Rafael Alvira, keynote, 4th International Colloquium, Christian Humanism in Business & Economics

Rafael Alvira, keynote, 4th International Colloquium, Christian Humanism in Business & Economics



At IESE’s 4th International Colloquium on Christian Humanism in Business and Economics, Peter Cardinal Turkson (President of the Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace) gave the Opening Keynote (see shot below). [Lower portion of the pic shows him attending the panel which I chaired & in which I presented my paper!]



The last Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. Dr. Rafael Alvira.

Rafael Alvira is Emeritus Professor at the University of Navarra, Pamplona. He has been for many years the Director of the Instituto Empresa y Humanismo (“Institute for Enterprise and Humanism”), Director of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Program for Governance. He is Profesor Extraordinario of the Mendoza University (Argentina) and the University of Montevideo (Uruguay).

CV-Rafael Alvira-JPG

Born in Madrid, Spain, he took up Secondary school studies at the Instituto Nacional “Ramiro de Maeztu” of Madrid. His Tertiary education was in various Universities, mainly at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, and at the University of Navarra. He holds a Licenciate in Philosophy and Letters with Double majors (History and Philosophy)). He finished So­bresaliente cum laude at the University of Navarra, and obtained his Doctorate in Philosophy (Sobresaliente cum laude and Class Valedictorian) at the Complutense de Ma­drid University and Doctorate in Philosophy at the Lateran University in Rome. He spent two years at the University of Münster and another two years at the Lateran University in Rome. He has lived and studied in Austria, France, U.S.A., and England, among others. He became Associate Professor for Metaphysics at the Universidad Com­plutense of Madrid in 1975, and in 1979 he became Full Professor at the State University of La Laguna. He is a Member of many Distinguished Societies. He has been Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. He has published 15 books and more than 300 articles within his specialization.


On speaking of the topic “Does Spirituality Matter in Leading Enterprises?”, Prof. Alvira reminded us that we cannot be truly free if we are not capable of renouncingof accepting limitations. The good leader is one who is capable of renunciation, and thus is capable of deciding in the correct manner, for the sake of the good of the stakeholders. Also, as opposed to contemporary thinking, the leader is the person who obeys most in the organization: a permanent obedience to practical truth. He reminded us of that sure or inevitable limit that we all have: death. Many of us believe in a life hereafter: “To think of living forever in this world is rather boring.” Belief in Christ is transformational: it transforms our capacities, our competencies, our interior life, our soul, and only then does one understand the language of love and of friendship, that the authentic leader is one who exercises the virtues: of respect, generosity, patience…



Since Prof. Alvira’s speech, I’ve been thinking of the word renounce/renunciation and struggling with the sense in which he was using the word renunciar (Spanish). Online dictionaries give us the following:




  1. formally declare one’s abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession).
  2. refuse to recognize or abide by any longer.
  3. declare that one will no longer engage in or support.

If I’m not mistaken, the radical sense in which renunciation was being used was “self-renunciation” and “abandoning oneself”. In the last paragraph of his written speech, we find: “To be a true leader within a system that is structurally not spiritual is of course a difficult task. But if someone is not willing to pay the price, then he ought not to take up the role. And paying the price means something characteristic of the spirit: renunciation.”

Sr. Helen Alford, another one of the Keynote Speakers, put a nice end to the discussion when she commented: “I think your idea of ‘ability to renounce’ really gives completion to the whole idea of leadership being discussed here. Elsewhere, there is so much emphasis on achieving, obtaining, working excellently … but the idea of abandonment is something new, something that puts a final touch to the definition of a true leader.” [not verbatim, but based on my notes]

This idea of abandonment is I think the point Prof. Alvira wanted to make, given that, in answer to a question during the Open Forum “What do we do when we find ourselves in extremely difficult, constraining work circumstances?”, he said: “Two things: (1) Do your best. Persevere. (2) When you can’t anymore, say “AMEN!” I give myself up to God” [or something to this effect].”

I think this would be the notion or sense of renuncia most in line with the “Radical Humanism of Rafael Alvira” 🙂


*To those who were there, and are reading this, please correct me if I’m wrong. Let’s discuss. I hope you’d use the comments space below. THANK YOU.



Ralph Hower HBS

Prof. Ralph Hower (Harvard Business School) collaborated in the setting up of Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE), the business school of the University of Navarre




El 7 de octubre de 1967 tuvo lugar, en el Aula Magna de la Universidad de Navarra, el acto académico de investidura del grado de doctor honoris causa de los Profesores Guilherme Braga da Cruz, de la Universidad de Coimbra —de la que fue Rector—, en Derecho; Willy Onclin, de la Universidad Católica de Lovaina, en Derecho Canónico;Ralph M Hower, de la Universidad de Harvard, en Filosofa y Letras; Otto B. Roegele, Director del Instituto de Ciencias de la Información de la Universidad de Munich, en Filosofa y Letras; Jean Roche, Rector de la Universidad de París, en Ciencias Naturales; y, a título póstumo, a Carlos Jiménez Díaz, de la Universidad Complutense, fundador del Instituto de Investigaciones Médicas de Madrid, en Ciencias Naturales. El Gran Canciller Mons. Escrivá de Balaguer, que presidió la investidura, pronunció el discurso aquí recogido.


On October 7, 1967, at the grand auditorium of the University of Navarre, Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, as Grand Chancellor, presided over the conferral of Doctorates honoris causa on the following persons:


  • Doctor of Laws, Prof. Guilherme Braga da Cruz, University of Coimbra (of which he was Rector);
  • Doctorate in Canon Law, Prof. Willy Onclin, Catholic University of Louvain;
  • Doctorate in Philosophy & Letters, Prof. Ralph M. Hower, of the Harvard Business School;
  • Doctorate in Philosophy & Letters, Prof. Otto B. Roegele, Director of the Institute of Information Sciences, University of Munich;
  • Doctor of Natural Sciences, Prof. Jean Roche, Rector of the University of Paris; and
  • (posthumous) Doctor of Natural Sciences, Prof. Carlos Jiménez Díaz, Universidad Complutense, founder of the Medical Research Institute in Madrid.



Excelentísimos Señores, Dignísimas Autoridades, Ilustre Claustro de esta Universidad, Señoras y Señores:




Luminosa e inmarcesible es la Sabiduría; fácil es de contemplar para quienes la aman y de descubrir por aquellos que la buscan (Sap. VI, 12). Estas inspiradas palabras, que leemos en la Sagrada Escritura, brillan con todo el sentido de su perenne actualidad, en la hora gozosa que vive hoy la Universidad de Navarra.




Consciente de esta responsabilidad ineludible, la Universidad se abre ahora en todos los países a nuevos campos, hasta hace poco inéditos, incorpora a su acervo tradicional ciencias y enseñanzas profesionales de muy reciente origen y les imprime la coherencia y la dignidad intelectual, que son el signo perdurable del quehacer universitario. La Universidad de Navarra se ha esforzado siempre en dar respuesta positiva a tal imperativo de nuestro tiempo, y se honra hoy al acoger en su Claustro de Doctores a dos insignes maestros en estas modernas y actualísimas disciplinas, los Profesores Hower y Roegele.


Aware of this critical responsibility, the University is opening itself up to new fields in all countries -including those hitherto undiscovered and uninvestigated- and has begun incorporating into her curriculum traditional areas of knowledge and professional matters of teaching of recent origin and which imprint upon her university landscape an important intellectual coherence and dignity, which are an enduring sign of the tasks of any university.  The University of Navarre has always exerted effort in giving a positive response to such imperatives of our time, and today honors herself on receiving warmly into her distinguished faculty ranks two very eminent professors -of these modern-day disciplines- Ralph M. Hower and Otto B. Roegele.



El Profesor Ralph M. Hower es un destacado especialista en las Ciencias de la Empresa. Autor de libros y trabajos que le han valido renombre en todo el mundo, en sus estudios aflora siempre el interés por las relaciones humanas en el trabajo, en definitiva la preocupación por el hombre, factor primordial de las actividades económicas y sociales. Con el Profesor Hower y la Escuela de Administración de Empresas de la Universidad de Harvard, la Universidad de Navarra tiene, además, una deuda de gratitud, por la valiosa colaboración que han prestado a los Programas de nuestro Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa. Al honrar al Profesor Hower, rendimos también un homenaje a la gran Universidad de Harvard, de cuyo Claustro nuestro nuevo Doctor es miembro eminente y prestigioso.


Prof. Ralph M. Hower is a well-known and outstanding specialist in the area of the Business Sciences: author of several books, works and publications which have given him renown throughout the world.  In his works, there stand out his great interest in human relations in the workplace, that is, his keen concern for the human person, who is a primordial factor in any economic and social activity.  To Prof. Hower and Harvard Business School, the University of Navarre owes a special debt of gratitude, because it was Prof. Hower who gave valuable contribution to the academic Programs at our Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE).  On honoring Prof. Hower, we likewise render homage to the great Harvard University, among whose ranks our new Doctor is reckoned as an eminent and prestigious member.


A GoogleSearch of “Ralph Hower, Harvard University” reveals the following information:

Ralph M. Hower was a “business historian”, who also specialized in the history of the advertising industry.  He was Editor of the “Business History Review” in the period 1936-1938, and was the Editor of the “Bulletin of the BUSINESS HISTORICAL SOCIETY”.  Among some of his important works are:

  • The history of an advertising agency: N.W.Ayer & Son at work, 1869-1939;
  • History of Macy’s of New York, 1858-1919: Chapters in the evolution of the department store;
  • the journal article “The Boston Conference on Business History” published in the Journal of Economic and Business History, (Vol. 3, 1930-31).


















UNIV Defensa de la vida

UNIV – Pro-vida // Pro-Life


El 9 de mayo de 1974, el Gran Canciller de la Universidad de Navarra presidió la ceremonia de investidura como doctores honoris causa, en Derecho, de Mons. Franz Hengsbach, Obispo de Essen, doctor en Teología por la Universidad de Münster y promotor y Presidente de la Acción «Adveniat» para ayudar a la Iglesia en Hispanoamérica; y en Medicina, del Prof. Jéróme Lejeune, de la Universidad de París. Mons. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer cerró el acto académico, celebrado en el Aula Magna, con el presente discurso.

On 9 May 1974, the Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarre presided over the investiture ceremony in which he conferred the Doctorate honoris causa upon: Msgr. Franz Hengsback, Bishop of Essen (Doctor of Laws), doctoral professor of Theology at the University of Münster and promoter and President of Adveniat in aid of the Church in Latin America; and upon Prof. Jéróme Lejeune, of the University of Paris (Doctor of Medicine). Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer closed the ceremonies at the Auditorium, with the following speech…



En su dilatada labor pastoral, Monseñor Hengsbach ha mostrado con hechos cómo se conjuga la predicación valiente e incansable de la fe, con la atención sacerdotal a los mineros del Ruhr, con la solicitud por la Iglesia en América Latina, y con el estudio riguroso de la Teología y el Derecho Canónico. Y no es casual que su primer escrito, en 1934, versase sobre la defensa de la vida, frente a criterios aberrantes que se abrían paso por entonces en su patria.

In his long pastoral work, Msgr. Hengsbach has shown with deeds how he combined a courageous and untiring preaching of the Faith, with his Priestly attention to the miners at Ruhr, as well as his concern for the Church in South America, along with his rigorous study of Theology and Canon Law.  And it was not mere chance that his first publication in 1934 would dwell on the topic of the defense of life, in the face of aberrant criteria that were being introduced in his fatherland during his time.


La firme defensa de la vida humana ha llevado al mundo entero el nombre del Profesor Lejeune, de la Universidad de París, a quien la Ciencia universal reconoce unánimemente como uno de sus primeros y más altos investigadores en Genética, esa aventura maravillosa del entendimiento humano, que indaga el origen inmediato de la vida, y la lleva a su plenitud mediante los recursos descubiertos en el oficio inventivo y paciente del laboratorio y de la clínica.

The firm defense of human life has made famous in the entire world the name of Professor Lejeune, of the University of Paris, whom the world of Science recognizes unanimously as one of its first and highest researchers on Genetics, that wonderful adventure of human knowledge, which inspects the very origin of life: he has brought this field to its fullness through his unearthing of resources via his inventive, painstaking and patient work at the laboratory and the medical clinic.


Aquí en este enlace se comparten varios sitios donde se encontrarán material precioso sobre la campaña PRO-VIDA (inglés y español)


In the following link you’d find wonderful material and links in relation to this all-important PRO-LIFE campaign:




We’ve also created the following site so you may be aware of the economic arguments in favor of LIFE and FAMILY:




¡A por la VIDA y la FAMILIA!

YES to Life! YES to Family!