Prof. Julia Christensen Hughes, dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE) at the University of Guelph, will speak in the United Nations General Assembly Hall June 25.

She will take part in a session on corporate social responsibility and sustainability that will include officials from the United Nations and leading international companies.

Christensen Hughes will discuss the need to reform business schools and the principles of responsible management education.

She is the only academic invited to speak at the gathering, whose scheduled attendees include Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, and Sam Kutesa, president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Other presenters include the chief executive officer of Nestlé SA; Mary Robinson, UN special envoy for climate change; and Monica de Grieff, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Bogota, Colombia.

“I am absolutely honoured,” Christensen Hughes said. “Our vision is to develop leaders for a sustainable world, and the UN’s principles are core to our business and leadership programs.”

The June 25 gathering follows the 2015 Global Forum for Responsible Management Education, which Christensen Hughes will attend along with U of G faculty and students.

The forum is sponsored by Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact.

Up to 400 university administrators, professors and students are expected to attend, along with representatives from the UN, government, civil society and corporate sustainability leaders.

Organizers hope to share ideas for management educators and businesses to help shape and achieve global development.

Participants will learn about the UN’s new global sustainability development goals and how PRME’s work aligns with the United Nations agenda.

U of G’s business school is now recognized as a PRME “champion” for its dedication to sustainability, Christensen Hughes said.

All B.Comm. students at Guelph take at least one course in corporate social responsibility, and additional material on the subject is included across the curriculum.

“I see this invitation to speak at the UN as further validation of our commitment to this vision,” Christensen Hughes said.

“I am also delighted that I will be joined by several students at the associated conference, who are being recognized for their award-winning work.”

A team of four U of G students – Nicholas Ryfa, Momina Sumbal, Amatulsalam Al-Abassi and Megan Shea — recently placed third in a PRME video competition on how businesses might address the UN’s sustainability goals. Groups of students made videos for the competition as a project in of U of G’s social responsibility course, taught last semester by sessional instructor Ruben Burga.