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50+20 - Management Education for the World PDF Print E-mail

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Call for radical transformation of Management Education launched at RIO+20

The 50+20 Project aims to create a breakthrough in the transformation of management education to meet societal and environmental needs of the world in the 21st Century.  The GRLI has worked on the business school of the 21st century since its inception in 2004. In January 2011 we joined forces with the World Business School Council for Sustainable Business and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education Secretariat to form the 50+20 Project. This collaborative partnership combining the efforts of the three organisations and is focussed initially on producing a catalytic breakthrough report for the Rio Earth Summit (Rio+20) being held in June 2012.
Aim and purpose of 50+20

Management education of the future provides education and research that is relevant & applied, holistic & integrative, responsible & sustainable, inter-disciplinary & multi-level, and, of course, learning-oriented.
The 50+20 project seeks to achieve this through:
  • The 50+20 report, which will serve two purposes:
    • A summary agenda that highlights the vision, the challenges and the emerging solutions that will be presented at the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.
    • A comprehensive book for the inspired managers, business students and general public outlining the future business school in pragmatic and captivating language (publishing the report after June 2012)
  • Emerging projects at participating business schools around the globe, showcasing emerging practices and pioneering solutions of a responsible & relevant business education.
  • Creation of five new business school initiatives in different geographic areas (Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, North America) as leading pioneers to showcase enlightened new models of b-schools.T
Presenting our vision at the U.N. Earth Summit RIO+20 in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 represents a first small step of the business school community to participate in and contribute to the public dialogue on the challenges the world (the earth, society, citizens and business) faces in the coming decades. The agenda will include both a new paradigm – a vision yet to be realized – as well as relevant examples of existing examples and emerging best practices of how business schools are taking action today already towards the new paradigme.
The 50+20 Steering Committee

Mark Drewell, Chief Executive, GRLI
Thomas Dyllick, Delegate for Responsibility & Sustainability, University of St Gallen, Co-founder WBSCSB
Derick de Jongh, Director, Albert Luthuli Center for Responsible Leadership at University of Pretoria
Katrin Muff, Dean Business School Lausanne, Co-founder WBSCSB
John North, Albert Luthuli Center for Responsible Leadership at University of Pretoria
Paul Shrivastava, Director, D. O’Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise, Co-founder WBSCSB
Jonas Haertle, Head PRME Secretariat, UN Global Compact Office

The world is demanding a mindful, sustainable approach to the planet’s finite resources. Societies are stressed to the point of fracture by shifting demographics, poverty and the rapidity of change itself.
Global-thinking citizens are seeking purpose rather than consumption. Business is being challenged to expand its purpose beyond mere profit‐making to value‐added contributions to society and the world.
Business leaders are being called upon to reconcile this panoply of competing urgencies and to lead responsibly in a time of runaway uncertainty and complexity. But how?

More daunting still are the challenges brought to bear by this new scenario on today’s business schools.
These towers of expertise and tradition are being compelled to re‐think the very nature of management education. They are faced with an imperative to set aside what for decades they have done with near exquisite efficiency in favour of something altogether tentative, unmapped and risk‐laden.
The new reality is calling for wholly innovative, safe and powerful new learning environments capable of inspiring and equipping a new generation of leaders with the skills and competences they will need to bravely and responsibly “step and stumble” their way forward as they address the challenges of an unknown future. Currently, B‐Schools are a long way from being able to do this. But time has run out.
The future is here.

To this day business and management education efforts at large function in line with an agenda that was set during the 1950s when the world was a very different place from the one we know today.
It has therefore been 50+ years since the agenda for management education has been reset.
The upcoming RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012) will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth summit.It has therefore been 20 years since Governments have been collectively urged to rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources.It is at this juncture in history where the 50+20 project takes action to reset the management education agenda.
For additional information about RIo 50 + 20 visit