Gabelli School International Awareness Award 2018

Thank You Speech made for celebrating Inaugural Undergraduate Lincoln Center Class focused on Global Business program. I am with Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the Gabelli School of Business while I am receiving the Gabelli School International Awareness Award 2018

Opening remarks

Mario, Donna, distinguished faculty and students, ladies and gentlemen … good afternoon.

I am truly honored to receive this unexpected award from the Gabelli School of Business. Thank you.

Since the day my son Francesco became a freshman here at GSB 7 years ago, I immediately felt engaged in this community.

I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am to contribute to this influential institution’s success.

Today, I would like to offer a few insights about the global business environment … but before I begin, I must congratulate Dean Rapaccioli and her colleagues at the Gabelli School – the invaluable group of deans, the amazing faculty and the wonderful staff.

Your commitment and dedication is not only fulfilling the school’s mission, it is growing the school’s ranking at both the national and the international level.

The school’s core values are its strengths: knowledge, ethics and positive global change.

Those key words have made the Gabelli School of Business a leader in socially-conscious business education … which is vital to bringing responsible and informed business decision makers and leaders to the world.

The main driver of this mission is a distinguished member of the financial industry: an exemplary patron, whose vision of supporting the finest education has, in a short time, impacted the lives of so many young people.

Thank you Mario … we are proud to be here with you!

A few words on global business

Like Mario, I strongly believe business must be a force for good in the world.

I was born in Europe and educated in the traditional values: the mos maiorum of ancient Rome … the definition of happiness of Aristotle … freedom as presented in the Age of Enlightenment … I was nurtured within a Catholic environment and then inspired by the Atlantic Charter.

Those are the same principles that guided the Founding Fathers to create the first country in history to declare that people have individual rights: the United States of America.

But traditions are being challenged during these tough days for globalization, with Europe and the United States standing at different positions.

Isolationism versus multilateralism is historically a hot topic of debate in foreign relations. Today, however, they are even more pertinent, as a number of conflicts that are raging around the globe…

But I am not here today to talk about political fractures and divisions. I am here to talk about globalization and its many benefits.

Thinking at the Bible’s wisdom, I wonder: was the Holy Spirit the first one in history of human beings to be directly involved in globalization?

The Holy Spirit was sent by our Lord to give to the apostles the ability to speak all the languages of the world. It descended for the second time in the form of fire tongues, in order to propagate grace of knowledge, which is the foundation of education.

The global spread of Christianity offers many examples.

If Father McShane were here, he would recall his brother Matteo Ricci of the Society of Jesus who, in the XVI century, began his work of evangelization in China.

His work required deep, accurate knowledge of Chinese culture. He began to learn how to read and write in Chinese, studying customs, social and political classes. This self-taught knowledge was a precious tool to globalizing the Christian message.

He used a respectful, peaceful and free cultural exchange to open the trail to a new, truly Catholic Christianity.

These are the same competencies necessary for managing a global business in today’s globalized, interconnected world.

Conclusion

There is no doubt: globalization is a constant presence in our life.

We ​​can see it in different ways:

  • as a union of diversities that evolves continuously
  • as part of our human nature to meet with others
  • as a need or a desire to search for complementarity

However you see it, what must not change is how we approach this diversity.

In this interdependence of cultures, ethics must be the common base on which to build mutual knowledge and cooperation.

Dialogue is the most important tool we have for doing this. This is the only way we can build a prosperous global community.

Ethics and business are not in competition each other – they are complementary.

With this mind, our graduates can be inspired to go out in the world and find success. Moreover, they will be effective ambassadors of our school of business and its distinguishing values.

My dear GSB students and alumni, my request to you is that you embody these values throughout your careers and lives.

Our values and our Jesuit heritage are our most valuable resource.

Please remember to be compassionate business leaders … this will help you to discover and create new ideas and make them accessible to the next generation.

Business has a vital responsibility to make a better society. It can contribute to this in greater ways than profit.

To the Ignatian-inspired motto, “Be Better, Do More, Help Others” please allow me to add: “Go Global!”

Thank you very much.

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