2

(Co-Head of Group)

Kasper Tuborgh linkedin2

(Co-Head of Group)

Nikolaj Husumlinkedin2

Jonathan Steenmetz linkedin2

Simon Egested Rank Larsen  linkedin2


Christian Elmkjær Andersen linkedin2

(Head of Group)

Niels Mertz Poulsen linkedin2

Jørgen Duvald Andersen linkedin2



Camilla Taulbæk linkedin2

(Head of Group) 

Per Winterberg linkedin2

Mai Gøtzsche linkedin2

Lasse Dahlstrøm Jensen linkedin2

Morten Hvidbak Holst linkedin2

Anne Sofie Bjørn-Thygesen linkedin2




Mads Meinertz Carlslund linkedin2

(Head of Group)

Asger Louie Pedersen linkedin2

Kathrine Emilie Amby linkedin2
Asger Louie Pedersen linkedin2



Lucia Talia Schandorff linkedin2

(Head of Group)

Jonas Pilgaard Kaiser linkedin2

Cecilie Andersen linkedin2

Fatemeh Bak linkedin2

Ida Hauritz linkedin2

Frederikke Havgaard Jakobsen linkedin2

Martin Møller Vilhelmsen linkedin2

Sacha Rejnholt Ajzenman linkedin2

Emil Elholm linkedin2


Moma Vujisic linkedin2

(Head of Group)

Edvard Målsnes linkedin2

Jeppe Borg Kristensen linkedin2



Kristian Mørck Lohmann linkedin2

(Head of Group)

Anne Sofie Andersen linkedin2

Mai Merrild linkedin2

Thomas Kring linkedin2

Sophie Bjørn Jensen linkedin2

Helene Frehr Carstensen linkedin2

Rebekka Hansen linkedin2