The Graduate School of Business Administration will launch a series of conversations about geopolitics and business on Friday, Jan. 13, at King’s College in London.

The event, which will examine how the relationship between Israel and Turkey could affect the global business climate, is the first in the series “The Future of Business: America in a New World,” which will take place in locations around the globe.

That conversation will continue on March 30 in Istanbul, on June 8 in New York City and on June 22 in Jerusalem.

The gatherings will link roughly 30 experts in politics, academia and business, including Fordham professors, alumni and business professionals. They are designed to spark debate about how business leaders can better understand and respond to shifting cultural and political movements.

Moreover, the series is positioned to encourage reflection on the role of the United States in the new century. As American business dominated commerce and finance for most of the 20th century, it now pursues its agenda in a context of rapidly emerging new players with shifting relationships among states.

“So, an overarching question to consider is, ‘How are the leaders of American business to prepare themselves for the responsibilities of guiding their enterprises in the brave new world of the 21st century?’” said David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration.

“What should they know and what should they do as their enterprises act as instruments to create and distribute wealth? What must they know and do in order to cause no harm?”

Turkey and Israel are ideal subjects with which to begin this kind of conversation, Gautschi said.

“Both nations have strong ties to the United States, and although Israel has deeper cultural ties in the U.S., Turkey’s global standing has risen dramatically recently,” he said. “Many of the participants in the Arab Spring uprisings cite it as a role model for Middle Eastern countries.”

The relationship between the two nations has been strained, in part due to disagreements over Israel’s dealings with Palestinians.

Given the sensitive nature of the conversations, and to promote a spirit of open dialogue, “The Future of Business” series will be open only to invited guests. Conversations at the four venues will be videotaped and incorporated into a documentary case series for use in GBA and other business school curricula.

Friday’s conversation will feature these principal contributors:

Nick Butler, visiting fellow and chair of the King’s Policy Institute at King’s College;
Dominique Moïsi, Ph.D., a French political scientist, writer and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schools of Business at Fordham;
William Park, senior lecturer in the Department of Defence Studies at King’s College;
Avi Shlaim, Ph.D., fellow of St. Antony’s College and professor of international relations at the University of Oxford; and
Jonathan Story, Ph.D., emeritus professor of international political economy at INSEAD and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schools of Business at Fordham.

Fordham faculty members taking part include: Iftekhar Hasan, Ph.D., the Corrigan Chair in International Business and Finance, and Dawn Lerman, Ph.D., area chair and associate professor of marketing.

Gautschi said the goal of the inaugural event is to help senior business executives who are facing strategic choices interpret the signals that are coming from what is a quickly evolving story.

“There are two players here that are very important to the U.S., and may be following different agendas. They could reach some kind of accommodation, or could find themselves in direct conflict. So it is incumbent on us to try to educate people,” he said.

“This is a very sensitive topic, especially the United States’ relationship with Israel, which is special. But we can’t be afraid, as a Jesuit University, to address the pertinent questions.”

Other series discussing the evolving geopolitical and business importance of China, India, Europe, Brazil and South Africa are in the planning stages.

In all the talks, Gautschi said, the goal is to get major players in business to see the world as best they can through other people’s eyes. Participants may come to different conclusions, but at least they will understand why they disagree.

“Business basically boils down to three questions: What is enterprise? What are markets? And how do you put the two together?” he said.

“Enterprise takes many shapes and forms, subjected to different legal regimes, and different philosophical underpinnings. Markets vary in terms of who can participate, where the market is made, how it is made and what rules govern it—whether they’re formal or informal.”