IESE is the University of Navarra Business School, with its main campus in Barcelona. On June 11 a conference was held at the School's Madrid campus for the centenary of Alvaro del Portillo's birth, who was the University's Chancellor for almost 20 years. Entitled “The management of companies and the transformation of society," the roundtable recalled the guidance given by the soon to be Blessed Alvaro del Portillo to beginning a wide variety of social initiatives all over the world, including hospitals, farm schools and technical institutes, and his impetus for executive training programs that would help make the Church's social doctrine and its concern for the poor more widely known.
Taking part in the roundtable were Profs. Carlos Cavallé, Antonio Argandoña y Alberto Ribera from the IESE Business School, along with the director of the School Jordi Canals.
The three professors recalled personal encounters with the future blessed, who was St. Josemaria's first successor at the head of Opus Dei. “I had the opportunity to accompany him," said Alberto Ribera, “on a trip to the Philippines and Congo, and I remember how moved he was to see such great social inequality in those places. He urged us to get underway initiatives that would provide basic education to the young people and also help form generous business people who would have a true concern for the common good."
Antonio Argandoña spoke about “his optimism and love for freedom, with the need to foster everyone's right to take part in a dialogue that stresses whatever unites people and avoids confrontations." He said that Alvaro del Portillo, instead of complaining about the present-day situation, strove to build up the future on the foundation of “the truth of who man is, as a child of God."
Carlos Cavallé mentioned a suggestion he had received from the future bishop and prelate of Opus Dei, who encouraged him “to imbue everything he did with a Christian meaning, that is, to work competently and in service of others, striving to find a Christian answer for the great social problems today." He also recalled how Venerable Alvaro del Portillo urged the “setting up of business schools all over the world that would teach the Church's social doctrine and where charity and concern for the disadvantaged would be a reality and not merely a theory."
Alberto Ribera stressed the great confidence Alvaro del Portillo showed in people. “He trusted in each one's abilities, and always gave people a new opportunity if something went wrong. He would have made a great professor because he combined a broad vision with a lot of common sense. He knew that leading means serving and that business must always be closely tied to ethics."