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October 16, 2023

In Recognition of Professor Ricardo Ernst, LAB Managing Director 2006-2023

On Monday, October 16th, Georgetown University’s Latin American Board (LAB) members came together to celebrate the long-standing contributions of its departing founding Managing Director, McDonough School of Business (MSB) Professor Ricardo Ernst. The event was held at the Riggs Library at Georgetown University and attended by the members of the Latin American Board and their spouses and university leadership, including President DeGioia, Provost Groves, the Vice-president for Global Engagement Tom Banchoff, and Deans Almeida (McDonough School of Business) and Hellman (Walsh School of Foreign Service).

President DeGioia, Professor Ernst and Maria Campo with members of the Latin American Board
President DeGioia, Professor Ernst and Maria Campo with members of the Latin American Board

Professor Ricardo Ernst joined Georgetown University in 1987, where he currently serves as Baratta Chair in Global Business and Professor of Operations and Global Supply Chains, Director of the Baratta Center for Global Business, and Executive Director of the Latin America Leadership Program (LALP). Before that, he also served as Deputy Dean at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. Professor Ernst has been the recipient of several accolades for his teaching excellence, including the Outstanding Teacher Award for the International Executive MBA program, the Joseph F. Le Moine Award for Graduate and Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Georgetown University, and the MBA Core Curriculum Award, at The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania. He has also been listed as one of the Best Professors by Business Week magazine.

In 2006, he co-led the creation of what would be known as Georgetown University’s Latin American Board, a project born out of his extraordinary commitment to the Latin American region. Through its almost two decades of history and as the first regional Board of the university, the Latin American Board has consistently laid out the foundations for Georgetown as it engages with the region. The Board serves as an advisory board to the President and Provost of Georgetown University and is managed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of the region’s most influential leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The Board seeks to develop and strengthen the relationship between Georgetown and Latin America through partnerships and the execution of high-impact initiatives on campus and in the region.

Prof. Ernst reflects on what his service to the Board has meant to him.
Personally, it´s been a privilege to serve you all as Managing Director for the past 18 years, but especially to have had the opportunity to get to know you and work with you all on so many projects, first from this Board and most recently from the Latin America Leadership Program (LALP, as we call it) that is the engine that continues to elevate the initial ventures we designed from the Board, and, which, I am proud to say, keeps them well and thriving still today.
Lorenzo Mendoza, Dionisio Gutiérrez, Ricardo Ernst, Manuel Balbontín (LAB Chairman), Miguel Dueñas
Lorenzo Mendoza, Dionisio Gutiérrez, Ricardo Ernst, Manuel Balbontín (LAB Chairman), Miguel Dueñas
The first project of the Board became known as the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program (GCL). The GCL program was launched in 2007 as a pilot program with 26 participants. Now, after 18 years, the program has welcomed over 600 participants spanning Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. And with every year, the program has adapted and pivoted as needed, adjusting its delivery format, content, and class size but maintaining its core, its raison d'etre, intact. And that is to provide a unique platform for young regional talent to understand the region and equip them with the practical knowledge and tools to achieve the positive impact that the region needs.
After GCL’s success in 2014, the Board launched its Innovation and Leadership in Government Program (ILG), conceived for public managers to promote new ideas and programs in their respective organizations. Now, in its 10th edition, the ILG program has already reached 264 participants spanning the public, social, multilateral, and international cooperation sectors. These flagship programs, GCL and ILG, conceived by the Board continue to impact the region and the broader Georgetown community.
Our programs become learning opportunities, not just for the participants but also for the faculty, staff, and guest speakers who support them in their journey and the broader Georgetown University community that gets to interact with them. But their true journey starts when they return to their countries and build bridges across generations and programs and Georgetown to relive their Hoya experience and keep their shared commitment alive.
In 2017, the LAB programs (GCL and ILG) transitioned to what is now the Latin America Leadership Program (LALP), a new unit within the university that is being led by Professor Ernst and that has been able to elevate the GCL and ILG experiences but also expand its reach in the region through its growing alumni network that now reaches over 23 countries, a competitive and booming custom program offer with 25 programs implemented so far, the first digital academic journal of the university, the Globalization, Competitiveness, Governability Journal, which this year celebrates 16 years in the making, and more than 40 events and public dialogues to date.  In addition, in the years prior, the Board launched the Latin American Initiative that helped revamp the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at the Walsh School of Foreign Service and, in 2021, established the Georgetown Americas Institute, the university umbrella institution for all matters regarding the region thanks to the generous support of LAB member Rolando-Gonzalez Bunster.

Professor Ernst firmly acknowledges the crucial role of the Board and its members' critical contributions that made all of this possible.
But all of this would not have been possible without all of you. It was your extraordinary vision and unwavering commitment that made these dreams a reality. You helped Georgetown elevate its impact across the region through new centers and initiatives, such as the Latin American Initiative, which was essential in revamping the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) in 2017, and the launch of Georgetown Americas Institute (GAI) last year.
Despite not serving the Board as Managing Director from now on, Professor Ernst will continue to be a crucial partner in setting the path for Georgetown’s engagement with the region.

I am confident that from my other roles within the university, we will continue to work together on many new and existing projects. It has been a true privilege to have cofounded and served this Board as its Managing Director since its inception, and I look forward to the many contributions that the Board will continue to make to the university and the region.
On behalf of all of us who have had the privilege to work with Professor Ernst throughout the years, we thank him for his contagious and relentless energy and visionary leadership, and we celebrate today his extraordinary legacy in Georgetown and the region.

By Cristina Ruiz, EML'21, Senior Associate Director, Georgetown University's Latin America Leadership Program (LALP)