An evening around "Business & Peace"
The launch of HEC Imagine Fellows to support students from countries at war led to the creation of the student association HEC Imagine last September. The association organized its first conference in Paris on the evening of Wednesday, February 8, and gathered a hundred students, donors, alumni and School representatives around the beneficiary students and 4 high-profile speakers.
The creation of the HEC IMAGINE
The HEC Imagine association was founded in September 2022 by students Anna Grosz, Arthur Lamy, Nicolas Chatelais and Bibi Behishta Nazir, in the framework of the HEC Imagine Fellows program. Thanks to the generosity of donors, 4 outstanding students from Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine were able to enroll at HEC in September. The program now aims to support ten deserving students at the start of the next academic year, and a greater number in the years to come. Nicolas, Vice-President of the HEC Imagine Association is proud to be leading this wonderful project and is convinced of its positive impact:
HEC is leading a genuine academic revolution through this project, as it will seek and recruit brilliant and deserving students from countries at war. At the end of their studies at HEC, Behishta, Zarmina, Zaid and Mykyta will in turn become international ambassadors to HEC and the Imagine project. In the coming years, it is those students who will be called upon to change their native countries from the inside and become the leaders of the future.
The association embodies a unique and innovative project with the publication of a weekly newsletter and the organization on campus of conferences and seminars on the theme of business for peace. It also acts outside the campus, having participated in the Paris Peace Forum and with concrete plans to host its own stand during the next edition of this event.
1st conference et 1st event with donors
At present, HEC Imagine boasts some forty volunteer students. A great number of these students were present for the launch of the 1st conference on the theme ‘Business & Peace’, and more specifically the question ‘How can business contribute to peace?’.
This event attracted more than 90 people, including students, HEC alumni, donors and representatives of the School and the HEC Foundation. Adrien Nussenbaum (H.01), Grand Donor of the Foundation and initiator of HEC Imagine Fellows, opened the evening event by thanking all those who had joined this great human adventure to act alongside the HEC Foundation, the School and its student volunteers. Yann Algan highlighted another aspect of the program; its educational innovation in the form of an academic program devoted to Business & Peace.
HEC is not here to promote a naive viewpoint, but to examine the way in which companies can contribute to peace.
The School is currently reviewing all its student training and research programs to align with the question of Business & Peace. HEC launched 3 new courses around major societal issues this year, such as ‘Business & Geopolitics’ on the link between companies and NGOs striving to recreate inclusive growth in post-war countries, or ‘Business and Human Rights’ which focuses in particular on child labor issues.
Before the start of the round table, one of the program’s beneficiaries, Zaid Kasem, expressed his gratitude to Adrien Nussenbaum and the donors who enabled him to come study at HEC:
It was not just the perception that hurt me the most, but the reality of the limited opportunities that were available to me due to my nationality. The travel restrictions, work restrictions, and countless other obstacles that I faced, were a constant reminder of my perceived disadvantage. […] I refused to let my circumstances dictate my future. Instead, I chose to be resilient, knowing that life rewards those who want something badly enough and never give up. This resilience has paid off in the form of the incredible opportunity that I have been given by Mr. Adrien Naussenbaum and the HEC foundation. HEC has opened the doors to limitless possibilities, allowing me to imagine a future where my once far-fetched dreams can become a reality.
Following these various speeches, participants heard from the four guest speakers of the round table: Salma Labyad – Super Novae, Pierre Etienne Franc – FiveT Hydrogen AG, Mamadou N’Dao – Investisseurs et Partenaires and Matiullah Rahmaty – Obrang UG.
The role of businesses in countries at war was explored from several perspectives, such as their position with regard to the governance in place in war-torn regions, or the onus of companies to create resilience in all these countries. The speakers exchanged opinions and shared their own experiences in Afghanistan, Africa or Yemen.
The evening concluded with a friendly cocktail, where all participants could mingle and exchange views around the theme which had brought them together, i.e., acting for peace.
Well done to the HEC Imagine association for this wonderful event to highlight the progress of this worthy project and incite others to act for the future of young, gifted students.
Do not hesitate to contact the HEC Foundation for more information on HEC Imagine Fellows.