STI President Carlos Cavallé Named Doctor Honoris Causa by Panamerican University

12 Oct 2018

The Panamerican University (UP) awarded Carlos Cavallé the honorary doctorate on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Excerpts from his acceptance speech follow.

The honor bestowed on me today awakes again my keen awareness of the privilege it has been for me to invest the better part of my professional life in the service of the institution of the university.

The university and the world of business are full of challenges and satisfactions. To be able to help people all over the world – whether university students or businesspeople and managers - to prepare themselves to better practice their professions has been fascinating work. 

Businesses and universities are two of the pillars necessary for the progress of a dynamic society. The university generates and disseminates concepts and techniques to which businesses add value through their services.

The university continues to be recognized as one of the institutions that has contributed- and can contribute - most to social progress through the completion of its mission. Contemplating the university today, it’s worth considering which aspects, in addition to excellence, deserve particular attention if we want to fortify the very essence of the university.

Freedom of expression is essential for the progress of the day to day workings of the university both in research and in cultural or institutional activities.

¿How have universities reacted to the loss of freedom of expression? Groups of senior professors have signed a manifesto that insists on the right of all people – professors and students – to express themselves freely while always respecting the freedom of others in an open and rational dialogue.

It is not enough to want open, respectful dialogue. It must be learned. In a world of rapid social and technological change, and through social media, people make decisions and adopt positions fast. We must create an open climate in which dialogue begins with a sincere desire to understand the problems of others, respecting them as people and acknowledging that intellectual enrichment begins with understanding what others have to say. 

I’ve said I would mention the second pillar for making a society dynamic: business. Businesses are among the most social institutions that exist. To reach their goals, business people must exert themselves and sacrifice, bringing together men and women of different ages, interests, education, nationality, etc, and motivating them to work together well to achieve shared aims compatible with their individual goals. Business, when it is productive, profitable and viable, as any business should be – that is to say, when the business is well organized – is the best institution that can best contribute to the economic and social development of every country in the world. 

A country’s best resources are its people. The worst catastrophes occur when people in positions of responsibility and power fail to act in accordance with the values that good universities and good businesses embody. Therefore, my message is that in the business and the university worlds, we have the duty to react rationally, vigorously and quickly if we want to help preserve the values that underlie the institutions that have the most important roles in the progress and prosperity of society. 

 

Read the full text in the original Spanish.