To overwhelming interest from the public, the HEAD Foundation warmly welcomed distinguished scholar and global thought leader – Prof Henri-Claude de Bettignies, to give a lecture on globally responsible leadership.
Entrepreneurs, government officials, corporate executives and academic scholars filled the lecture hall for this rare occasion. Prof Bettignies began with a grim and realistic update of the state of the world today, from the global financial crisis some years ago to the irreparable ecological damage that has been done.
In his view, education has a great and important role to play if the world were to be made better. He also gave a review of the responsibility of business schools around the world in this regard. Business schools are important institutions that develop future leaders in both public and private sector, and for many years, many of the courses taught at such institutions have focused on short term gains, with a rather isolated perspective of the corporation’s role within societies.
He then compared economic progress across developed and developing countries, particularly Singapore and China and came to the conclusion that there were invaluable lessons to be learnt across East and West, big and small nations. Due to cultural differences, what has worked best for Western developed nations may not be the universal panacea for other developing countries.
A small country such as Singapore has integrated much of Western ideas and yet has evolved its own roadmap of economic success, largely driven by responsible leadership. China, a growing economic behemoth, which is currently facing a barrage of political and socio-economic issues, will have to adapt and evolve its own socio-economic model, possibly a new one that the world has never seen before.
In conclusion, Prof Bettignies also recommended that business schools, as educators of future leaders, ought to integrate business ethics and the concept of corporations as a community stakeholders into their programs. Alternatively, a new model of business school that is focused on educating and developing globally responsible leadership could be set up.