IMG_9099Last October 20th, the IE Humanities Center hosted the first lecture of the Cycle of Conferences “India: Present and Future”, which focused on Economy. This year, the series of lectures will revolve around the largest democracy on earth, studying it from different angles: politically, culturally, socially, etc. Seven activities will be held to fulfil that goal on both campuses, Madrid and Segovia.

The cycle of conferences began with an institutional speech by the director of the cycle, Professor Susana Torres, who explained the reasons behind its organization and took the opportunity to thank everyone that has made it possible. The audience was composed by a mix of students from Madrid and Segovia, faculty, directors, future lecturers and external guests, including India’s Embassy Economic Secretary Mr. Saravanan Balasubramanian.

The opening lecture, “Economy: The Emergence of a New Player”, was chaired by MIM’s Vice Dean Kiron Ravindran who moderated theIMG_9173 conversation with Economic Environment Professor Patricia Gabaldón and CaixaBank India Chief Pradeep Bhargava.

For more than one hour the three members of the panel analysed the challenges that India will have to face during the coming decade, as well as the big leap forward that India has done in the past 25 years. All agreed that education and technology will play the key factor, as production costs are rising. Professor Gabaldón stressed the role of women, which in some cases are being left behind, since when they get married they become a member of their in-law family, thus causing parents lack of investment in a daughter’s education. This led to an interesting point, which for sure is going to be covered in more lectures in the future, namely, how to cope with tradition and social development.

Once the lecture was over all attendees were invited to a cocktail just outside the classroom where students, faculty, staff and guests chatted lively about the present and coming events.

Next conference will be on Politics and be held on November 24thIf you wish to attend please register here


Mary Beard, History as Dialogue

Written on October 28, 2016 by Susana Torres Prieto in Arts & Cultures & Societies

1127By Susana Torres Prieto, Professor of Humanities at IE University.

Last weekend, the awarding ceremony of the prizes Princess of Asturias took place in Oviedo. Among the wonderful winners in its several categories, the Cambridge Classics Professor Mary Beard (Much Wenlock, UK, 1955) received the prize on Social Sciences. In her speech, she underlined the need we have to establish a fruitful dialogue with history, and consequently, she said she was receiving the award not only on her name, but also on behalf of all “those teachers, scholars and writers who work hard to make our conversation with the Ancient world so live, so engaging and so rewarding”. Indeed, it was her capacity for making accessible her vast knowledge of the Ancient World to the general public one of the aspects that the Jury most appreciated in their awarding Prof. Beard the prize.

What Prof. Beard has done is something worth a great merit, because she has challenged academic conventions in order to fulfil a social task that the Humanities necessarily has to undertake. For many decades, academic circles have refused to enter into that necessary dialogue with society, arriving to such specialization of knowledge and attention to detail that render all efforts inane in terms of dialoguing with the past. To a certain extent, we don’t see the forest for the trees anymore. And that is tragic, because at the university we should have the social responsibility of taking care of transmitting, for present and future generations, everything we have been able to learn. Being a scholar of the Humanities without trying to reach the society in an ample sense is like being a doctor and treating only those patients that are going to be cured for sure. It doesn’t really make much sense.

As Prof. Beard explains in her latest book, SPQR, entire academic careers have been made and lost over tiny details that do not change the general picture of what we know and why is still relevant. It is imperative that we rethink what is the call and aim of the Humanities in the modern world in order to understand what is the task that we all as scholars have to undertake not before our colleagues or our institutions, or even before our students, but in a wider sense to the society in general. There isn’t much point, really, is preaching to the converted. Isolating ourselves in arcane departments, spending time and resources in endless navel-gazing exercises is not going to make our role in society more important, quite the contrary, and it is not going to bring students to our classes, because nobody is ready to devote the best years of their youth to study something they have not even heard about. The compromise of Prof. Beard and of many others who, due to their writing for the wider public are being accused sometimes of being “dilettantes” by their own colleagues, is indispensable to save the Humanities from being the instrument of self-centred ambitious scholars who refuse to share their impressive knowledge with the wider world. It is more than crucial that we descend from our own trees and start contemplating the forest.


The Meaning of Bob Dylan’s Silence

Written on October 27, 2016 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Literature, Music

26kirschWeb-master768In the summer of 1964, Bob Dylan released his fourth album, “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” which includes the track “It Ain’t Me Babe.” “Go ’way from my window/Leave at your own chosen speed,” it begins. “I’m not the one you want, babe/I’m not the one you need.”

That fall, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre played a variation on the same tune in a public statement explaining why, despite having been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he would not accept it. “The writer,” he insisted, must “refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if this occurs under the most honorable circumstances.” Mr. Dylan was talking to an imaginary lover, Sartre to an actual Swedish Academy, but the message was similar: If you love me for what I am, don’t make me be what I am not.

We don’t know whether Mr. Dylan was paying attention to l’affaire Sartre that fall 52 years ago. But now that he has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he seems to be following in Sartre’s footsteps. Indeed, Mr. Dylan has done the philosopher one better: Instead of declining the prize, he has simply declined to acknowledge its existence. He hasn’t issued a statement or even returned the Swedish Academy’s phone calls. A reference to the award briefly popped up on the official Bob Dylan website and then was deleted — at his instruction or not, nobody knows. And the Swedes, who are used to a lot more gratitude from their laureates, appear to be losing their patience: One member of the Academy has called Mr. Dylan’s behavior “impolite and arrogant.”

There is a good deal of poetic justice in this turn of events. For almost a quarter of a century, ever since Toni Morrison won the Nobel in 1993, the Nobel committee acted as if American literature did not exist — and now an American is acting as if the Nobel committee doesn’t exist. Giving the award to Mr. Dylan was an insult to all the great American novelists and poets who are frequently proposed as candidates for the prize. The all-but-explicit message was that American literature, as traditionally defined, was simply not good enough. This is an absurd notion, but one that the Swedes have embraced: In 2008, the Academy’s permanent secretary, Horace Engdahl, declared that American writers “don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature” and are limited by that “ignorance.”

Continue reading in The New York Times


Diversidad generacional

Written on October 26, 2016 by Rafael Puyol in Arts & Cultures & Societies

INSTITUTO DE EMPRESA.  PROFESORESPor Rafael Puyol, Vicepresidente de Fundación IE

El discurso sobre las personas mayores es ambiguo. Por un lado, nos felicitamos que haya cada vez más viejos que cumplen más años. Por otro, nos quejamos de que la población envejezca por las consecuencias (económicas, sociales y hasta políticas,…) que el proceso va a plantear. Quizás esa ambigüedad se deba a la confusión que mucha gente tiene entre longevidad y envejecimiento. Longevidad significa que las personas cumplen más años que nunca. Envejecimiento, que la proporción de población mayor de 65 años aumenta constantemente y llega a superar a los porcentajes de jóvenes. Y este hecho es interpretado por algunos en términos de conflicto intergeneracional, sobre todo en lo laboral.

Creo que es una visión equivocada y que esa relación intergeneracional hay que leerla, ante todo, bajo un prisma de colaboración. Los mayores dependen de las cotizaciones de los jóvenes y adultos para poder cobrar su pensión y hacer frente a los crecientes gastos sociales que generan y pueden ayudar a estos últimos a través de diferentes mecanismos de naturaleza familiar o social, sustituyendo muchas veces el insuficiente papel del Estado como protagonista de las prestaciones de la sociedad del bienestar. En los años de crisis, muchas familias han podido subsistir gracias a la (exigua) pensión del abuelo y en los de bonanza los abuelos  cuidadores se han ocupado de sus nietos con dedicación y eficacia.

En el terreno laboral, en un escenario de superación de la crisis y ante la delicada situación de insuficiencia demográfica que vamos a vivir, los jóvenes van a encontrar las oportunidades laborales que ahora el mercado les niega. Que los mayores se mantengan más años activos no va a ir en detrimento del trabajo juvenil. Ambos serán necesarios en una economía que va a demandar más manos y más cerebros. Lo que sí cambiará, probablemente, en el papel de los seniors, con tareas que exigirán otras ocupaciones, otras dedicaciones, distintos salarios. Y entre estas tareas destacará esa labor de formación que los trabajadores de edad pueden ejercer con sus homólogos menos experimentados en un ambiente de colaboración que será profundamente enriquecedor para las empresas.


IE Foundation Prizes in the Humanities 2016

Written on October 10, 2016 by Fernando Dameto Zaforteza in IE Foundation Humanities Prize, Video


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