Dear Colleagues,

A warm welcome to Seoul and to the 66th annual meeting of the Academy of International Business (AIB). This is a special conference in many ways, not least because it is the first time that the AIB meeting has been able to return to the region since the Nagoya conference in 2011.

The AIB annual meeting has been held in Seoul once before, in 1995. South Korea is a very different place today to what it was thirty years ago, and one of the attractions of this conference will be the chance for us all to gain insight into the remarkable transformation that our host country and city has achieved.

As an organization, the Academy of International Business has also experienced considerable change over the past 30 years. When the AIB conference was held in Seoul in 1995, there were 380 participants listed in the program. At the time of writing there are 1414 people registered for this year’s Seoul meeting. The conference attracted 1641 submissions, the highest number ever – a testament to the attractiveness of Korea and the strength of the AIB as an association. The program comprises 920 competitive and interactive papers and panel sessions. One feature of this year’s conference is that Sustainability in International Business is the third largest track – another sign of the changes we are living through.

Putting together a conference of this size took the effort of an entire program team. Twenty-seven track chairs had to work to MEET demanding deadlines, and to make difficult decisions about acceptances and rejections. I especially wish to acknowledge the hard work of Gillian Bond, the PhD student from Trinity Business School who has been the program assistant for the conference. For the past 6 months she has been answering many of your emails and wrestling with the intricacies of IT systems to make the program a reality. I am very grateful to Laurent Muzellec, the Dean of Trinity Business School, for funding her position and supporting the conference in this tangible way.

Our sincere thanks are also due to Geon-Cheol Shin from Kyung Hee University, who has devoted so much of his time and energy to making the conference a reality. This has included inviting an array of senior business executives from the Korean business community to explain how they have been able to internationalize so successfully. An understanding of the ‘Korean Wave’ would not be complete without hearing about the role of government, so we are fortunate to have Byung Nae Yang, Deputy Minister for Trade, also joining us on 4 July.

Holding the conference would not be possible without the commitment and professionalism of the AIB Secretariat, under the leadership of Executive Director Tunga Kiyak. If you meet Tunga, Ieva, Anne, Dan, Kat and Bernice during the course of the conference, please do take the opportunity to thank them in person. As IB scholars, we all understand the difficulties of servicing a global client base (i.e., AIB members) and managing the complexities of an international project from a distance (i.e, a major event in a foreign location). Their experiential knowledge of how to do this, accumulated over many years, is definitely a rare, valuable and inimitable resource that we should all appreciate.

A highlight of the AIB annual meeting is the pre-conference program, which has been skillfully managed by Sri Zaheer. This year, during the pre-conference, participants in the doctoral and junior faculty consortia, as well as in the JIBS and JIBP paper development workshops, are invited to a special session on the Ethics of Research, as well as to a workshop on the Craft of Reviewing featuring editors of IB journals and winners of best reviewer awards. Also, the recently formed Digitalization Special Interest Group (SIG) is offering a roundtable on Digital Africa for the first time. During the pre-conference, there will also be workshops from other SIGs on Teaching and Education, Research Methods, and Sustainability, as well as from WAIB on EDI research.

Of course, the program team also extends to everyone who reviewed for the conference and who will be taking on the role of session chairs during the conference. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed by denoting their time and expertise in these ways: the AIB depends on your willingness to do so. In particular, I wish to congratulate everyone who has received a Best Reviewer Award. We hope that the constructive and helpful tone that these reviewers have set will continue throughout the conference.

Led by Tamer Cavusgil (Dean) and Andrew Delios (Deputy Dean), AIB Fellows are an important part of conference preparation. Among other tasks, the Fellows give out three major awards: International Executive of the Year: Mr. Park Hyeon-Joo of Mirae Asset; International Educator of the year: Frank Bournois; and John Fayerweather Eminent Scholar of the Year: Edward Freeman. You will have the opportunity to hear from these distinguished award winners during the conference, and we are grateful for their willingness to join us.

For those of you for whom this is your first AIB conference – and maybe even your first international conference – I wish to extend a special welcome. First-time attendance at a conference of this size can be a daunting experience, as I vividly recall. We have incorporated many opportunities for you to be able to get to know other AIB members. These include a variety of social activities, starting with the New Members’ Welcome Event on 3 July. You should also sample some of the cafes and clinics, and get involved in the activities of the Shared Interest Groups (SIGs). The connections you make in these informal and small group settings are ones that tend to endure beyond the conference, and are the beginning of a supportive global network.

There are too many highlights of the many panels and paper sessions in the program for me to mention. I will, though, take the opportunity to single out the special conference track on Dynamics, change and processes in international business. This conference is a timely opportunity for us to consider how IB scholarship itself needs to change in order to explain the momentous shifts in the global business environment we are currently witnessing. The co-chairs for the conference track, Ziad Elsahn and Jisun Yu, have provided us with an overview of how the papers and panels in this track show us the way forward.

I hope you will find the AIB 2024 meeting to be a rewarding experience, and that you will continue to be part of the AIB community for many years to come. In an increasingly fractured and divided world, it has been a privilege to help bring together a community of scholars from over 50 countries to discuss topics related to global connectedness and interdependence.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Welch
AIB 2024 Program Chair and Vice President Program,
Professor of Strategic Management, Trinity College Dublin