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23 / 07 / 2004
The Universal Forum of Cultures is one of the driving forces behind the United Nations Global Compact Center in Barcelona

In the press conference as part of the conclusions of the Dialogue "The Role of Corporations in the 21st Century", which took place between 19 and 22 July at the Forum Barcelona 2004 Convention Center, there was a presentation about the new project Barcelona Global Compact Center. The objective of the Center is to spread the spirit promoted by Forum Barcelona 2004 and to contribute to the study, the publicity and the promotion of the issues related to the social responsibility of the business world.

More information about The role of corporations in the 21st Century

This afternoon there was an introduction to the new project called Barcelona Global Compact Center in the Convention Center press conference room at the Forum Site. This initiative of the Forum Barcelona 2004 gives continuity to the Dialogue "The Role of Corporations in the 21st Century”, in which the three associated educational institutions, ESADE, IESE and the Business Institute took part, who in this venture count on the support of the United Nations.

Āngel Cabrera, dean of the Business Institute, Carlos Losada, head the ESADE Business School, Antonio Argandoņa, university professor of Economy and Business Ethics at the IESE, George Kell, executive officer in charge of Global Compact at the UN, and Mireia Belil, Forum Dialogues director, all highlighted the importance of this project in terms of its international scope.

The speakers explained that the main objectives of the center are to serve as an annual meeting point for schools, professionals and companies, to foster the relationship between the local networks of each state, to exchange experiences, to progress scientific knowledge and research throughout the world, and to publicize the issues related to the social responsibility of the business world.

The executive officer in charge of Global Compact at the UN in New York, George Kell, described the project as "an extraordinary experience to move and change the world". He added, "Barcelona has demonstrated an important leadership with these initiatives". The Global Compact, headed by Kofi Annan, promotes organizational change following 10 principles, labor rights, human rights, environmental issues and issues related to corruption, and according to Kell "it is important that corporations and businesses are involved and that they communicate their values clearly".

Argandoņa emphasized the capacity of educational institutions to work together in this initiative to reflect on the change of the role of corporations and businesses in present society because "we in schools and educational institutions also contribute to changing behavior; we are responsible for forming values and so we can help a lot".

"The center is an opportunity for society to find a place to exchange experiences, to learn about the appropriate conduct of corporations and businesses in society, to gather knowledge and to publicize it via the networks of Global Compact", according to Losada’s explanation. Also he indicated the importance of the sessions taking place at Forum Barcelona 2004 and the part this initiative will play "through the important process of redefining the role of corporations and businesses in future decades, because they are the players who will have a very direct influence on developing society and the future".

Cabrera said that the key points that have been discussed include the challenges for corporations and businesses in this century, where the new business entrepreneur is an economic and political agent, and a very enterprising social activist. In addition, the actions of the Barcelona Global Compact Center are already beginning to be defined, inasmuch as what influence it wants to have on how corporations and businesses are managed worldwide.

"This project is unique in the world", according to Kell, because it is the first time that the Global Compact of New York offers aid to forge a point of contact between all the agents, corporations, businesses and professionals of the business world to develop common criteria and to unite local networks so that they work on a global basis.