Mendoza College of Business Helps Refugees Across the World

Author: Michelle McDaniel

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Learning how to better build societies damaged by conflict, prejudice, poverty, and illicit economies is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. And for the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, doing so with a good heart and a focus on the inherent dignity of others is the best place to start.

The business school’s Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program is rooted in the belief that there is dignity in work and that all people can be empowered to contribute to society. The program utilizes the dynamic skills of business to address issues including post-conflict rehabilitation, poverty, illicit economies, isolation, and prejudice.

MBA and other graduate students from across the university explore key themes together such as empathy, barriers to work, identity, and mindset while partnering with action-oriented organizations to find local solutions that create jobs or set the conditions for economic growth.

In March 2023, the Academic Director of the MBA Programs Joe Sweeney went with two teams of Mendoza’s MBA students to Wroclaw, Poland to work on two projects in partnership with the Lviv Business School at Ukrainian Catholic University. They recently launched a UCU Center in Wroclaw to serve Ukrainian expats and refugees.

Another Business on the Frontlines project is a partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, examining the ecosystem for development in the IT sector and green solutions.

“With an influx of hundreds of thousands of military-aged males from Russians fleeing the draft, Kyrgyzstan had a sudden influx of people and educated talent,” explains Sweeney. “So it was important to explore how to create support systems that could foster economic growth and provide for these new residents.”

Members of the O’Hara Society stand behind Notre Dame’s business school and help make a worldwide difference. Read more about the impact members make in this Forbes article >