The Akio Matsumura Chair
In 2005 the Board of the World Business Academy voted to create a chair for the renowned diplomat Akio Matsumura, who has dedicated his life to building bridges between government, business, and spiritual leaders in the cause of world peace. (This page is also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish)
The Intent of the Matsumura Chair: To apply in the private sector the talents and contacts developed in 30 years’ success in international diplomacy, in the resolution of a major problem confronting a multinational corporation. To develop a framework for an integral approach to a seemingly intractable transcultural challenge involving strategic, financial, and spiritual considerations.
|About the Chair, in Akio’s own words…
My goal is to assist corporations to successfully deal with the very difficult problems of change in our current world environment.
All of us are trying to prosper in a fluid, ambiguous marketplace. We all are negotiating our way through the tensions created by conflicting sets of stakeholders. But only some organizations are discovering an ability to move forward with confidence, based on a clear sense of spirit and purpose. My goal is to establish long-term relationships with a small number of business organizations.
Within such a relationship I believe I can provide counsel to senior management regarding approaches to problems that might seem overwhelming or unsolvable.
As the world enters the 21st century the emphasis in relationships is shifting from transactions to an emphasis on ethics, values, and spirituality. It is becoming a world in which culture and spirituality should not merely be acknowledged but become the cornerstone of business practices. I believe I can serve as a guide and mediator on this path for businesses as well as governments and NGOs.
For over 30 years I have been finding ways to address the most difficult of problems. At one time or another I have tackled the issues of world peace, population explosion, hunger and religious/ethnic conflict.
In my own way, based on my personal life experiences, I have found hope and courage where others have not. I have found ways to bring people together to find common purpose. In part this is because I have been fortunate to live in both the Eastern and Western traditions, and to enjoy the friendship of many people from all corners of the world.
This has been possible because I place high importance on seeking the “spiritual” elements in these problems, not only the practical ones. People in influential positions often choose to be advocates only for their own views, but I know they are eager to rise above those narrow positions when given a chance.
No truly important problem can be put right unless the decision makers are grounded in the spiritual dimensions of their work. There is an inevitable tension between realism and idealism in this world. The easy problems are being solved by technical experts. To work on the tensions associated with the deeper conflicts requires making spiritual dimensions relevant to the problem solving process.
As Akio Matsumura creates the new role of a cross-cultural advisor in the world of business, Linwood Fredericksen, former executive at Rotary International, has written an erudite appraisal of such a position.