The 7th edition brings several news and changes - it was Silvia Rodriguez, Executive Director of Estoril Conferences, who explained to us how the new chapter of the event focused on the great global challenges is being designed.
What is the main goal of the Estoril Conferences and what are the big news this year?
This year there is a transformation in relation to past editions: we are going to have a more intergenerational dialogue, a more inclusive speech, bringing young people to the Conferences, as participants and active agents, with greater weight than in past editions. Some as Youth Ambassadors, who have been helping to build a program aligned with their perspectives and concerns for the future. Others are linked to start-ups and NGOs, being at the center of the debate, and there are also those who will participate as moderators in some sessions.
With this edition we also have the ambition to bring a more international dialogue, in a perspective of positioning the debate at the level of business schools - and this is also a novelty. The strategic connection that Nova SBE has with the CEMS network also allows for a debate that involves other business schools around the world, in a dialogue that is common to all of us as the ones responsible for training future leaders, and as a way to take the discussion outwards, no longer centered only in Portugal.
And are these changes also reflected in the topics that will be covered?
The truth is that past editions have always brought themes linked to current affairs and world challenges, but under the motto "global challenges, local answers". Now, we want to project the answers and solutions to current problems in a more global way and in a perspective of action and commitment to the future, with initiatives and projects that we want to continue after the conference, in a perspective of leading with impact for a better world. As a business school we are training young people who, sooner or later, will be the workforce and lead companies. That's why we have to focus on a dialogue from a leadership perspective. Instead of having a central theme, given the recent events, such as the pandemic and the war that started this year, it is important to cover all topics under one central theme - The Rebalancing of Our World. We have grouped the major challenges of today under three themes - for the Planet, for People, and for Peace - to encompass the concerns that plague all generations, not only the young people who are in the labor market or leaving universities, but also the current leaders who still have many concerns about what the future seems to anticipate and which will not be in their hands, but in the hands of the next leaders.
Are there any outstanding speakers on these three topics?
In the theme for the Planet we will count on Bertrand Piccard, an explorer and expert on the subject of climate change, who has already identified more than a thousand solutions for the world to act in this area, which, therefore, translates that there is no lack of answers, but a lack of will or interest in moving towards these solutions.
We also highlight the coming of two speakers from indigenous populations, one from Ecuador and the other from Mexico. For example, Helena Gualinga will have to travel by canoe from her own home to reach a city, take a bus, and get to an airport to fly to Lisbon. We will bring in people who come directly from these populations to give us a different perspective on the impact of climate change on the world and on nature, which the vast majority of populations living in big cities don't seem to see in the same way.
On the People side, April Rinne stands out. For example, she wants to give us eight superpowers so that we can survive and continue to lead in times of chaos and great uncertainty. Also Lee Crockford, an Australian, who has been working a lot on themes such as inclusion and mental health. And I also highlight the presence of several deans from other business schools, for a debate on the future of education and the future of business schools.
In the political and peace part, there are very strong names, such as Francis Fukuyama, one of the greatest and most influential thinkers in political science, Anne Applebaum, a historian who anticipated the conflict we are experiencing in Europe today, and, in the closing session, Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, who is appealing to young people to be part of the dialogue, pulling them to participate in government and political areas, which increasingly needs people and managers who are really capable of leading the organisations of the future in a more human way.
This year's edition will be a landmark to define what the Estoril Conferences will become in the future? What is the balance you make of the last editions? Will the Estoril Conferences be very different from what they have been until now?
I want to believe so. I think that with Nova SBE leading a project like this, with all the international projection it has, with all the connections and partnerships, it has a path to draw following this edition that marks the turning point of the Estoril Conferences. A new chapter in the history of the brand - involving young people in an international strategy of action and impact and business schools at the service of the world.
The goal of this edition will not only be to debate the challenges and problems, but to show possible and real ways and solutions that will allow us to act after the conference, in a process of cooperation for action. I believe that this project, inserted in a business school, will allow us to work side by side with partners and companies, as well as students and teachers, to transform solutions and answers to the challenges we face into concrete actions.
With this edition we will also continue to create a community of people involved and committed to transforming the world, not only the speakers from the last six editions, but also all the new speakers that we are bringing to this edition and members of the advisory boards that we have created and with whom we want to continue to exchange synergies. And this community is really willing to help and create bridges for the next steps, because they believe in the project and ambition we have designed for the future of the Estoril Conferences.