FIU Business was in the spotlight before the world’s leading scholars in international business in July. The college served as the local host institution for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business (AIB), which showcased the latest in international business research amidst scholarly discussions of key issues impacting global networks.
The theme of the conference, which drew more than 750 scholars, consultants, researchers and government and NGO representatives, was “Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Equity and Fairness in International Business.”
An important problem facing multinationals, panelists in one session agreed, is a diversity gap that requires an in-depth look beyond age, sex, religion and ethnicity. As educators, many have focused their research on related topics looking to drive the conversation and see actual changes.
“It’s a complex problem, sometimes you have to attack the little pieces and demographics is a good place to start, although only a start,” said William Newburry, chair of the Department of International Business at FIU Business, Ryder Eminent Scholar of Global Business and the conference’s host committee chair. “Different aspects of diversity may come through in different situations and context specifics can make a big difference.”
In another panel session, FIU Business Dean William Hardin — joined by Florida Atlantic University College of Business Dean Dan Gropper — discussed how skills acquired during the pandemic changed and will continue to impact the nature of international business education.
“We have a lot of capability and technology infrastructure,” said Hardin. “The need to innovate and work with technology is about 100% more than what it was before. We have to embrace technology or fail.”
A third panel session focused on the impact of the pandemic on the global movement of goods, which faced major disruptions, and how it put the focus on the connectivity among vendors and different parts of the supply chain and the vulnerability of systems.
Amidst the pandemic, e-commerce saw quarterly year-over-year growth rates of 45% to 53% during 2020 and early 2021.
“In logistics, we’ve been waiting to be cool for many years,” said panelist Michael White, executive-in-residence at FIU Business and president of Trade Network Consultants.
Air transportation changed drastically as airlines reduced passenger traffic and ocean freighters increased prices and faced additional backlogs, he said.
“Air became a lifeline in keeping people around the world alive,” said White. “Passenger planes became cargo planes. Today many airlines are converting those planes back into passenger aircraft and buying air freighters.”
AIB is the world’s oldest and largest not-for-profit professional association of academics from diverse disciplines who have common research and teaching interests in topics with international implications.
In all, the 2022 AIB Meeting featured more than 150-panel sessions and other meetings over three days. On the second evening of the conference, FIU Business hosted a gala event, “One Hot Night in Miami,” at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which included international dinner stations, entertainers, a DJ and dancing.
Logistics payments and data infrastructure platform PayCargo was the conference’s diamond sponsor. Other sponsors included the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business and Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business.