USD Conference Looks at Adding Peace to the Bottom Line

Peace and commerce are not often considered related but a group of international experts will explore the link at a University of San Diego conference from Oct. 3 to 5.

The “Leadership for Peace and Prosperity Conference” will explore the idea that “peace and commerce can be mutually reinforcing and complementary,” said Steve Conroy, USD professor of economics and Faculty Director of USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce.

Business leaders from San Diego and around the world are invited to attend the event to discuss the interconnectedness and interdependence of business and peace. “On the one hand, business can promote peace and prosperity, “ said Denise Dimon, USD professor and Director of USD’s Ahlers Center for International Business. “On the other hand, having a peaceful, non-violent society also can lead to greater business development and prosperity.”

USD’s conference will bring practitioners from both the business and the academic worlds to share best practices, the latest scholarship and insight on the dynamic connections between conflict, violence, sustainable peace and business.

Speakers include Steve Killelea, a successful Australian high-tech entrepreneur who has also established the Institute for Economics and Peace and the Global Peace Index. "Business leaders intrinsically understand that there is a relationship between business, peace, growth in markets and improvements in cost,” he said. “Yet there is little research that incorporates changes in peace in their strategic business planning."

Other speakers include Molly Gavin, senior director at Qualcomm Inc.; David Stephens, special advisor to the Grameen Foundation and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus; Vidal Garza, director of the FEMSA Foundation in Mexico and other business leaders.

The public is invited to attend the conference on the morning of Friday, Oct. 4. to hear from speakers and several panels. The panels will cover topics from impact investing, extractive industries and the community, as well as how organizations are supporting sustainable local business development. There is no charge to attend the Friday morning event. To learn more and register, go to

The conference continues on Friday afternoon and Saturday where academics have been invited to submit papers on topics such as the role businesses can play in developing a more peaceful society, conducting business in zones of conflict and post-conflict areas, and current practices involving businesses in peace efforts and other subjects.

The University of San Diego’s Center for Peace and Commerce, Ahlers Center for International Business, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, along with the Institute for Economics and Peace, a nonprofit think tank, are co-sponsoring the conference.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Denise Ward
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