In today's globalized business environments, business leaders have to manage terrorist and cybersecurity risks that were unimaginable 20 years ago. That’s why “Doing Business in an Unsafe World” was the theme of the inaugural Hariri Symposium held last April by the Business, Society, and Public Policy Initiative at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C.
At the event, a distinguished panel discussed topics ranging from the attacks of September 11, 2001, to the international challenges of cybersecurity to the role that business students and educators can have in navigating modern social and technological risks. Panelists included Tom Daschle, majority leader of the U.S. Senate; Robert Mosbacher Jr., chairman of Mosbacher Energy Company; Ann Veneman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former executive director of UNICEF; and James P. Moore Jr., director of the Business, Society, and Public Policy Initiative.
Daschle noted that security for every venue, from airplanes to public buildings, has radically changed. He said, “I think we could call it hyphenated security. It’s nuclear- , it’s cyber-, it’s bio-. But it’s security in different ways that affect us in a very personal way.”
Veneman emphasized the human impact that conflict can have, especially on children and young adults. Atrocities of war have long-term consequences, which are even longer-term for those without an education. “The uneducated refugee then becomes the unemployable youth,” she said. “This then perpetuates the cycle of poverty, which often breeds more conflict.”
Despite the challenges facing the world, the panelists agreed that business schools are vital to transformation. “We have to focus on how we can promote economic opportunity in countries all around the world for the poorest populations,” Veneman said. “There is a growing recognition that if we don’t bring more business principles and economic opportunity to poverty alleviation, we’re never going to succeed.”