Under the patronage and presence of H.E. Dr. Mostafa Bayram, Minister of Labor, The Faculty of Business Administration and Economics (FBAE) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) organized a seminar titled, “The Post Covid-19 Impact on Organizations and Individuals,” wherein distinguished guests were invited to offer their perspectives and strategies on adapting to an economy in a post-pandemic world. The seminar was moderated by FBAE Students Jane Zgheib and Nadim Gemayel.
NDU President, Fr. Bechara Khoury, gave the opening address to the audience, citing the vital role that the youth of Lebanon—what he termed “The Covid Generation”—will play in reinvigorating the country’s economy and future, in spite of the present circumstances that are preventing such progress. Fr. Khoury then welcomed H.E. Dr. Mostafa Bayram whose statement included a call-to-action against division, “division is easy”, he said, “but union and connection that lead to the fruit of progress are crucial”. The Minister further reminded the students that the nation can lose everything, except its youthful vigor.
The introductory presentation was that of H.E. Mr. Fadi Abboud, CEO of General Packing Industries, s.a.r.l., and former Minister of Tourism, who spoke of production in Lebanon in light of Covid-19, tracing the roots of productivity to an issue of time management. Mr. Abboud stated that to create a productive economy and society is to recognize that time is essential and fleeting. He then added, “while a productive and wealthy country is admirable, the real achievement is the fruit of intangible wealth: Lebanon’s youth and their ability to adapt”.
Joining the seminar online was Brazilian Dr. Ricardo Vargas, Chief Advocate in the Project Economy, who summarized the economic and social state during the height of the pandemic in the acronym, VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Dr. Vargas highlighted that both businesses and young adults are suffering from these states since they had to adapt to and resume work and campus life in person. As such, Dr. Vargas’ recommendations for sustainable results for both, individuals and organizations, were to unlearn behaviors and customs developed during the pandemic that would impede productivity, and to simplify every project and idea so that it may be implemented, rather than remain in a hesitant and abstract space.
Professor Jassem Ajaka presented on behalf of Dr. Roy Al Asmar about the endeavors of their company, Alusteel, Metallic, and Glazed Facades Group. The efforts were all geared towards creating a framework for productivity to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
Another online guest was Dr. Dan Mitchel, calling in from the USA. Dr. Mitchel is Chairman of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and his presentation offered a perspective of how Americans, particularly in New York, have responded to the pandemic. He says that productivity has risen among New Yorkers since the pandemic began, as it was simple for them to adapt to a work-from-home policy. Some major companies, added Dr. Mitchel, have even opted for a work-from-home modus operandi even after lockdown measures were lifted. Individuals, likewise, are increasingly working for companies abroad from the comfort of their homes, with only an internet connection.
In a similar vein, NDU’s Dr. Ahmad El Zein, professor at the FBAE, discussed the rise of e-commerce in Lebanon. E-commerce’s popularity in Lebanon is predicted to be an enduring mode of business production and consumerism, given its assimilation in to the Lebanese individual’s daily life.