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IV Annual ESADE Alumni Conference in Madrid

20/05/2010 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Madrid

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IV Annual ESADE Alumni Conference in Madrid


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A clearly international emphasis in the 4th ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid. An outstanding guest speaker, Javier Solana, shared his outlook on the world geopolitical scene and globalisation with a packed audience. All this took place in a meeting where the attending alumni could strengthen ties and turn the event into a day of productive networking.  

The 4th ESADE Alumni Annual Conference was held in the premises of Mutua Madrileña in the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid: a gathering with an excellent response in attendance numbers and whose participants stood out for the quality of their speeches. In this session, over 500 alumni had the privilege to listen to Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO and former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (EU). On the basis of his extensive career, and as President of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, Solana gave a speech entitled "A Global Outlook on New Challenges". This was the highlight of a day in which several ESADE representatives also took part with speeches underlining the values and role of the institution in the current situation, as well as elucidating its future challenges.

Xavier Sanchez, Director of ESADE Alumni, gave the welcoming speech. First, he thanked Telefónica, Everis and La Caixa for their sponsorship. Then, before giving the floor to the speakers, he invited the audience to make the most of the ESADE Alumni network and feel part of a privileged group "with the knowledge and resources to tackle different situations and scenarios". He reinforced this call with words that the prestigious psychiatrist, Luis Rojas Marcos, had pronounced in the 2009 Conference: "Belonging to an association makes us stronger and enables us to overcome adverse situations better".

A useful association

Germán Castejón, President of ESADE Alumni, followed suit, reminding us that the association was 20 years old, "a period in which it has become one of the most active in the business school world": as a sample, over 200 promotion meetings, over 400 events of a training or similar nature planned for 2010, and acts destined for alumni. "But let’s not forget that we also want to be useful at ESADE, providing support for its strategic initiatives and in society, through channels such as Alumni Giving Back". Regarding the future, he mentioned a 5-year strategic plan, "where Madrid is a priority".

Once he had stressed that ESADE is "in its best moment", Castejón made special reference to Mueve el talento: campaña por las becas (Moving skills: a campaign for scholarships): a scheme aimed at achieving that the most talented can study at the school, regardless of their financial situation, and at attracting the best Faculty professors. Contributions from alumni play a key role here, as the base with which to provide resources for the project.  

The beginning of a new phase

Next to take the stage was Carlos Losada, in his last speech –as he himself pointed out– as Director General of ESADE. He started his speech by reflecting on the educational proposal of the institution, where its real essence lies. One of his conclusions was that ESADE is interested in people who have the ability to be effective and efficient. "And who bring human and social values to their professional work, irrespective of their interest in calculating gains and losses".

He dedicated some time in his speech to the 10 years he has been in charge of the school, a time in which he has witnessed a "beautiful change" at ESADE, with numbers that speak of thousands of events attended by 150,000 people, or the publication of over 700 scientific articles. "And I have witnessed the spectacular transformation of the Alumni Association". Losada also spoke of the challenges to be tackled in a future "where talent will be the key for the institution": challenges to be tackled by his successor, Eugenia Bieto, to whom he symbolically passed the baton.

Challenges in relation to Madrid

Pedro Navarro, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Fundació ESADE and Vice Chairman of ESADE Alumni then took the floor. "We want this association to have the same kind of service and level of quality in Madrid as it does in Barcelona", he stressed at the beginning: "Something which involves maintaining a continuity programme, developing the Career Services, or continuing to organise cultural, sports and different kinds of events".

Another of the challenges faced by the capital city entails positioning ESADE as a debate forum of renown in business, economic and social questions. Navarro emphasised that appropriate steps are already being taken in this direction, through communication channels, such as clubs of professionals and sectors, the ESADE breakfast programme, or the joint course with Deloitte, which is in its third year; actions carried out by a large number of people, whom Navarro thanked for their work and effort. 

A world view

It was then time for the main act; a dialogue which, under the name "A Global Outlook on New Challenges", analysed worldwide geopolitical changes and the effects of globalisation in different areas of the world; questions raised by Marcel Planellas, Secretary General of ESADE and member of the ESADE Alumni Board of Management, for a very special guest, Javier Solana.

By way of an introduction, a video was shown entitled "The financial situation: the viewpoint of our international alumni", in which several ESADE Alumni analysed the world economic scene from each of their countries’ viewpoint; a project which, according to Planellas, shows how the world view today is polycentric, with several stakeholders, a far cry from a world where the power is in the hands of one or two super powers. In this respect, he asked the speaker if the trend in the twenty-first century is going towards multi-polarity, with several centres in the world.

Solana linked his answer to the current situation by explaining that very profound trends exist globally, some of which are being held back by the crisis, while others have been accelerated. "In the second case, the most important thing to highlight is the extraordinary power transfer among states from the Western world to the Pacific. I would say that the centre of world gravity will be moved". As a result new power poles are emerging, "some of them really new, while others can be said to be re-emerging". In view of this situation, Solana believes the main challenge is how to construct a framework so that global problems can be solved in a global way. One of the paths to take will be that of "responsible inter-dependence" among the different stakeholders.

It is in the economic sphere where the rules of the game are possibly best reflected with the emergence of China or Brazil, amongst others. Planellas considered to what extent these countries will exert an influence on this framework, by demanding greater prominence in international organisations. Solana spoke of changes in institutions, with a G7 which, from his point of view, cannot be the decision-making centre. "The G20, for its part, may be a positive embryo for a global governance scheme, but only in the economic sphere. In any case, we must wait and see". In relation to political and security matters, he believes they are more complex and require groups of "a more changeable geometry".

Going back to Brazil and China, these are, together with India and Russia, BRIC countries, an acronym encompassing different realities under the same roof, which Planellas suggested he describe. Solana reviewed this group of countries which will undoubtedly make up a crucial pole. To do so, he spoke of their good qualities –such as the economic potential of Brazil–, but also of the challenges they face, such as the modernisation process in Russia, or the co-existence between different social structures in India. Regarding China, he believes they must be told that climate change is not an excuse for holding back their development, but that it is a serious problem.

"And what role does Europe play in this context?" asked Planellas. For Solana, the continent undoubtedly has a role to play. "There is a demand for Europe, and let’s not forget that a very important part of the world likes the way we do things. We are multilateralists, we try not to impose anything on anyone, and consensus is our top priority". And from Europe, we get to Spain. Solana thinks the country is not going well and there is a lot to be done, solutions to be found through dialogue and agreements. "We should look to the future with humbleness". On a more personal note, he explained that on his return to Spain, one of his goals was to share with people all he had learnt in his extensive career. "And the best way is through education and teaching".

Before the networking cocktail party began, Xavier Sanchez closed the act with a declaration of intentions taken from the Director General: "We do not want to be the best school in the world. We want to be the best school for the world".



On 20th May, the IV Annual ESADE Alumni Conference in Madrid will be held in Madrid. Our special guest this year will be Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO (1995-1999), former High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (1999-2009), and current President of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics. 

At the Annual Conference, Mr. Solana will share his vision of the geopolitical changes and the globalization effects that are taking place worldwide in a lecture titled "A Global Outlook on New Challenges".

19.00 h.    
Opening doors and accreditation

19.30 h.
Event start 
Welcome by Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97), Director of ESADE Alumni

Germán Castejón (Lic&MBA 81), President of ESADE Alumni
Carlos Losada (Lic&MBA 79), Director General of ESADE
Pedro Navarro (MBA 67), Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the ESADE Foundation and Vice President of ESADE Alumni

19.50 h.  
Vídeo: "Economic situation: An outlook from our international alumni"

20.00 h. 
Discussion: "A Global Outlook on New Challenges"

Marcel Planellas (PMD 87), Secretary General of ESADE and Member of the Executive Board at ESADE Alumni 
Javier Solana, President of ESADE’s Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics

21.00 h.  Closing address and networking cocktail

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