From 24 to 26 March 2017, Oporto, the business capital of the north of Portugal, provided the stage for a very special INSEAD Alumni event.
For the first time, the Boards of the INSEAD National Alumni Associations in Portugal and Spain planned and implemented a joint event for their members and friends.
The event saw more than 120 people from both countries gather in the historic city. Among the participants were several business and political leaders from Portugal and Spain, INSEAD Professor of Strategy Javier Gimeno, the INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA) executive committee, led by IAA President Sadia Khan MBA’95D, and representatives from the school, headed by Austin Tomlinson, Director of Alumni Relations at INSEAD.
Following a private reception on Friday evening for early arrivers, there was a welcome cocktail and dinner at the scenic Praia da Luz Restaurant, located where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The cocktail was followed by a welcome message by Eduardo Moradas MBA’94J, President of the NAA Portugal, Cristobal Alonso MBA’00D, President of the NAA Spain, and Sadia Khan.
The next day, participants were treated to a city tour around the main neighbourhoods of the city, including the historic centre and the Ribeira neighborhood near the Douro River.
Next, during a cruise on the Douro River where the group saw the city from a different perspective, participants learned about the importance of the river in the history and economy of the city.
The city tour and cruise was followed by lunch at the Restaurant of Museum of Discoveries, where they learned about the several centuries of maritime discoveries of both Portuguese and Spanish people.
That afternoon the group attended a conference entitled: “Globalisation: What´s the future in the current world context? What will be the impact in Portugal and Spain?” The event was held at the historic building of the Cellars of Casa Ferreirinha in Gaia, where the famous Port wine used to be produced and stored.
The conference had several speakers, among them Professor Javier Gimeno, Carlos Gomes da Silva, CEO of GALP Energia, the largest company in Portugal, José Sainz Armada MBA’84D, CFO of Iberdrola, one of the main Energy companies in Spain, and Sadia Khan.
This was followed by a debate moderated by Javier Gimeno and questions from the audience.
After the conference there was a guided tour of the Cellars of Casa Ferreirinha, including wine tasting, followed by dinner.
For many, the evening did not stop there, with several participants visiting trendy bars in Oporto to experience the city’s nonstop “movida”.
On Sunday morning there was a guided tour to the Gardens of Serralves Foundation and a private guided visit to the painter Joan Miró’s exhibition “Materiality and Metamorphosis”. This was followed by brunch, after which everyone went their separate ways.
The IAA executive committee used the opportunity of this alumni get-together to organise their meeting in Oporto, which took place on Friday.
The Portuguese and the Spanish Alumni Associations would like to thank all participants, the school and the IAA Ex-co for their enthusiastic support of this event.
A special thanks also to the joint Organising Committee, led by José Fortunato MBA’94J, and Luís Melo INTAL’07Nov, who both did an incredible job.
The Iberian weekend will be repeated next year in Spain. We hope to see you there!