Experience Japan’s Omotenashi: INSEAD Alumni Forum Asia 2015 – Tokyo


From 20 to 22 November, the INSEAD Alumni Forum Asia was held in Tokyo, Japan. The Japan Alumni Association (IAAJ), under the leadership of its President Hiroshi Nonomiya, MBA ’81, mobilised the best of Japan to host an unforgettable experience for alumni and friends from around the world. An INSEAD event of this magnitude has not taken place in Japan since 2002.

With the help of the School the event gathered nearly 300 alumni, partners and delegates from 30 countries for an amazing weekend. It was a very rewarding experience for the organisers to showcase Japan to fellow INSEADers and also, to bring a bit of INSEAD to Tokyo!

The event started on Friday, 20th November with corporate and cultural visits to local sake and beer breweries. But certainly the climax of that Friday was the blessing ceremony and welcome drinks organised in the former Shoguns Zojoji temple. The stunning scenery at night reflected the essence of Japan’s particular mix of tradition and modernity. After Dean Mihov’s welcome toast, female Japanese drummers entertained the audience. Alumni then enjoyed open dinners around Tokyo and discovered the local food culture.

In parallel, a leaders’ dinner was organised to strengthen the bonds between the School and local partners, supporters and community.

Saturday 21st November full scale event
From early morning, more than 200 alumni gathered at the 49th floor of Roppongi Hills to share and learn more about “Navigating the waves of change”, the theme for this year’s Forum, with Professor Narayan Pant as conference navigator.

Distinguished speakers from diverse backgrounds engaged in passionate debate covering the following themes:

  • Beyond the limits to growth – new ideas for sustainability from Japan
  • The challenges of globalisation in Asia
  • Diversity
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship panels

In addition, INSEAD faculty members provided insights on:

  • Lifelong learning at the top: Hurdles and Hacks by Professor Manzoni
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship by Professor Sosa
  • Exercising leadership judgment: The real role of leadership by Professor Pant

speakers AFA

In accordance with INSEAD’s open culture, numerous frank discussions took place during the day.

To highlight INSEAD’s extensive reach beyond academics and leadership, the forum also gave young alumni who have embarked on entrepreneurial journeys the opportunity to share their experiences.

The gala party!
The gala party was held at the stunning National Art Center. Alumni and their partners enjoyed delicious Japanese food and listened to a rare performance of Japanese traditional music (flute and koto). All of this helped create a magical atmosphere.

For those who still wanted to continue all night, an after party was organised at the top lounge of the ANA Intercontinental.

Sunday 22nd November social networking
A bay cruise along the Sumida River towards Tokyo Bay helped those in need of fresh air! This was followed by a networking buffet lunch at the ANA Intercontinental Tokyo, our hospitality partner for the Forum.

By all accounts, everyone who attended the Forum weekend found it positive and meaningful. It was a time of reunion, exploration, debate and discussion. Participants took away new insights and ideas during their stay in Japan.

We would like to extend our thanks to all members who made this event so successful. The support we received from the School was instrumental. A special mention to Professor Narayan Pant, Conference navigator who was heavily involved in all aspects of this fantastic event.

We look forward to keeping the momentum going in 2016 and further expand the contributions of the Japan alumni chapter to demonstrate “Business as a Force for Good”.

For further information or materials on the Forum please refer to the event website: http://events.insead.edu/alumni-forum-asia/programme/saturday

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