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Mason Leads Sustainable Business Education

Since 2019, George Mason University’s Business for a Better World Center (B4BW) has led the university’s contribution to the United Nations Principles for Education in Responsible Management (PRME) North America Chapter.

student panel at conference
B4BW Academic Co-Director Lisa Gring-Pemble (standing) with student courtesy

“As educators, we have a moral obligation to educate students about sustainable business. B4BW Academic Co-Director Lisa Gring Pemble“Our future depends on young global leaders who solve our complex problems through creativity, tenacity and a commitment to people, planet and prosperity.”

As part of the United Nations Global Compact, PRME’s purpose is to promote sustainability, as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through education, research and community engagement in business schools. It’s about facilitating a bigger effort.

Earlier this year, Mason hosted the North American chapter’s three-day conference in Mason Square, bringing together 70 delegates from 25 business schools in the United States and Canada.

Mason’s hosting of this conference was a milestone in his close relationship with UN PRME. That relationship dates back to the initiative’s launch in 2007. Former Mason President Angel Cabrera was the lead author of the initiative’s founding documents.

“We are recognized leaders and that is why we were chosen to do this,” said B4BW Academic Co-Director Anne Magro.

People sitting on a panel at a meeting
B4BW Academic Co-Director Anne Magro (Podium) is moderating a panel discussion on “Partnerships for Transformation”.photo courtesy

In 2018, Mason was named a member of the PRME Champions, a leadership group made up of approximately 40 academic institutions. Overall, the UN PRME has over 880 signatory members.

The April 2022 conference had a special atmosphere. For many attendees, it marked a return to work-related travel after a protracted pause mandated by the pandemic. Along with an over-the-top appreciation for being together, there was a growing sense of urgency to resume our collective mission.

Magro said the conference agenda was structured around key strategic questions. And how can you prepare people to do this job?”

The three levels at which PRME signatories can make a difference (pedagogy, research and community/social engagement) were balanced on the agenda.

Some highlights:

A panel about experiential learning featuring the work of B4BW Impact Fellowvolunteering, a summer “Evil Issue Boot Camp”, and participation in mental health outreach to refugee communities in Afghanistan, among other Mason student sustainability-focused activities.

People sitting in a circle in a ballroom
SDG 17 room working courtesy

Reflecting on her panel appearance, Impact Fellow Ashanti Martin said, “The most gratifying thing I got from PRME was being able to express my newfound passion for zero hunger and food insecurity from a student’s point of view.” said.

Panelist Oishee Mukhopadhyaya said: It felt like people were listening to us. “

A working session for young researchers provided advice on achieving impactful research aligned with the SDGs and gaining institutional support for it. Another panel featured a group of professors working to integrate SDG-based sustainability criteria into the research criteria used to rank business schools.

Paula Sorrell, Mason’s Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development and B4BW Academic Director, in a fireside chat Toya Miller We discussed how the entrepreneurial ecosystem can break down barriers to inclusivity.

and Maury Piper, then dean of the Masons School of Business, and Arp Ozeldem, Dean of the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution led a talk on how business can contribute to international conflict resolution, with a focus on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine .

Additionally, the event was intended to provide a platform for initiating real-world change, starting from and hopefully radiating outward from the UN PRME North American signatories.

“How do you take an idea and come up with a workable plan?” Maguro said. “Thinking about how different universities can work together should be a creative process that leads to actionable steps.”

North America chapter’s biggest future goals include expanding membership (already the largest within UN PRME) and expanding its diversity to include more HBCUs and Hispanic colleges .