UN and Business and Social Sciences launch global competition focusing on the leaders of tomorrow

In cooperation with UN, Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences now launches an ambitious competition that encourages students and lecturers worldwide to make suggestions for how the leaders of tomorrow should be educated.

2012.01.17 | Mette Gebauer Johannsen

The global competition PRME LEADERS+20 encourages students and lecturers worldwide to make suggestions for how the leaders of tomorrow should be educated

"How do we develop a new generation of leaders who can handle great, societal challenges such as an increasing world population, climate changes, scarcity of water, food and energy?"

This is the challenge of the competition PRME LEADERS+20, which is now being introduced to more than 100.000 students and their lecturers at universities and business schools worldwide. The aim of the competition is to encourage them to come up with ideas for how sustainability and accountability can be integrated into the teaching.

PRME LEADERS+20 is developed in close cooperation between Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences (BSS) and UN PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education). The PRME are inspired by internationally accepted values such as the principles of the United Nations Global Compact. They seek to establish a process of continuous improvement among institutions of management education in order to develop a new generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society in the 21st century. More than 400 universities and business schools from all over the world have signed up to the PRME initiative.

Students are important stakeholders in a sustainable future
As the title PRME LEADERS+20 indicates, the competition aims to encourage students and lecturers to look 20 years ahead and consider which skills leaders should have in order take on global challenges such as overpopulation, climate changes, shortage of resources, increasing poverty – at the same time as seeking to create success and growth.

We have much to offer
These new requirements in terms of skills must be incorporated into the degree programmes, and, according to Dean Svend Hylleberg, Business and Social Sciences has much to offer in this context.

- The problem area of the competition suits our academic profile at Business and Social Sciences. The potential interaction between the departments creates unique opportunities of establishing an interdisciplinary focus in our degree programmes and research projects, which can help solve many of the global challenges that we are facing – challenges that cut across sectors, private and public companies and political affiliations. We have a special responsibility to help dealing with these challenges, since we educate future experts and leaders, and, therefore, our cooperation with the UN regarding this competition is perfectly in line with our general role, says Dean Svend Hylleberg.

Speaking time at global UN conference
The winning team will be awarded a trip to Rio in June 2012 and an invitation to present their ideas to rectors and deans, international companies, governments and the UN at the “Rio+20 PRME Global Forum” and the “Rio+20 UN Corporate Sustainability Forum”.

The second prize is funding for scholarships for courses in sustainability at AU Summer University, a visit to Maersk Copenhagen to hear about their sustainability activities and visit to the world renowned Renewable Energy Island of Samsø to learn how to succeed with a political environmental plan.

FACTS

Initiative group
The PRME LEADERS+20 Competition is initiated by a cross disciplinary group of representatives from the UN PRME and Business and Social Sciences: Pernille Kallehave, Director of Development at the Interdisciplinary Center for Organization Architecture, ICOA, Professor Ellen Margrethe Basse (Department of Law), Professor Jan Bentzen (Department of Economics and Business), Professor Gert Tinggaard Svendsen (Department of Political Science and Government) and student Cecilie Bach Johansen from Aarhus Sustainability Network.

Faculty and students participate actively in promoting the competition
The PRME LEADERS+20 Academic Friends is a group of researchers who are engaged in promoting the competition through their academic network. This means that the message about the competition will be spread to more than 100 universities and business schools world wide.

A group of students at Business and Social Sciences and Arts function as Community Hosts and they will encourage students around the world to participate via Twitter and Facebook.

Supporting organisations
A number of Danish and international organisations support the competition:

  • Vestas
  • Maersk
  • Novozymes
  • Vale (Brazil)
  • Chinese Minmetal Corporation (Beijing)
  • Mandag Morgen (Danish news magazine)
  • CEEMAN
  • The Municipality of Aarhus
  • LEAD AFRICA – an African NGO
  • Globally Responsible Leadership initiative

About Rio+20

  • The Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development will take place on 20-22 June 2012 in Rio.
  • The purpose is to identify new challenges across national borders and industries and to ensure renewed political support for sustainable development.
  • Rio+20 will particularly focus attention on green economy, poverty eradication and the need for new institutions.
  • Here the future agenda will be set for sustainable development on a global scale.
  • In connection with the conference, Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum will take place – one week of different workshops and thematic meetings that relate to the agenda at the Rio+20 Conference.

About UN PRME
PRME stands for “Principles for Responsible Management Education”, and it is a UN-supported network of business schools and universities from around the world, who have committed themselves to support the integration of the six principles in their degree programmes, research and general activities.

For further information

Pernille Kallehave, Development Manager
Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture (ICOA)
Tel.: 21 60 56 59
E-mail: peka@asb.dk

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Mette Gebauer Johannsen

Revised 2014.08.29

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