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The story of GBO – Global Business Opportunities Italy


The first two CSR commitments, which our Community experienced were really unique and involving: GBO program with CSR Al Ahli Holding Group, and Special Olympics.
The GBO programme, an outstanding learning and life experience designed by Al Ahli Holding Group CSR division, took place in Italy for the first time since its foundation. LUISS Business School hosted the event in Rome, and greeted participants from Italy, Argentina, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, present with Khalifa University of Abu Dhabi delegation.
The aim of the initiative is to give groups of 25-30-year-old students from different countries and cultures the tools to identify business opportunities and develop entrepreneurial skills. GBO 2016 was born in cooperation between the CSR Division of Al Ahli Holding Group, based in Dubai, LUISS Business School, and our Alumni Association. The programme gives its participants the opportunity to meet top business and academic leaders, to visit major local businesses of the hosting country, and to widen network in an international environment. The final aim is to provide students with knowledge and tools to realise their own business ideas generating high social impact, while bridging the gap between the Arab Region and other cultures. The first sessions of the programme took place at LUISS Business School, where, among other speakers Olivier Lavinal, the World Bank’s Advisor to Vice President in the MENA Region held a session on business strategy and social impact.
After a few days, the class moved to Spoleto (in the Italian region of Umbria) thanks to the cooperation with its City Hall, which gave the patronage to the initiative. The aim was to leverage on an outdoor concept and the experiential path, and to allow the students to strongly focus on their commitment. They lived an intense experience through lectures, real business cases, business visits to companies such as Monini Olive Oil and Urbani Truffles, and cultural nights.
After the first sessions, the class started to work in teams. Each team developed a business plan with the support of the programme mentors. The 9 teams presented their projects to the judges that assessed innovation, sustainability, and the plan’s capability to generate a high social impact.
The programme was definitely a success and the commitment of the Alumni as speakers gave a great added value because of their business experience on the topics. GBO Italy was a win-win event for everybody: the students, the LUISS Business School delegation, the partners, and for the Alumni Association that organised the programme with speakers. But without any doubt the most relevant feature of the programme was the high commitment to cultural integration and social growth. “Instead of fighting and struggling, you are the most powerful proof of how people may be in peace, and that brotherhood really exists. You are a good hope for our future since you are good leaders,” said Paolo Boccardelli, Dean of LUISS Business School.
The other great commitment of our Community was related to the cooperation we started with Special Olympics, the world’s greatest sports organisation uniting athletes of all ages, having intellectual disabilities. During the event at the Stadium of Domitian in the heart of Rome, we had the pleasure and honor to host Timothy Shriver, the President of Special Olympics, a Kennedy family member.
The international organisation, founded in 1968, unites approximately 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than a million coaches and volunteers, the Special Olympics offers to its athletes an opportunity to play 32 sports disciplines participating in more than 81,000 competitions a year. Every day and all around the world, the organisation speaks for the human spirit, emphasising the power of change and the joy of doing sports. With its contribution to sports, health, training and education of different communities, the Special Olympics tackles inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation, encouraging and supporting the people with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the organisation is to create a more hospitable and inclusive society.
The event was opened by Maurizio Romiti, the President of Special Olympics Italy, and Leonardo Iacovelli, the Managing Director of BLSA Qatar, a partner of the initiative. Francesco Rullani, the Head of ERS Hub at LUISS University, based on his professional experience, talked about the role of sports and education in youth development, while I had an opportunity to highlight the commitment of the Alumni Community in that respect. In fact, the Alumni Community of LUISS Business School has been planning to support the spirit of the Special Olympics, empowering the connection between sports and education in particular, as well as establishing a cooperation with the organisation: the Alumni would participate in the sports events creating mixed teams with special athletes. Timothy Shriver on his part gave the participants a speech on the experience of the Special Olympics in the world, as well as on the example of sports as a fundamental mean in spreading values, such as integration and development, contributing to improve the life of special athletes and their families.
We aim to engage our community to contribute to important social issues.


Edoardo Magnotta - MBA 2011
Head of Alumni Network Development at LUISS Business School