The eighteenth World Congress of the Academy for Global Business Advancement’s (AGBA) was held in Istanbul, Turkey from July 2 to July 4, 2022. Researchers over 30 countries presented more than 160 papers at the conference with themes related to globalization, trade, and digitization. This included delegates from countries like the USA, India, Indonesia, UAE, Afghanistan, Thailand, Kenya, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Bangladesh, Finland, Vietnam, Pakistan, Malaysia, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, South Africa, Egypt, New Zealand, Uganda, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, UK, Oman, and Nigeria, among various other nations.
The conference started with the keynote speech by Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak. He talked about the interconnectedness of international trade with peace, politics, and conflicts. He emphasized that commonalities in expectation of the youth across the world and highlighted how this is an outcome of globalization. He also said while globalization has largely resulted in benefits for the world, it does have some negative externalities such as widening gaps between rich and poor, environmental change, and new diseases. He said these must be owned by the large economic powers.
The conference had two major panel discussions. The first panel discussion had the theme, "Is Globalization Helping or Hurting the World. We Cannot Undo Globalization, but We Can Improve it". The panel was chaired by Prof. Dheeraj Sharma and had eminent panelists such as Prof. Dana-Nicoleta Lascu (Professor, University of Richmond, USA), Prof. Vincent Chang (President and Vice-Chancellor, Brac University, Bangladesh), Dr Hamdan AL-Fazari (President and Vice-Chancellor, Sohar University, Oman), Prof. Fevzi Okumus (Professor, University of Central Florida, USA), Prof. Salem Al-Ghamdi (Professor, KFUPM, Saudi Arabia), Prof. Cihan Cobanoglu (Dean, University of South Florida), and Dr Minh-Tri Ha (Vice Dean, School of Business, International University, Vietnam National University).
The panel discussed in detail various effects of globalization on the world economy. The panel discussed various ways in which globalization has brought development to the world. It contributes to the exchange of goods, services and, above all, the dissemination of ideas across countries and societies. It compels businesses to adapt to different strategies based on new ideas, trends, and technologies. It creates opportunities for investments, developing stronger institutions, educated workforce, and sound economic conditions globally. However, these opportunities are not without any risks, especially arising from volatile capital movements. The discussion also talked about various movements against Globalization that were motivated by the populist thoughts of protectionism. The rise in protectionism in the US has impacted economic activities globally both through direct and indirect trade. It resulted in global crisis. As protectionism increases, the food crisis hits the world. Thus, Russia-Ukraine crisis is a result of such trade wars. Prof. Dana-Nicoleta Lascu said that customers have the responsibility to discourage protectionism and enhance Corporate Social Responsibility. Here, she categorically stressed upon the delivery of reasonably priced products to the needy. Protectionism curbs consumption, said Prof Dana. She further talked about how monopolistic corporations start controlling global politics. When corporations access monopoly, they exercise public power and put their own interest above public’s interest.
The panel discussion also deliberated about how globalization has been associated with rising inequality where poor do not always share in the gains from trade. The less wealthy countries and organizations may not have highly accentuated effects of globalization. It may also increase the risk of failures for smaller companies and economies. Prof. Salem Al-Ghamdi mentioned that today’s global trade cannot be viewed in isolation. Countries examine economic and non-economic issues together to evaluate outcomes of global trade. Finally, the panel came to consensus with the opinion that globalization is there to stay and grow. However, the world can reap its benefits more effectively and efficiently with better measures. World requires more resilient, legitimate, and beneficial systems on a global platform. More and more countries can be integrated into the global economy by breaking down regulatory, cultural, and societal barriers. The international community needs to focus on strengthening the international financial system, through trade, and through aid that may help the poorest countries integrate into the world economy, eventually aiming to grow rapidly and reduce poverty. That is the way to ensure that all sections of the society globally can benefit from the effects of globalization. Prof. Dheeraj Sharma finally said that protectionism must be discouraged but, at the same time, developed countries must bear a bigger load to equalize the outcomes of trade between nations. Developed nations have to be more magnanimous
The topic for the second panel discussion was "Non-Standard Approaches to Peace Building and Normalizing International Trade in Afghanistan". The panelists included Ms. Farkhanda Zahra Naderi (Afghan Politician and Women's Right Activist), Mr. Faiz Zaland (Political Commentator and faculty at Kabul University, Afghanistan), and Mr. Wais Barmak (Former Minister of Interior of Afghanistan). Prof. Dheeraj Sharma chaired the panel.
Ms Naderi emphasized on the importance of including women in the process of peace in Afghanistan. She further said that the Taliban must bring back women into the workforce of the public sector. They may do so in a phased manner. To begin with, they may give work from home opportunities to women for the next six months till then they must work to create infrastructure in public sector offices for women to work. Women in the workforce will only add to the economic activity of the state of Afghanistan. Without this the society will remain at strife.
Mr Zaland apprised about Afghanistan's human development index, poverty and acute food shortage. He mentioned that peace and trade (economic development) are indispensable requirements of any state or nation. Afghanistan's peace and stability is based on domestic and international economic progress and investment, therefore, we convince the international community to support economic development and investment in Afghanistan to bring peace to the region and world. “India has been committed to a significant relationship with the people of Afghanistan. India provides humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the form of food grains, COVID vaccinations, and essential lifesaving drugs. Over 12 million tons of wheat and 5 lakh COVID vaccines have been sent to Afghanistan this year”, he added.
Mr. Barmak started the discussion by informing the audience of the complex situation in Afghanistan. Community driven development through democratic practices and development aid contributed to sustainable peace building in Afghanistan, which can be considered one of the non- standard approaches to peace building in modern history of Afghanistan. It provided an interactive space for communities to collaborate with each other and resolve their differences through non-violence means. Consensus democracy is the political model through which Afghanistan would achieve sustainable peace, security, stability and prosperity. Hence, the discussion had a concurrent view that democracy for Afghanistan is essential for its progress and Indian democracy can serve as a role model in this direction. Prof. Sharma highlighted the need for non-standard approaches to deal with the Afghanistan crisis in which regional countries must play leading roles. The dispensation in Afghanistan will need to make more accommodations for building trust with those who have invested in its development. Particularly, Afghanistan must engage the well-educated Human Resources that were developed in the last twenty years to capitalize on infrastructure built in the last twenty years.
The discussion concluded with the view that the world has a responsibility to help Afghanistan become a better nation and trade can become the required impetus in this direction. Further, globalization will lead to an exchange of ideas, such as democracy. It can allow Afghanistan to move towards assimilation in the world order. In addition, the panel unanimously suggested that non-standard trade routes be explored. Particularly, trade through Chabahar port could fasten the delivery of aid and increase velocity of trade in the entire region. Thus, trade through Chabahar may be the key to stability in South and Central Asia. In conclusion, India, Turkey, and the US can play a significant role to bring stability in Afghanistan.
The conference also had twenty Faculty Development Workshops on various topics related to research on globalization. Wide varieties of research papers were presented over a three days conference on topics like innovation management, IT capabilities, healthcare, cyber security, consumer behavior, sustainability, among others. The AGBA board conferred the "Distinguished Global Thought Leader" award on Prof. Dheeraj Sharma for his vision and efforts in the direction of making a positive contribution to the democratization of trade and nations.