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Dean Thomas, Ricardo Ernst Discuss Global Challenges at International Conference

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David Thomas, dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, and Ricardo Ernst, professor of operations and director of the school’s Global Business Initiative, recently traveled to Cascais, Portugal, to present at the 2013 Estoril Conference.

With the theme of “Global Challenges, Local Answers,” the biennial international conference addresses the challenges of globalization, with specific attention to the relationship between local and global solutions. The conference was held April 30 to May 3, and other speakers included the current for former prime ministers or presidents from Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and South Africa; Nobel Prize winners; journalists; and academic, nonprofit, and business leaders.

In his welcoming remarks, Thomas, who also is a member of the Estoril Advisory Board, discussed how higher education can partner with other organizations to make a difference.

“While educational institutions are committed to addressing global issues through knowledge creation and dissemination, and through teaching new generations of business students to become tomorrow’s global leaders, we cannot do it alone. We must work together – with governments, NGOs, corporations, and other groups – to make sustainable, positive change,” he said. “The opportunity that this week’s conference provides us is more than to simply talk about these issues. I hope we seize the opportunity to forge relationships among us that model what is needed on a global scale to ensure that as leaders, we meet these global challenges.”

Thomas also participated in a special session about Globalization and the Future of Higher Education. The panel included Maria de Gloria Garcia, rector, Catholic University of Portugal; Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, rector, Aarhus University; Antonio Rendas, president, Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities; Steef van de Velde, dean, Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Management; Julia von Maltzan Pacheco, associate dean, Getulio Vargas Foundation; Reuven Amitai, dean, faculty of humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It was moderated by Nuno de Sousa Pereira, dean, Porto Business School.

Ernst chaired a panel about Growth, Innovation, and Sustainability. Panelists included Rick Grobbee, University Medical Center, Utrecht; Esperanza Aguirre, former president of Madrid and of the Spanish Senate; Toby Heaps, founder and director, Corporate Knights; George Yip, Centre on China Innovation, CEIBS; and Meagan Fallone, Barefoot College.