31st CEEMAN Annual Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Was a True Success
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31st CEEMAN Annual Conference entitled “Leadership for a Sustainable World” was brilliantly hosted by the Almaty Management University (AlmaU) on 20-22 September. AlmaU is an entrepreneurial, socially responsible, world-class institution that previously welcomed CEEMAN in 2015, and we were delighted to be back for the second time.

This prestigious event brought together approximately 120 participants from 25 countries, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, and India. Among the attendees were academics, deans, presidents, and business leaders. The conference received accolades for its outstanding content, quality of speakers, and the depth of the topics discussed. Participants cherished the opportunity to reconnect in person, sense the commitment and passion of the CEEMAN network, and experience the unique atmosphere of Almaty and the warm hospitality of the Kazakh people. Many participants hailed it as the best program to date. Prof. Danica Purg, President of CEEMAN, also shared similar impressions about the conference:

"I believe this was the best CEEMAN conference so far. Why was it so good? The content was very current, and we were learning from the best practices. It wasn't just talking but also providing examples. People really appreciated that. Additionally, the conference was well-organized and quite international, with many guests from different countries around the world. I believe this will have a great impact on the future of management education and sustainable development."

Pre-conference events started on Wednesday, 20 Sept 2022, with company visits to get to know the business and creative world of Almaty. Some of the participants visited High Tecnology Academy (HTA), private institution where Finnish and American educational approaches meld and others Qazaqfilm, a prominent film production company with a mission to promote and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Kazakhstan through the art of filmmaking.

In the afternoon, the Conference was traditionally launched with Poster Session for faculty and researchers, moderated for the 11th time by Zoltan Buzady and gave us 4 presentations of latest research, teaching and best practices. Then followed IQA session, which was moderated by Lisa Fröhlich, while Prof. Danica Purg delivered the introductory speech. Additionally, Edyta Lachowicz-Santos, Aigerim Kaumenova and Irina Sennikova joined the panel, sharing their valuable experiences with the accreditation process.

The formal opening ceremony featured prominent figures such as Prof. Danica Purg, Dr. Assylbek Kozakhmetov, and Mr. Yerkin Tatishev, emphasizing the evolving global challenges and the vital role of management education. 

The first day of the conference began with an introductory address by the Conference Chair, followed by a warm welcome from Gulnara Kurenkeyeva, the Rector of Almaty Management University. The morning session highlighted an Artistic Performance titled "Leadership through the Art of Kazakhstan" by Assem and the Tengri band, which beautifully showcased the nation's abundant cultural heritage.

Next, Vlastimil Samek, a representative from the United Nations Department of Global Communications and Head of the United Nations Information Office in Kazakhstan, delivered an address highlighting the significance of sustainable development on a global scale. The morning's highlight was the "Building Blocks of a Sustainable World" session, featuring renowned speakers from around the world, including Mette Morsing, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, Janez Škrabec, President of Riko, and Abdurasul Yusupov, CEO of Team University. The session concluded with an engaging Q&A session.

The subsequent panel discussion, titled "Sustainability – the new wave in Central Asia," was skillfully moderated by Aigerim Kaumenova and brought together experts including Dinara Seijaparova, Country Manager of UN Global Compact in Kazakhstan; Brendan Duprey, founding Director of the Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute; Serhat Burmaoglu, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management at Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University; and Haifeng Huang, Distinguished Professor at Changzhou University and Co-Chancellor of the China Institute for Responsible Management Education and Sustainable Development.

Taking a contemporary approach to facilitate discussions, a World Café Session on "What Organizations’ Needs Mean for Today’s Management Schools" was moderated by Irina Sennikova, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at RISEBA University and Vice President of CEEMAN. The day's events culminated with the CEEMAN Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, led by prof. Danica Purg, President of CEEMAN.

The second day featured enlightening sessions on responsible research and the integration of sustainability. Xiaobo Wu moderated "CEEMAN Responsible Research," where experts delved into ethical research practices in academia. The session featured panelists Peter McKiernan, Professor of Management at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland; Dorota Dobija, Professor of Accounting and PhD program director at Kozminski University, Poland; Haiying Lin, Full Professor at Arizona State University; and Janpolat Kudaybergenov, Rector of Kimyo International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

"Integrating Sustainability in Curricula, Learning from Best Practices," moderated by Lisa Fröhlich, shed light on the global integration of sustainability principles into academic curricula. Panelists Rob van Tulder, Professor of International Business-Society Management at Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands; Saloni Sinha, Communication and Theatre Faculty member at Birla Institute of Management Technology, India; Louise Whittaker, Deputy Dean & Executive Director of Faculty at GIBS Business School, South Africa; and Aurora Diaz-Soloaga, Senior Lecturer at Almaty Management University, Kazakhstan, shared their successful experiences in this regard.

One of the highly anticipated sessions was the "Green Intelligence: Why Data and AI Must Become More Sustainable?" World Café Session, which delved into the intersection of technology and sustainability. This interactive session, moderated by the world-renowned expert, featured a keynote address by Christoph Stückelberger, Founder and President of Globethics in Switzerland. Christoph Stückelberger's keynote provided a comprehensive overview of the ethical dimensions surrounding the use of data and AI in the pursuit of a more sustainable world. He concluded his address with the profound statement: ‘’Resist Temptations to Become Super-Human. Do it like God: Become Truly Human’’. His wisdom and expertise set the tone for a stimulating and forward-thinking conversation among participants, including Andrew Beklemishev, Vice President of the International Data Corporation and Member of AlmaU Board of Trustees in Kazakhstan, and Hemachandran Kannan, Director of the Center at Woxsen University in India.

As is tradition with every CEEMAN Annual Conference, The Gala Dinner at hotel Rixos with diferrent performances of ballet and opera was a wonderful conclusion of the Conference – of course, with delicious food, live music and a dance!

Details about the location of the next CEEMAN Annual Conference will be announced soon, inviting all to join and stay connected.

The 31th CEEMAN Annual Conference was supported by:

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