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Week dedicated to ethics, peace through commerce

Jenn Metz | Monday, February 12, 2007

This week marks the Mendoza College of Business’s 10th-annual Ethics Week, a program of events dedicated to the discussion of ethical matters in the college’s undergraduate and graduate classes, according to event organizers.

The primary goal of Ethics Week is for faculty to explore these matters in depth and facilitate discussion about ethical matters that are relevant to the business world today, said Kenneth Milani, faculty coordinator of Ethics Week.

A secondary goal of the week is to establish the foundations for future ethical discussions both in and out of the classroom. Milani said organizers hope once the area of ethics has been closely examined, both undergraduate and graduate students may want to pursue the area in papers, presentations and class discussions.

Ethics Week always takes place around or during the week of Valentine’s Day, Milani said.

“On Valentine’s Day, if you already love some one, you do something to explicitly show that,” he said. “We practice business ethics 24/7, but we set this week aside to explicitly show our dedication to [ethical practices].”

He said the week allows incoming students and faculty to get involved in the Mendoza culture and to become aware of accepted ethical practices in the business world.

“This week sends a signal – this is something we think is very important. We are leaders in this area,” Milani said.

According to Milani, the events will compliment what is learned in the business classroom and introduce speakers who don’t come into classes on a regular basis. Among other topics, Ethics Week will allow students to look at the role of business ethics in achieving world peace and a vibrant world economy.

The lineup of events for the week includes “Peace Through Commerce,” a lecture by Carolyn Woo, dean of the College of Business. It will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Monday at the Giovanini Commons in Mendoza.

Milani said the lecture is the follow-up to a conference on the same topic held last November.

“It’s important for the business world to get involved in a productive way,” he said.

Milani cited many examples of the ability of commerce to generate world peace, including the direct connection between improved economic conditions and decreases in violence in Ireland and South Africa. In recent stateside emergencies, Milani said Wal-Mart and Target’s economic influence helped devastated areas get back on track when FEMA alone could not.

Tuesday features “Ethics and Executive Education: Examining the Essential Elements,” a lecture given by Joe Hold, director of executive education programming at Mendoza. The lecture will be held at 12:30 p.m. at the Giovanini Commons.

On Wednesday, Professor Monle Lee of Indiana University and Professor Jack Ruhe of Saint Mary’s will deliver a lecture entitled “Teaching Business Ethics in International Courses” at noon at the Giovanini Commons.

The week concludes on Thursday when Mark Albion, a social entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, former Harvard Business School professor and co-founder of Net Impact, an organization that promotes new models for responsible business decisions, will facilitate a presentation, “True to Yourself” at noon at the Giovanini Commons. He will later present a lecture called “Making a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and in Life” at 7 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium of Mendoza.

“Students should set aside their time to see at least some of the speakers,” Milani said. “This is an opportunity to see world-class people give their input on topics of ethics in an intimate setting.”