Winners Wings of Excellence In the context of the 39th St.Gallen Symposium on 8 May 2009 the winners of the St.Gallen Wings of Excellence Award have been presented. 8 May 2009. The St. Gallen Symposium is a unique platform that offers 200 outstanding students from all over the world an opportunity to engage in a dialog with today’s decision-makers. The students qualify through the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, a global essay competition with 1000 submissions from 60 countries. A wealth of enriching thoughts submittedIn times of crisis and uncertainty, the St. Gallen Symposium offers young, new voices the possibility of expressing themselves and presenting their ideas and visions to personalities from trade and industry, academia, society and politics. This year, too, a wealth of enriching thoughts on the topic of “The Revival of Political and Economic Boundaries” were submitted. We are pleased to present to you this year’s three winners of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, who all come from widely differing backgrounds: Shofwan Al-Banna Choiruzzad (Indonesia) Shofwan Al-Banna Choiruzzad is studying at the Graduate School of International Relations at the Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan. In 2006, the Education Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia awarded him the honor of Best Student of Indonesia. Quotations from the essay: It is time to learn from the East. In the Western tradition, “rights” are the central theme (take “Human Rights”, “political rights”, “economic rights”, etc. for example). (…)In the East, it is a little bit different: “Harmony” is the central theme. To maintain harmony, responsibility comes first, and the rights will follow. Before asking people our rights, it is important to demonstrate responsibility for others (…). Sometimes, business actors are creating CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) based on international discourse or the advices from high-paid consultants, but forget to be sensitive toward the notion of “insider/outsider”.(…) Thus, the key is simple: Be sensitive toward boundaries, realise our position as outsider, hear the concern of the insiders, engage positively and create harmony. By doing so, the insecurity and fear created by the outside/inside difference will be minimised. The geopolitical trend, accompanied with the global economic crisis, seems to revive boundaries. We can also see it in two ways: obstacle or chance. To make it a positive chance, one should be aware of the nature of boundaries: it emerges from fear and insecurity. Be wise and hear the ones inside the boundaries. A bridge will be there. Jason George (United States of America) Jason George is an MBA Student at the Harvard Business School and has a degree from the Boston School of Business Administration. He worked on a competition for Social Entrepreneurs for the World Bank in Washington. Quotations from the essay: Most executives seem to have dropped the notion of “government as the problem” as they clamour for additional support. But corporations should be wary, as this protection does not come without cost. When considering the balance between retreat and exploration, remember that engagement will help global businesses understand the new rules of the game, allowing them to compete more effectively in the future. Crisis is opportunity, and companies should err on the side of action. Short term fixes can only ensure temporary survival – sustainable competitive advantage requires long-term investment. Managers should see beyond temporary swings, making decisions based on the markets they expect to compete in. The global stock meltdown may even alleviate pressure to show quarterly results, since such metrics are no longer comparable to those of prior years. Aris Trantidis (Greece) Aris Trantidis is studying Law and Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Previously, he was an intern in a research program of the Greek government and of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens. Quotations from the essay: If liberty and prosperity remain at the heart of our preferences, we must be aware that the temporary urge for more state intervention at home shall open up the possibility for arbitrary and discriminatory treatment of business by the government. This would entail the risk of subordinating social groups to relations of dependency on the government. Freer markets allow groups to get the bargaining power and the resources to push for the rule of law and for accountable and limited government. Over the years civil society has achieved tremendous political change principally by its convincing argument of economic effi ciency, or by invoking human rights and constitutional freedoms – the very principles of the original liberal settlement – but most signifi cantly thanks to the resources it has had when taking part in the battle of ideas.