Record 5,000 people attend IESE Global Alumni Reunion

  • The 3-day event focused on sustainability takes place on IESE’s new Madrid campus and online

IESE’s Global Alumni Reunion (GAR) 2021 gets underway Thursday, with a record 5,000 people registered to attend the annual event that this year will explore the urgent need for companies to do their part in the transition to a more sustainable world.

It is the first time the GAR has taken place since COVID-19 spread across the globe, and occurs as larger-scale, in-person events are again possible in Spain and elsewhere. It will take place on IESE’s new Madrid campus, completed in recent months and applying the highest environmental standards, on Nov. 11-13.

“We’re delighted to once again celebrate our Global Alumni Reunion this year, for the first time since the pandemic. This event is new and innovative in every way: we’re holding in-person sessions on our new Madrid campus, which is a model of sustainable architecture,” said Mireia Rius, head of IESE’s Alumni Association.

“There’s also an option for attendees to connect online, choosing their events and networking with others, creating a unique, customized experience for all,” she added. “And we have an unparalleled line-up of global speakers who will talk about what sustainability means to them and to their work. This promises to be our most impactful Global Alumni Reunion ever.”

New Sustainable Leadership Initiative

As part of the event, IESE is announcing a new Sustainable Leadership Initiative, the umbrella under which a dozen professors are working on different sustainability-related research, teaching and outreach projects. The initiative features three main areas of investigation: sustainability in the financial sector, in cities and communities, and in leading corporations for a just transition.

“Sustainability has been an essential part of IESE’s approach to business since the very beginning. We’ve always been committed to creating businesses with a long-term vision and commitment to communities and people,” said Fabrizio Ferrari, the director of the new initiative and an expert in sustainability. “We’ve chosen sustainability as our theme for this year’s Global Alumni Reunion because we feel that there’s no more important issue for our times. The moment for businesses and business leaders to act is now, and IESE is committed to leading a global shift to more sustainable business models.”

To explore what those business models might look like, the event features some 35 global business and policy leaders, including keynote speeches by Dame Vivian Hunt, Senior Partner of McKinsey; Michael Sandel, a political philosophy professor at Harvard; Pablo Isla, Chairman, Inditex; and José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefonica.

In addition to the plenary sessions, there are a dozen sessions featuring high-profile leaders such as:

  • Citi CEO Jane Fraser
  • Jean Lemierre, Chairman of BNP Paribas
  • Author John Elkington of Volans & Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organization
  • Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO of the B Team 
  • Hiromichi Mizuno, United Nations Special Envoy on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments
  • Francesco Starace, CEO Enel
  • Javier Goyeneche, Founder of ECOALF
  • Enric Asunción, Founder and CEO of Wallbox Chargers.

In addition, Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida will help open the event on Nov. 11, and Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid, will close the sessions on Nov. 12.

Saturday, Nov. 13, is a day dedicated to social and artistic events, including a golf tournament for alumni, a piano concert by Ignasi Cambra (EMBA ’21) and a special tour of the Madrid campus.