One of the lessons to be learned from the recent economic crisis is that leaders at all levels need to come together to share their insights and expertise at deeper and more practical levels. Only in this way can we ensure that the socio-economic infrastructure that underpins our common life is grounded in sound thought and action.
That is the thinking behind the first Oxford & Cambridge Symposium on Enterprise, Ethics and Development (SEED): Business for the Common Good 2014, which was held recently at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.
The symposium brought together leaders in business, ethics and economic development and initiated a deeper exploration of the potential of business that is entrepreneurial, virtuous and transformative to impact societies for the common good. In doing so, it considered the roles of worldview, wisdom and wellbeing.
One of two invited special guests at the symposium’s first gala dinner was CKGSB Founding Dean and Professor of China Business and Globalization, Xiang Bing, who was interviewed by co-host Dr Peter S Heslam, Director of Transforming Business at University of Cambridge, Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at the University of Oxford and a visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Yunnan University, China.
Dean Xiang explained the seeds of humanity are an important part of leadership development and why CKGSB first incorporated humanities into its business education curriculum back in 2005 as a result. “Humanity will provide inner strength for future global business leaders”, he emphasized, adding, “Many of our students are already rich when they come to our school, but I would like them to live, not only an enriched life but also an enlightened one”.
Dean Xiang stressed the importance of the next generation of business and political leaders having a global mindset, cross-cultural communication skills, a more holistic view on how and why to do business, and a more long-term perspective on economic, political and social decisions to mitigate what he termed “the collective myopia of humanity”.
Other participants at the Symposium included Ram Gidoomal, Chairman of Fair Trade pioneers Traidcraft plc and Traidcraft Exchange as well as Welsh-based renewable energy company Dulas, and Professor Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, a Professor and Fellow in the Practice of Management at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, who has also served on the executive board of the World Economic Forum in Davod and worked in both the US State Department and Senate.