Held annually, this half-day conference focuses on assembling the world’s foremost experts to tackle a pressing business issue.

Info on 2023 Forum

April 12, 2022

Business and Society: Where Do We Go from Here?

For years, corporations have shaped society through the products and services they produce across the globe. But the role of businesses as corporate citizens — good stewards of people and the planet — is now taking center stage.

In this half-day, virtual forum, held in April 2022, top business leaders and scholars reflected on the purpose of a corporation — in the wake of a global pandemic, workforce reassessment, social justice movements, and war — and unpack the cross-sector changes in how and for whom a business operates. Together, they answered the big questions: What is the business case for solving global problems? And where do we go from here?

Speakers included:

  • Modupe Akinola, Associate Professor of Management; Faculty Director of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics; Chazen Senior Scholar, Columbia Business School 
  • Anu Bradford, Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, Columbia Law School; Chazen Senior Scholar, Columbia Business School
  • Laurent Ganem ’86, Founder and CEO, G Square Healthcare Private Equity LLP
  • Fred Zuliu Hu, Founder and Chairman, Primavera Capital Group
  • Glenn Hubbard, Dean Emeritus and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics; Chazen Institute Faculty Director, Columbia Business School
  • Rahul Kanodia ’93, Vice Chairman and CEO, Datamatics Global Services Ltd.
  • Yun-Hee Kim, Personal Technology Editor, The Washington Post
  • Costis Maglaras, Dean and David and Lyn Silfen Professor of Business, Columbia Business School
  • Patricia Moraes ’95, Founder and Managing Partner, Unbox Capital
  • Alan Murray, CEO, Fortune Media
  • Shiva Rajgopal, Roy Bernard Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing; Chazen Senior Scholar, Columbia Business School
  • Aniket Shah, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Sustainability Research, Jefferies Group LLC; Assistant Adjunct Professor, Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs
  • Robert Smith ’20, Director, Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism; Host, NPR’s Planet Money
  • Shazi Visram ’04, Founder, Happy Family, and Founder and CEO, Healthybaby


March 19, 2021

Globalization: Where Do We Go from Here?

This wide-ranging conversation provided answers to pressing questions facing global business today as well as advice for those leading operations globally, including:

  • What is the future of the World Trade Organization? There’s not much that Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor Emeritus of Asset Management, and Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and University Professor, agree on. But when it comes to the WTO, both say that fundamental change is needed. Stiglitz stresses that the body should change its unanimity rules. Greenwald is pessimistic, even if the rule changes.
  • How has COVID-19 impacted supply chains? It has forced them to adapt. “There’s an increasing flexibility in enabling production to move closer to the consumer,” says Marie Ffolkes, CEO of TriMark USA.
  • Who pays for US-China tariffs? According to research conducted by Chazen Senior Scholar Amit Khandelwal, the US economy lost about $25 billion as a result of the trade war. Khandelwal underscores that “the tariffs were a self-inflicted wound on the US economy.”
  • Has the era of US-China cooperation ended? There’s a new conventional wisdom that cooperation with China has failed. “That’s just historically, totally wrong,” says Robert Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank, US Trade Representative, and Deputy Secretary of State. "The United States can never compete with authoritarian countries by figuring out how much we can close down or close off people, our strength is our openness."
  • How important is ESG to investors? "I don't think today that anybody can be a good investor or have a world-class company if you don't have ESG imbedded in your thinking or embedded in the DNA of the company," answers Henry Kravis, Co-Founder, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kravis.
  • Where are the opportunities for investors? Lulu Chow Wang, CEO of Tupelo Capital Management notes that “wherever there’s great change, seismic change, there’s opportunities for investors.” Bruce Greenwald thinks that the United States is going to be the tiger economy because it’s best at attracting global human resources.