Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Costa Rica?

As our adventure begins tomorrow, I thought I'd answer the all important question most people keep asking...why Costa Rica?  What can we learn about business, specifically management, from Costa Rica?  For those of you who don't know, of which I was one not too long ago, Costa Rica has established an international reputation for sustainable business practices and ecotourism. The basic belief of these two concepts is that we should strive to use our resources to meet the needs of today's of society without making it impossible for future generations to fulfill their own needs.  It's about reconciling economic interests with ecological interests.  In fact, Costa Rica has a strategic plan to be completely carbon neutral by 2021.  Costa Rica has become a model for nations that hope to encourage economic and business development within a framework of environmental protection and sustainability.  However, some research suggests that this may come at a cost to local communities and certain demographic populations. It will be very interesting to visit this country and learn about the pros and cons of government mandated business sustainability.  So, now that you know WHY Costa Rica, here's HOW we're planning on learning about these concepts.

Our Program Coordinator, Gabriela, has put together a magnificent program for our ten day visit.  Tentative lectures and visits include: a city tour with visits to the artisans and central market; lectures on the importance of tourism in Costa Rica, the history of the Costa Rican Economy, the state of the Central American region;  a lecture at INCAE the best business school of Latin America; a visit to the Dos Pinos Dairy Factory; a visit to a botanical orchid garden and wind energy project; a lecture by Mr. Michael Rothchild Director of the Walton Family Foundation in Costa Rica; a visit to the El Viejo Sugar Mill which produces sugar from renewable resources; a visit to Coopedota a cooperative of 800 coffee farmers; and a lecture with the Vice President of the National Council of Social Responsibility of the Chamber of Industry. This is just a sampling of some of our program.  As you can probably tell, we will be very busy!!  We'll begin most days around 7:00 a.m. and won't wrap up until after 5:00 p.m.

Fortunately, after our busy time in San Jose, we will conclude our program with 3 days at the Barcelo Langosta all-inclusive resort located near the small town of Tamarindo, a charming coastal village.  We'll need this time to recover!!

So, stay tuned as I begin this wonderful journey of Costa Rica's history, culture, economy, and natural beauty.