Spring 2013 - 62820 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

International Business Fellows Seminar

The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin will offer a multi-disciplinary graduate-level seminar in the spring 2013 semester to study events and forces affecting and re-shaping the world.  Students from all graduate programs at the University of Texas at Austin are invited.
The purpose of the seminar is to help prepare students to be leaders in their respective professions over the course of their careers by helping them better understand the changing world in which they will pursue their careers.  That world will be fundamentally different from the world in which they grew up.  Students need to understand the changes underway, the forces propelling those developments, and possible consequences of those trends.
We are living in one of the truly momentous periods of world history.  While there have been other moments of structural change in the past, a unique feature of this moment is that we have the opportunity as a University community in real time to witness historic events as they unfold and to discuss the ramifications of those developments in an academic setting with students and faculty and other guests from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences.  The forces of change cross disciplines and have implications for business, economics, finance, politics, and society at large.  The euro crisis, the Arab Spring, the prospects of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and elsewhere, climate change, and the “pivot” of the US to Asia, among other developments, are suggestive of the historic changes now underway.  Questions emanating from such developments include: What do these changes portend for business; for governments; for society at large? Where will the centers of power be in the future? How will corporations and governments need to change to survive let alone thrive in the future?  Executives, policy makers and others who have an understanding of the forces of change now underway will have a clear advantage in their companies and organizations as they consider responses to the challenges ahead.  The IBFS provides students and faculty alike with the opportunity to develop that advantage.
The seminar will bring together students and faculty from across disciplinary lines to explore the reasons for and the implications of the changing global landscape.  The seminar will include lectures, readings and discussions on: (i) international economics, finance, and business; (ii) international political and military affairs; (iii) cultural, historical, and religious factors bringing together and dividing peoples, countries and civilizations around the world; and (iv) demographic developments, environmental challenges, and other risks and challenges putting pressure on world systems and structures at this point of the 21st century. 
Michael Howard, in his book The Lessons of History, wrote that the real lessons of history are not so much about “pride and folly,” as about

people, often of masterful intelligence, trained usually in law or economics or perhaps political science, who have led their governments into disastrous miscalculations because they have no awareness whatever of the historical background, the cultural universe of the foreign societies with which they have to deal.  It is an awareness for which no amount of strategic or economic analysis, no techniques of crisis management or conflict resolution...can provide a substitute.
The same could be said of corporations and other organizations.  The seminar will bring such historical and cultural factors into our exploration of these issues.  Students will meet in weekly seminars with speakers from both within and outside the University to pursue this study.  In addition, students will work with each other across disciplinary lines to develop class projects on topics of their choosing.  More information may be obtained from the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER at 471-8031).  Area studies students also may obtain further information from the director of their program.