The IAJBS World Forum and the Advances of the Inspirational Paradigm

In early July the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) World Forum took place at Loyola University in Sevilla. In a very charming and welcoming environment, more than 100 participants from more than 50 different Jesuit Business Schools from the six continents gathered to discuss the future of Jesuit business education. Inspired by our mission of "Educating men and women for others, responsible for themselves and the world around them, and committed to the task of transforming towards a more fraternal and just society," (Pedro Arrupe SJ) we engaged in stimulating and insightful conversations about the responsibility of our business schools in addressing the grand challenges of our society: climate emergency, increased economic inequality, rapid technological change, include Artificial Intelligence, deteriorating mental health challenges accelerated by the pandemic etc.

The Inspirational Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education was the common thread of a pre-conference workshop on Sunday, July 9th and several conference sessions on Tuesday, July 11th. During these sessions more than 100 faculty and staff reviewed the journey made and brainstormed on how we could move forward. The Inspirational Paradigm proposes four key elements in the educational experience:

  1. The development of new curricula developed in light of the insights of Catholic social teaching, encompassing ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
  2. The use of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm that recognizes the importance of immersive community engaged learning experiences, including direct contact with the poor and excluded.
  3. A vision of a new kind of leadership that view uncertainty and ambiguity as opportunities, rely on creativity and storytelling as important skills for bringing about positive change, and see leadership as an opportunity to serve others and the common good.
  4. The inclusion of key stakeholders to develop and deliver new alternative business models.

The forum concluded with insightful proposals to continue advancing and ensuring that our business schools become genuine agents of social transformation. The forum will contribute to the dissemination and institutionalisation of the Inspirational Paradigm across the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) and IAJBS networks. Since the launch of the Inspirational Paradigm taskforce in March 2019 more than 100 faculty from 36 different Jesuit business schools have participated in three rounds of Requests for Proposals aimed at funding course redesigns and co-curricular activities that will advance the principles of the Inspirational Paradigm.

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