President Ali invited to speak at Harvard Business School forum
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali
President Dr. Irfaan Ali

Recognised for his exceptional leadership, President Dr. Irfaan Ali has been invited and is expected to deliver a keynote address at a Harvard Business School Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Faculty workshop, today.

The President was invited to deliver a 45-minute presentation with 15 additional minutes for answering questions. The invitation was extended by distinguished American academic Michael Porter, the William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School by way of a letter, seen by this publication.

President Ali is expected to present to approximately 150 university professors from more than 120 institutions across more than 65 countries, including the University of Guyana. The institutions make up the Harvard Business School MOC Affiliate Network.

In the invite letter, Professor Porter hailed the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, which assumed office on August 2, 2020, noting that the “government has started its tenure with a strong focus on real impact, and has pushed an ambitious array of policy initiatives toward execution”.

“We have been impressed by your leadership and the strong commitment to making Guyana a global example in the sustainable use of natural resources and endowments to benefit the people of the country,” Professor Porter noted in the letter addressed to the President.

Professor Michael Porter

He highlighted that the MOC Affiliate Network provides an institutional setting to teach the MOC framework, generate new knowledge through collaborative research, and influence policymakers and leaders in the world to improve competitiveness at all levels.

Importantly, Professor Porter noted that the MOC Affiliate Network has evolved beyond a platform for teaching and research to become a tool to influence and support economic development around the world.

“We believe that a great number of international faculty would benefit from learning about your vision for the country, ambitious goals, action agenda, and your path to achieving long-term prosperity that is both socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable,” Professor Porter wrote to President Ali.

Further, he noted that the President’s keynote would be a “great opportunity to showcase Guyana to many professors and thought leaders from all over the world”.

The MOC Course at Harvard was created in 2002 by Professor Porter and the staff and affiliates of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness and explores the determinants of competitiveness and successful economic development viewed from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective.

The “historic discovery” of oil and gas in Guyana “have the potential to profoundly improve Guyana’s competitiveness and create sustainable and shared prosperity for its citizens, allowing the country to realise its ambitions of becoming a more prosperous nation,” Professor Porter opined.

Professor Porter has won many scholarly awards and honours including the Adam Smith Award of the National Association of Business Economists, the John Kenneth Galbraith Medal, the David A. Wells Prize in Economics from Harvard, and the Academy of Management’s highest award for scholarly contributions to management. He is also an unprecedented seven-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year.

He is the recipient of twenty-four honorary doctorates and several national and state honours. Professor Porter has also received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the US Department of Commerce for his contribution to economic development, and has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and other honorary societies.

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