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Posted 2.21.06

The three-day forum, Business as an Agent of World Benefit: Management Knowledge Leading Positive Change, will unite the efforts of the UN Global Compact, the Academy of Management, and Case’s Weatherhead School of Management. Over 400 leading business executives and management scholars from around the world will explore ways in which business can be a leading force in eradicating poverty, enhancing the environment, and advancing peace -- while still prospering financially. An additional 3,000 people worldwide are expected to participate through satellite and Internet links.

“The people who gather at Case for this forum will be leaders among those who believe that new business models are starting to emerge that combine citizenship and profitability without sacrificing – but rather enhancing -- returns to shareholders,” said Myron Roomkin, Albert J. Weatherhead, III Professor of Management and Dean of the Weatherhead School of Management.

Business is one of the most powerful forces for change in the 21st century. Forum participants will share in presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions enriched by the results of the latest research on the business case for addressing social issues, sustainable development, and envisioning ways in which business can change society. The forum’s main discussion areas are built around consideration of the state of the world and its economic possibilities, with a focus on the thousands of businesses are taking a leading role in advancing corporate citizenship; direct challenge to the tradeoff illusion by exploring the many ways in which businesses can profitably include social responsibility as a central element of corporate strategy; and exploration of how the immense influence of management education can advance global corporate citizenship through the training provided to millions of future leaders of business and government.

“On behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the more than 2,400 participants of the UN Global Compact, we are very excited to partner with the Academy of Management and Case,” said Georg Kell, executive director of the UN Global Compact. “This worldwide forum may well prove a tipping point in the development of global corporate citizenship, helping to create a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.”

The activities of the forum will be co-coordinated by Weatherhead and its Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and designed for the application of Appreciative Inquiry technique pioneered by The Center’s faculty advisor and founder, Professor David Cooperrider.

“This state-of-the-art forum will challenge ‘the great tradeoff illusion’ – the belief that firms must sacrifice outstanding financial performance if they choose, strategically, to address societal challenges. Business as a force for eradication of extreme poverty, or ecological restoration, or peace and security in the midst of conflict zones – these are all happening,” said Kell. “Innovations, research studies, and stories from around the world are today beginning to converge. Companies do well by doing good, and this conference will help achieve a critical mass by bringing together top universities and researchers with executives and leaders from business, civil society, and the United Nations.”

The UN Global Compact was established in 2000 by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Its members are businesses, universities, civil society, and government agencies throughout the world working to bring the idea of global citizenship into business practice. The Academy of Management, founded in 1936, is the oldest and largest scholarly management association in the world. It has more than 15,000 members from 94 nations. The Weatherhead School of Management is one of the nation’s foremost business schools.

“There is no question that the world needs peace to prosper, and prosperity to have peace; that the quality of ecological and social environments have become inextricably dependent on the visions and strategies of business leaders,” said Nancy J. Adler, management professor at McGill University, fellow with the Academy of Management and forum co-chair. “Management schools worldwide are helping students to success, not just financially, but also as influential citizens.

For more information regarding sponsorship and participation in the Business as an Agent of World Benefit: Management Knowledge Leading Positive Change forum, visit http://www.bawbglobalforum.org or contact Ante Glavas at 216-368-2160 or bawbforum2006@case.edu.

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