25th IAJBS World Forum

Posted by Joseph Phillips on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 5:32 PM PDT

I recently attended the 25th Annual World Forum of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) hosted by Xavier University Bhubaneswar in Bhubaneswar, India.  Business schools from 15 different nations were represented at the meeting, which took place July 21 to 24.  Seattle U hosted this same meeting, the 24th, last summer. It is an important event for bringing together Jesuit business school faculty members and administrators from around the world to network and explore best practices and opportunities for collaboration.

The meeting began for me on July 21st with the IAJBS board meeting.  This conference marked the end of my term as President of IAJBS, after serving for two years.  I now move to Past President for – you guessed it – a two-year term!  In the last two years we have been able to move forward in a number of important ways – improved transparency around governance, navigating the transition of executive directors, and developing a new strategic plan are examples.

In the conference, I participated in a panel discussion on, “How to Make Business Schools Thrive,” which is not something I would claim any expertise in!  Who knows why they asked me! :}

Two of our faculty members, Ajay Abraham and Marinilka Kimbro, presented research papers on themes consistent with the conference theme, which was “Innovate and Flourish.”  I am happy they were there to represent Albers!

At the conference we introduced the New Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education initiative, which is being led by Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ, Secretary of Higher Education for the Jesuits.  Inspired by the six priorities that were developed at the International Association of Jesuit Universities inaugural meeting one year ago, he has created a task force with members coming from around the globe, including myself, that will be working on this for the next year or two.  We broke conference participants into groups and asked for their feedback on five questions. The material we gathered will be used to develop the key elements of the new paradigm.  It’s not clear exactly what the new paradigm will look like, but its likely to include more emphasis on issues related to global warming, poverty, and economic inequality, consistent with recent pronouncements coming from the Vatican and the Jesuits themselves.

In addition to attending the conference, I also squeezed in a few touristy activities.  These included visiting the famous temples of Bhubaneswar, a trip to Taj Mahal (I was last there in 1997), and a visit to the lower house of the lndian Parliament, the Lok Sabha.  At the latter, we were treated to a lively debate on wetlands policy, and at one point the leaders of the ruling party walked out – but that did not stop the discussion!

Here is a picture of one of the temples: