Global Village Creating Network of Future International Business Leaders

By Colin McEvoy on June 26, 2016

The Global Village at Lehigh University has provided instruction to over 2,000 participants from 135 different countries since its founding in 1997. (photo courtesy Iacocca Institute)

The Global Village at Lehigh University has provided instruction to over 2,000 participants from 135 different countries since its founding in 1997. (photo courtesy Iacocca Institute)

For the next five weeks, the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem will become a microcosm of the entire world, as visitors from 50 different countries will gather for the Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry program.

Now it its 20th year of operation, this applied leadership, management, and cross-cultural training program will offer program courses, networking sessions, company visits, consulting projects, and cultural experiences to more than 95 individuals representing myriad cultures from around the world.

Offered through Lehigh University’s Iacocca Institute, the Global Village program has provided instruction to over 2,000 participants from 135 different countries since its founding in 1997.

“One of the largest takeaways our Villagers gain from the program is the active Global Village alumni network which is regularly accessed to develop business opportunities among countries and travel to and with new found friends,” said Dick Brandt, Iacocca Institute director.

Don Cunningham, President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), made remarks during the Global Village welcoming ceremony on June 26, and provided an overview of the regional economy, highlighting the growing importance of investment from international companies.

“Foreign direct investment has become a tremendously important element of the regional economy, and the work that Lehigh University, the Iacocca Institute, and the Global Village are doing to educate international leaders and create this global business and industry network is perhaps more important now than ever before,” Cunningham said.

International investment growing

Foreign direct investment has been a growing trend in the Lehigh Valley, Cunningham said. Eight of the region’s 19 major business attraction/expansion projects in 2015 – or 42 percent – were international companies, including Norac (France), Fuling Plastics (China), Safran/MBD (France), Nihon Kohden (Japan), and Primark (Ireland).

That’s why LVEDC has translated its economic marketing materials into eight different languages, and last year embarked on an international business tour throughout Western Europe, which included direct marketing to prospective companies and visits with international prospects in Germany, France, and England.

Running from June 25 to July 30, the five-week intensive program will allow its participants to develop teaming and entrepreneurial skills, increase global business knowledge and cultural understanding levels, and form business partnerships with a Global Village Alumni global network.

During the final three weeks of the program, Global Village will host “Country Presentations” highlighting the potential for business investment for more than 50 different countries.  The presentations will address best business practices of doing business in the country, the influence of culture in business, potential obstacles to overcome, and offer opportunities to network with international representatives.

“This is the first year we have opened up our Country Presentations to Lehigh Valley Executives,” Brandt said. “We would like to invite all Lehigh Valley executives to attend one or all 10 of the presentations and take advantage of the unique knowledge shared by the young professionals attending the Global Village.”

Many countries represented

Participants in last year's Global Village. (photo courtesy Iacocca Institute)

Participants in last year’s Global Village. (photo courtesy Iacocca Institute)

The Global Village Country Presentations will run from July 5 to July 26, and are free to attend. Click here for a day-by-day breakdown of the presentations, which include such countries as England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Spain, China, Israel, Palestine, Greece, Nigeria, Cameroon, Malaysia, and many  others.

The Global Village program is designed for experienced young professionals and advanced students who share the dream of building a leadership career in business and industry, and who want to form an active and lasting global network.

Participants live and learn among a culturally diverse group representing various cultures, speaking a multitude of languages, and offering unique insights based on their own background, education, and experiences. The program requires no academic prerequisites and delivers no traditional grades, focusing on learning experiences rather than traditional classes, discussions, or lectures.

Major learning experiences

One of the largest learning experiences is the Business Consulting Project. The Global Village Business Consulting Project opportunity provides a consulting service to companies. Ideal projects are those with an international thrust which focus on issues that require a “fresh” look from a multi-cultural perspective.  A team of 6 to 8 young professionals dedicate approximately 70 hours each (or 490 person hours, assuming a 7 person team) focusing their collective experience, energy, and multinational views on formulating a unique and uncommon resolution.

“The focus may be financial, marketing focus, or entry and/or economic in nature and this consulting service is offered at no charge,” Brandt said.

The 2016 program includes 40 facilitated courses and sessions, including 10 international facilitators.  It will also feature four local business experiences, two themed executive panels, 14 company visits and 25 executives in New York City and Washington, D.C. In total, approximately 110 companies will be represented.


NAIOP Conference Shows Lehigh Valley is Big Part of Development Future

This column, written by LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in Lehigh Valley Business on June 20, 2016. (Click here to read Cunningham’s previous colum[...]

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