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Vice-president of the government of Catalonia and president of the Catalunya Món Board of Trustees, Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, called on economic, social and cultural stakeholders yesterday to make “an effort to build Catalonia abroad, making it a well-known and recognizable region around the world.” More than 1,330 people attended the Catalunya Món Forum, held at the Barcelona Auditorium, a symposium to debate and analyze the region’s internationalization process organized by the Government of Catalonia.

Carod-Rovira explained in the inauguration that “Catalonia has always understood internationalization to be an inevitable responsibility, opportunity and vocation.” Sectors like culture, environment, cooperation and business “would be unimaginable without the international action of stateless countries like ours.” The Vice-President highlighted the importance of continued work to project “a region with a solid image and serious people with clear values that are able to work on a global scale.” He also explained that international cooperation must drive economic partnerships, commit to cultural co-productions, drive agreements and networks with state or sub-state governments and participate in international bodies.

Finally, the Vice-President posed the issue of creating a census “of Catalonia’s presence abroad”, meaning a reliable and easily accessible census of the companies that export to and are established abroad, of Catalans that work in international bodies and of bodies that participate in international organizations, among others.

CEO of Repsol YPF, Antoni Brufau, gave the inaugural conference on the Catalan economy and its journey from internationalization to globalization. The CatalunyaMón Forum agenda continued with three round tables, in which participants included managing director of Abertis and the Economic Circle, Salvador Alemany; corporate deputy director general of ESADE, Eugènia Bieto; architect Bendetta Tagliabue; and many councilors and politicians.

Optimism with a conscience

Manel Balcells, president of the Biocat Executive Committee, moderated the round table entitled Intensive innovation and knowledge: tools for the future, during which he explained that it is “key to invest in research so that Catalonia will have opportunities and perspectives for the future.” Other participants in the round table included Andreu Mas-Collell, secretary general of the European Research Council and president of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics; Pedro Nueno, president of the Shanghai/Beijing CEIBS and professor at IESE; Antoni Esteve, president of the Esteve pharmaceutical company; and Màrius Rubiralta, secretary general of Universities for the Ministry of Education.

Màrius Rubiralta defended his belief that it is not necessary to devote more time to creating road maps, "because we already have them", and reminded the audience of the steps the Government has taken in this direction to encourage research and innovation. Although we are in a time of austerity, “we must make an effort not to undo what we have put so much effort into building.” Rubiralta also argued the importance of public/private partnerships to foster R&D.

Andreu Mas-Colell expressed his opinion, saying, “young, energetic talent and structures attract resources, but we must be patient” and warned that the system is fragile because it is new. According to Mas-Colell, economic participation from the State “is essential, although we are far from neutral localization of knowledge.”

Pedro Nueno defended Catalonia’s potential, “which is well positioned with regard to business schools that opted to go global years ago.” He explained that he is convinced that the region’s model has strengths that Americans have lost and that have not yet been built in other areas. He pointed out “the importance of values, which don’t appear in any rankings, but are extremely strong points.”

Antoni Esteve believes that interest in science and technology must be encouraged and fostered. “We must create a dynamic to avoid hitting a road block.” “Catalonia is a competitive society in research” –he specifically mentioned the biomedical sector–, however “competitive companies must be located in societies that are competitive in knowledge because businesses can no longer hope to manage research internally.” Therefore, he believes that excellence is not generated internally, but that a project’s environment allows it to be successful.

Conferences and conclusions from the round tables.


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