01 june 2018

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Joint interview: Roberto Horta, Director of the Institute of Competitiveness at the Catholic University in Uruguay, Alberto Arias, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the Pontifical Xavieran University in Cali (Colombia), and Carlos Valencia, Director of the Xavierian Competitiveness Centre at the Xavierian University of Bogotá, Colombia.

From 14 to 18 May, various representatives of Jesuit institutes and organisations related to competitiveness visited Orkestra. The aim of the trip was to ser up the bases for the Iñigo de Loyola initiative, which they are working on, and state some principles for future action. We spoke with Roberto Horta, Director of the Institute of Competitiveness at the Catholic University in Uruguay; Alberto Arias, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the Pontifical Xavieran University in Cali (Colombia) and Carlos Valencia, Director of the Xavierian Competitiveness Centre at the Xavierian University of Bogotá, Colombia, focusing on the initiatives and the challenges it raises.

How would you define the Iñigo de Loyola initiative? What expectations do you have for the meetings held at Orkestra?

Roberto: I lead an Institute of Competitiveness that has been working on competitiveness innovation and clustering for several years. We have worked with Orkestra for some time now, so participating in this endeavour seemed perfectly natural.

We believe that the Iñigo de Loyola initiative is a way to move forward in our work as a research institute contributing to our country's development. I think that working with Orkestra and other Jesuit universities in Latin America will considerably contribute to development in our area.

"My expectations concerning this initiative are to make the cooperation network between Jesuit universities a reality."

Alberto: my expectations concerning this initiative are to make the cooperation network between Jesuit universities a reality. I believe thar strengthening and fostering any of the network's initiatives are very positive actions. And even more so because there is an intangible resource in this proposal, which is knowledge.

What we hope to learn from this visit is what is being done here and how. The intention is to achieve economic growth fairly distributed among people, which translates as well-being and a wider use than what public bodies can offer. This has been successfully achieved by the Basque Country and Orkestra during their eleven years of work. So, it is very interesting to see what kind of joint initiatives we can work on. In this respect, we have made great progress this week by finding out about Orkestra's work and taking the first steps to agreement on principles they have proposed.

Carlos: I have been working on the idea of the Chair with Marijo and José Luis for nearly a year. The expectations for the initiative initially had a lot to do with knowledge transfer between the two institutions, as Albert said. I believe that aim has been partially fulfilled.

The second idea was to make a collaboration network more visible, between at least two or three universities in Latin America. Like all initiatives and collaboration, the bases have to be set up first, but future aspirations centre on developing a productive proactive project.

In my opinion, the most important aspect of this meeting is:. firstly, there will be more people working together; we have clear aims and we have a knowledge development mission to fulfil in the territory.

What challenges will you be facing in the future, within the framework of this initiative and at the personal level, in each of the territories that you come from?

Roberto: Having been able to see a quite complete picture of what Orkestra is working on this week has opened doors to different joint actions, with Orkestra as well as with other network members.

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Alberto: We share a challenge: develop an area of research on what social well-being and inclusion are. This means having a common framework.

Carlos: It is important to note that there are two cooperation levels. A level at each of the organisations, institutes or units that we have been collaborating with here this week, in a two-way process with Orkestra. And another multidirectional one, between ourselves and as a network. They each raise totally different challenges.

On the one hand, the two-way relationship between Orkestra and each of the collaborating units. This is transfer of capacities by carrying out projects. We could be setting up macro conceptual methodologies that have a special influence in each of the territories that are participating.

"We work on competitiveness to make well-being and economic and social development reach people."

Dialogue forms part of the second level of collaboration, in addition to what social progress, economic progress and people's well-being imply, with very clear principles based on the Society of Jesus's work across the world.

Roberto: In our country, what usually happens is that the vision of competitiveness is more macroeconomic, closely related to how firms become profitable, how we can reach international markets. Here, our work is based on a much broader competitiveness option, which is much more systematic, more focused on how to make well-being, economic and social development reach people. 

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