MED Response to US Executive Order on Immigration and International Management Educators

MED Response to US Executive Order on Immigration and International Management Educators – creating voice and support

3 February 2017

Dear MED Colleagues,

I know that a number of us have been concerned by the response of the AOM to issues surrounding the ability of colleagues to travel to the US for the AOM conference in August. Some have also expressed concern that more immediately this order impacts upon members ability to travel to the US for the purposes of collaborative research, teaching and the freedom to think, question and share ideas with colleagues, students and others in the US.

The AOM headquarters have issued a detailed response, which does not address these more immediate concerns, but does offer an assurance that if a member from any country is unable to attend the conference due to an immigration order that they can present their paper remotely. We will be asking the AOM to consider in these cases that the conference fee be significantly reduced, or waived. We are also asking that if a presentation must occur remotely, that all MED members attending the conference physically make every effort to attend such presentations to show solidarity for our colleagues. AOM note that we are a non-political organisation and as such framed the response in an operational way around the annual meeting.

As a committee we come from North America, Latin America, Europe and Eurasia. In our day to day teaching and research lives we work with students, businesses and researchers from a diverse range of countries. Managing diversity, sharing, listening and acting on ideas and evidence is both a challenge and opportunity in our professional lives. It can be difficult to work with others. To understand or accept their different perspectives. It can be a joy to work with others. It can be at the heart of successful business and innovation to combine the different skills, ideas and resources of others. For us, therefore, we see the debate around this immigration order, as an opportunity to reflect on the power of diversity and the need to listen to the voices of others, to protect the freedom of educators to think freely, to share their ideas and to question the ideas of others as this is at the heart of what it means to be an educator and researcher.

In the recent letter of the President of the AOM, she notes that we do have a core value that we believe is about the protection of academic freedom and voice (“The AOM fervently values all its members. We are committed to inclusion, supportive communities, and social and academic freedom as fundamental and undeniable tenets of scholarly association.” AOM letter re the US Executive Order on Immigration, 31/1/2017). We therefore would like to take some immediate practical steps to support this diversity value and encourage members to share other positive ideas with each other. Here is what we are doing and encourage others to think about.

  1. Promote and actively engage in the Scholars at Risk movement https://www.scholarsatrisk.org

Scholars from within the seven countries impacted by this immigration order face real challenges in undertaking their research and education activities. They face risk to their liberty and threats to their person as a consequence of sharing their research ideas, questioning the ideas of others and being active academic citizens. For example 27 academics from these countries are currently seeking an emergency academic home due to immediate and active threats to their life or person. Eight of the scholars at risk seeking immediate help are from management, economics or finance backgrounds. 446 member universities inside the USA, Europe and Africa are actively working to protect these scholars through the Scholars at Risk organisation. Seven network organisations, with hundreds of members support this initiative (though at present AOM is not one of these). We are committed to working inside our networks to supporting this work and hope that others might consider this a practical action to support the free exchange of ideas and leveraging of diversity that is at the heart of business success.

At its core the Scholars at Risk organization is about “protecting scholars and the freedom to think, question and share ideas”. As academics and members of AOM is this not something that we can all agree on as an important value? Can we not seek to become members of SAR as an institution (AOM) and encourage our universities to do the same?

  1. MED Newsletter series: Global Voices – the Global World of Management education

76% of all AOM members are from either North America or Europe, yet these regions represent only 14.6% of the world’s population (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/#region). These are the voices that we hear from most readily at the AOM conference. We hear little, therefore from representatives of the vast majority of the world’s population. Lets learn more about what are the approaches to management education and research in these areas. To this end we plan to invite some management educators from these regions to write a page on what the approach to management education in their region is; what are the challenges they face; what are the opportunities they leverage and how; what kinds of research are they doing and need? Some may not be able to travel to the conference for many reasons to share their ideas in person, but through a global voices program we can learn a little about their management education world.

  1. MED Ambassadors

The membership committee are currently working on reviving the MED Ambassadors program. The application process will be going live in the near future and will be announced in future MED newsletters. MED ambassadors can be a source of voice for their region, letting us know about their region, to let us be an advocacy voice for their issues in AOM, to encourage MED membership in their region (be our advocates), and to be a source that MED members can call upon (a friendly informed voice) if they are looking to connect into the region of the ambassador. Through friendly MED diplomacy we can share ideas, challenge ideas, and learn to be more effective management educators and development mentors.

We wish to stand in solidarity with the full diversity of our members (be that nationality, creed, sexuality, political perspectives, disability and a wealth of other features that contribute to diversity of the human experience) in our common goal of advancing management education through the development and sharing of our research and skills development as educators.

Sincerely,

MED Committee members, including

Peter Mc Namara, Chairperson

Barbara Ritter, Past Chairperson

Miguel Olivas-Lujan, Chairperson Elect

Paul Hibbert, Program Chairperson

Kim Gower, PDW Chairperson

Olga Ryazanova, Secretary