BUSINESS: Cape Town Hosts Major International Conference
Recent Western Cape Business News
Business school leaders from across the world and stakeholders from government, foundations, civil society and the private sector are converging on Cape Town June 8 and 9 for the Global Business School Network’s (GBSN) fourth annual conference.
The GBSN conference affords these key players a powerful opportunity to exchange ideas, share global expertise, and develop partnerships. The 2009 conference includes discussions on the response of business schools to the global crisis and on the role of management education in fostering responsible leadership.
GBSN is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to creating the next generation of leaders in low-income countries by raising the quality and accessibility of business management education.
The 4th annual GBSN conference, the first to be held in Southern Africa, highlights the benefits of management education in developing countries and the critical role business schools can play in national development.
GBSN CEO Guy Pfeffermann explains, “Following last year’s successful Nairobi conference, we had an overwhelming response to holding the conference in Africa again. The backdrop of the continent’s leading business hub and the upcoming World Economic Forum on Africa made Cape Town an attractive venue for the 2009 conference”.
The conference – ‘Partnerships in Practice: Local Managers for a Globalised World’ – is taking place at UCT’s Graduate School of Business June 8 and 9, and features representatives from about 40 business schools from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as local government, civil society and private business stakeholders.
Pfeffermann expects the conference to grow and strengthen GBSN’s international network of leading business schools, while focusing attention on the benefit of quality local management education for development.
“Our annual conference strengthens linkages between business educators and stakeholders such as government and the private sector.
“It also presents a timely opportunity to discuss the role of responsible management and leadership education in the face of current setbacks. Now is the time to re-evaluate what kind of managers and leaders we should be cultivating to build a more responsible future,” he said.
The conference encourages the world’s top business schools to take action. Return participant, Valérie Gauthier, Associate Dean of HEC MBA says, “Leading business schools like HEC Paris must contribute to helping the development of management education in emerging countries. In this global economy, emerging markets can’t be left behind.”
Highlights of the conference include discussions on Entrepreneurship, Agribusiness and Health Management – three critical areas for developing countries. Pfeffermann described these as key areas in which management schools can play a strong positive role.
“Broader access to relevant management education is crucial to development and particularly so in Africa.”
A key aim of the conference is to bring together global best practice and local insights to arrive at actions that are relevant to development.
“We want this meeting to have concrete, lasting outcomes which will inspire action through partnerships – between business schools, development organisations, and the private sector,” he said.
Will Mitchell of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business observes that, “faculty and staff from Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia gain a deep appreciation of each other's skills and challenges by participating in GBSN’s conferences. They provide a platform on which to build outstanding working relationships that bridge countries and institutions.”
Another tenet of the conference is that global best practice must be adapted to the local context. “This is key for managers to be truly effective,” said Pfeffermann, “Best practice must always be informed by local situations, history and needs.”
The conference presents the local business school community with a unique opportunity to showcase its successful models and to share and learn best practice with colleagues from around the globe.
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