Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Humbling Experience

Last night I was honored by Universidad Anáhuac Mexico Sur as "A la Amistad Universal de Todos los Pueblos." I was the first recipient of the award which was designed to recognize individuals have worked to build relationships among people.

For about a dozen years I have worked with the University in a number of projects. I actually taught in the Business School for several years. UAS, like a lot of Mexican private universities, is young. But the energy of the place is infectious. Over the years the projects I have worked on have given the University more international recognition. Indeed, what I think my role has been is two things. First, I think I helped them realize how good they actually are. Second, I think I helped them exploit some of the new technologies to build their own networks. A good deal of the academic world in the US is mired in old ways of communicating - UAS and many of its counterparts are not bound by those conventions in part because they are new but also because some of those academic networks are very expensive to maintain.

For the last year the University has had a new president who seems to be building on the strengths of the place in interesting ways. As I think I noted, I was a part of their 25th Anniversary symposium on business in Mexico that was exceptional for the people it attracted and for the quality of the discussions.

My friends in the University said a lot of nice things about me last night, which I appreciated. But what I also recognized was that the benefits to these kinds of collaborations are far from one-sided. In the bargain of the last dozen years, I have met a lot of interesting people, heard a lot of alternative ways of thinking about how to run universities and other issues and have learned a lot about myself. That sounds like a great deal to me.

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