H.E. General Michel Suleiman, President of Lebanon, made a strong call to scale up sustainability efforts in companies and management education institutions in the country and throughout the Middle East. His remarks were presented at the 2nd PRME MENA Regional Forum.
In a meeting with participants of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Forum, President Suleiman stressed that increased awareness of corporate sustainability practices among companies and higher education institutions is critical to address major challenges faced today in many countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Hosted by Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), the 2nd PRME MENA Regional Meeting attracted more than 1,000 participants including business and management school faculty members, business and government leaders, and business students. The primary goal is to promote responsible business and the importance of adopting PRME throughout business schools and management-related academic institutions in the MENA region, following recommendations from last year’s Regional Forum at the American University in Cairo.
Titled “Doing Business Responsibly – When Corporations become Citizens”, the two-day forum featured several panel discussions focused on the role of corporate responsibility in the MENA region and the implications for management education. The event was co-organized by the USEK Faculty of Business and Commercial Sciences, the American University in Cairo School of Business and the PRME Secretariat of the UN Global Compact Office.
While speakers from the business community acknowledged that companies in the Middle East still predominantly focus their corporate responsibility practices on philanthropy and community outreach programs, they pointed to an increasing number of companies which embed sustainability values into core business operations.
As the MENA region is currently experiencing conflict, the responsibility for peace lies primarily with governments, but business also has a critical role to play. A company’s decisions – for example on investment and employment, relations with local communities, protections for local environments and security arrangements – can help a country overcome conflict and can also help rebuild trust, stability and livelihoods in countries that have experienced violence and instability.
Forum participants also discussed and planned activities for the new PRME MENA Regional Chapter, including a faculty development program to be offered during the next PRME Regional Meeting. On behalf of American University School of Business, Dean SherifKamel announced that his school had offered to host the Chapter secretariat.
“This meeting showed the resolve of business schools and faculties across the Middle East and North Africa to implement curriculum change based on the Principles for Responsible Management Education,” said Jonas Haertle, Head of the PRME Secretariat of the UN Global Compact Office.
“USEK’s mission statement reflects the values of responsibility and we are strongly committed to implement the PRME Principles in our institution as well as encourage other academic institutions to join into this partnership” said Dean Nehme Azoury of USEK Faculty of Business and Commercial Sciences.
Source: Responsible Business Magazine