Have you seen the latest international development meme – a
satirical video that calls attention to the negative stereotypes that run
rampant in well-meaning development appeals? It’s called "Africa for Norway”
and it features young Africans singing and collecting radiators to help the
people of Norway handle the cold. (check it out below)
I watched it. I
laughed. And then I started
thinking. Specifically, I starting
thinking about how it’s not just the videos and news coverage that are
stereotyping Africans, it’s often aid groups themselves that don’t see the
people they are helping as part of the solution.
It’s one of the reasons I am so proud to be working for the
Global Business School Network. GBSN’s
core concept is that Africa and other developing nations can and are building
their economies and raising the standard of living. Our model brings people together from
"developed” and "developing” nations to strengthen management education for the
developing world. And we very quickly
learned that the expertise and knowledge didn’t just go one way when we brought
educators together. Cross-border
collaboration benefits everyone in the equation. As I watched the Africans in the video
collecting radiators for their poor neighbors to the north I could not help
thinking about the many lessons that developing world schools in our network
have brought to the table.
I love that the goal of GBSN is to build local capacity to
develop native talent, instead of continuing the unsustainable practice of
importing managers and relying on foreign universities to train young leaders
abroad. Our work is truly helping to
ensure a brighter future for all.
Through GBSN developing countries can build and institutionalize the
tools they need to prepare their people to build businesses, deliver services
and run agencies. Instead of focusing on
the poverty, GBSN focuses on the rampant opportunity, energy and aptitude in
the developing world.
Watching this video brought into focus for me exactly why
GBSN is thriving after nearly a decade.
It’s because it approaches international development from a perspective
of abundance instead of one of poverty.
I’m so excited to come together with all of our network members and
partners next June in Tunisia to explore how we can go even further to build
employment and entrepreneurship opportunity through management education.
Page Schindler Buchanan is the Communications and Media Officer for GBSN.