September 12, 2005
Global efforts ushered in at Westminster
BY eric rangus
On Friday, Oct. 14, President Jim Wagner will deliver an address that outlines Emory’s strategic plan. It’s one of many he will give in the coming months. The invited audience, a group of Emory alumni augmented by top CEOs and Emory corporate partners, is impressive enough, but the location of the event—London’s Westminster Abbey—is what makes this gathering truly historic.
Wagner’s Westminster Abbey appearance is the culmination of months of internationally focused planning and relationship building, and will be the first step in what the University hopes will be a dramatic move toward cementing the institution’s place as a global entity.
The Friday night highlight of Wagner’s Oct. 14–16 visit to England is actually two events. The first, earlier in the afternoon, is the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) Board of Emory, a distinguished group of regional chief executives, physicians, diplomats and attorneys (some Emory alumni, some not) that will serve as an international advisory group for the University.
The second, more public event takes place from 6:30–8:30 p.m. and will include alumni and other guests who are from across the EMEA region. That address and reception is sponsored by the Association of Emory Alumni.
“For both of these events, we want to communicate Emory’s vision to be more internationally recognized and to be making positive transformation in the world,” said Wagner, making concrete reference to Emory’s vision statement. This will be Wagner’s third visit to Westminster—but his first as Emory president.
“[Communicating our vision] will essentially be the focus of the entire EMEA board. Our alumni, of course, will likely be interested in a broader range of Emory activity,” he continued.
EMEA is the first of three international boards to be formed. The others will be Asia/Pacific (also to include Australia) and the Americas (North, South and Central America, not including the United States). The makeup of those boards will be similar to EMEA, and Morgan said programming, such as Wagner’s visit to London, will take place in those parts of the world as well.
The relationship between EMEA and Emory’s administration will continue to grow. Provost Earl Lewis will be the featured speaker at the board’s next meeting in June 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey.
“This is a way to connect Emory to the region,” said Tom Robertson, special assistant to the president for international strategy, who is in England this week—his works takes him across the Atlantic frequently. He was speaking not only of the Westminster Abbey event but also of the creation of the EMEA Board in general.
“A lot of these relationships have been formed from other relationships,” said Robertson, the University’s point person in the formation of these boards. “Some board members are colleagues of people who already have a connection to Emory.”
About 100 people are expected to attend, including not just the aforementioned board members but exchange students, Emory faculty, staff, parents, friends of the University, and even several spouses.
“We have never had such a response to an [international] event in my six years at Emory,” said Julia Siân Morgan, director of marketing for the European office of Goizueta Business School. A native of England, Morgan spent almost four years working on the Atlanta campus for Goizueta before transferring to London about two-and-a-half years ago.
Setting the event up took months of legwork. Westminster Abbey rarely hosts gatherings such as Emory’s, but if the right relationships are forged, things happen. Morgan’s contacts, for instance, included members of the British Parliament. That the event falls during the week Westminster celebrates its 1,000 anniversary is a happy coincidence.
“The event and its location symbolize the noble endeavor of educaton and learning,” Morgan said. “Bringing people together with different cultural perspectives is what an enriched education is all about.”