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International week on sustainability

The mission of the Faculty of Business and Economics includes the strong international orientation of our educational and research activities. The course 'International Week: challenges for business' was introduced in 2014 to embed international exposure into the curriculum of the Bachelor of Applied Economic Sciences: Business Economics. The theme of the I-Week is sustainability.

The objective of I-Week is to foster a global perspective and intercultural climate. By exposing students to international perspectives on current issues in management, the I-Week experience provides an opportunity to reflect on ethical issues in the business world through a multidisciplinary approach. It offers students the chance to improve their language and intercultural skills in a course specific context. Students participate in lectures delivered by foreign visiting professors and business managers with international experience.

The course centres around an intense week of talks and discussions, 9am to 5pm each day for 5 days. Students are exposed to international academics, sustainability experts, CEOs of big businesses, as well as small enterprises with sustainability in their mission. In 2018, speakers from BNP Paribas Fortis, UZ Brussels, Bel&Bo, WWF, Umicore, BASF, Port of Antwerp, The Shift... inspired our students and brought home the message of integrating sustainability into the mission of the organisation. 33 visiting students from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia) and 5 students of Belmond University (Nashville, Tennessee) also participated in this course.

For I-Week, students are allocated to groups and complete two assessment tasks. The first task is a poster that summarises the issue they will analyse. This poster is presented by all groups at the end of the week. The second task is a paper analysing a sustainability issue in a particular international organisation. Students gain invaluable experience working in multicultural groups to produce a high quality poster and paper under time pressure.

The International Week on Sustainability is an innovative way to embed international perspectives and a focus on sustainability into the curriculum of the Faculty of Business and Economics.