The 2014 EFMD Annual Conference was officially opened by Barbara Sporn, Vice Rector & Conference Chair at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business. She thanked everyone for their participation in the organising of the event and the large number of delegates that were participating.
Eric, Cornuel, General Director of EFMD, stated that over 450 people were attending. This made it the largest ever annual conference with 40 additional members. He thanked the Rector and the Vice Rector for their warm welcome at the beautiful new university campus at WU. He also thanked the conference sponsors and the participants for their presence.
Citing a friend and his difficulty in learning to windsurf, he stated ‘Being a critic is easy, being an artist is more difficult.” Academia, claimed Mr. Cornuel, should adhere this advice and try to adopt an innovative approach to pedagogy. He wished everyone a wonderful and successful conference.
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Christoph Badelt, Rector at WU, gave a brief explanation concerning the concept of the new university. WU is not the largest university in Vienna, he said, but still has 22 000 students with 14 master programmes. It has 11 departments and 14 research institutes.
The new campus is larger than 12 soccer fields and cost 492 millions euros. The building stayed within costs and was delivered on time. It was designed as a special learning experience.
The philosophy behind the campus is that research and teaching are central to academic life. The administrative offices are at the end of the campus with teaching and learning being put in the centre. The campus was designed by 6 architects to give the feel of a town.
It would have been a mistake to have it built by one architect, as it would have taken away the symbol of diversity. WU is also proud of its close ties to the business world. It needsto keep this.
The campus is a space for social and cultural life of the city and is therefore open to everyone. The entire campus was designed on green principles. 70% of the energy is sustainable.
This new campus symbolises the change, he said. The public money that went into the building is a challenge and an opportunity to meet the challenges of the future. The campus has been built to help people think about new and innovative solutions to the world.
« Enjoy your conference and Vienna. » he concluded.