The Baltic Management Development Association (BMDA) is to celebrate its fifth anniversary in May with its AGM and a conference at the BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, writes Kester Eddy.

The BMDA, founded by a handful of business schools in former Soviet-dominated Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2002, has since expanded significantly. Membership is standing at 54 institutions from as far afield as the UK, Switzerland and Georgia.

The conference, entitled “Future of the Region – People Behind the Prosperity”, is expected to attract about 100 attendees and will explore how schools in the region can work together for common prosperity and learn from each other’s experiences, says Virginijus Kundrotas, president of the ISM University of Management and Economics, Lithuania and founding president of the BMDA.

“The Baltic region is not homogeneous. It consists of the wealthy Nordic countries and entrepreneurial new Europe countries, all of which influence each other. During the conference we are going to develop different scenarios regarding where our region is moving and what we should be doing in order to make this move sucessful,” says Prof Kundrotas.

Keynote speakers include international specialists in areas of health, immigration, humanitarian activity and sustainable development, as well as representatives of cross-border communities that have effectively erased national frontiers.

Nicola Hijlkema, vice-rector for international relations at the Estonian Business School (one of the BMDA’s founding members), says she believes Nordic countries are facing several issues that the Baltic States will have to face up to “sooner or later”.

“These include immigration, racism, integration, sinking populations,” adds Prof Hijlkema.

“These questions have an effect on education, on management, political thinking, and on the way we see ourselves in the general scheme of things,” .

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