Interview with Dean Arantza De Areilza

In this one-on-one interview, Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of Arts and Humanities, tells us about her professional career, the School of Arts and Humanities at IE, and what she likes to do outside work.

arantza2Where are you from, what is your academic background, and where did you work before you came to IE?

I consider myself a citizen of the world although I have Basque roots. I studied international relations in Spain, France, Germany and the US, seeking to better understand the world around me, from a global perspective. Before joining IE I worked in Bosnia for the United Nations just after the war, in the European Parliament, in the Association of European Journalists, and in the Consejo España – Estados Unidos.

How did you come to IE? 

By plane from Washington DC…

What is your day-to-day like at IE? 

Forever changing and pleasant. Each day is a new opportunity to innovate, to create something, or to put an idea into practice.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The freedom I have to be creative

What do you like most about it?

The opportunity to make a contribution toward improving international education.

What is the mission of the IE School of Arts and Humanities?

The school works in two very different fields: Humanities and International Relations.

The mission of IE School of Arts and Humanities is to foster the individual skills of students, to teach them to understand the complexity of the world we live in. We equip them with a capacity for broad and deep analysis, critical thinking, empirical reasoning, and we teach them to distinguish what is meaningful and what isn’t, to express themselves clearly and to connect ideas in a creative fashion. We would like our students to be able to gauge the intellectual, social and ethical consequences of their acts and thoughts, and to take responsibility for them. We help to shape citizens who are multilingual, with global vision, a clear sense of ethics and responsibility, capable of managing their professional and personal aspirations, while playing a key role in the creation of new values that promote the change that every modern society needs.

What is the role of Humanities courses at IE?

Humanities are one of IE’s core values. Hence, humanities are present in all IE’s programs, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Humanities are taught in different formats depending on the program: there are core subjects of critical analysis in the IMBA and the MIM, and elective courses on profit vs. prosperity, keys to contemporary culture or culture and globalization. Then there are seminars like the World Awareness Seminar, which addresses issues related to the culture and major societies such as China, Japan, India, Brazil, the Islamic world, etc. This particular seminar seeks to take the students beyond business, political or economic considerations, to gain greater insights through history, religion, sociology and the values that form the base of these societies, thus furnishing students with a greater understanding of different environments and mindsets.

The degree program includes mandatory courses on the history of thought as a core subject for all programs, coupled with a large range of related seminars offered as extracurricular activities.

Humanities also have their own programs within IE’s Alumni Association and are gradually being integrated into the program portfolio of the Executive Education Unit following the success of the senior management program run for PubliEspaña and Telecinco.

Moreover, IE School of Arts and Humanities issues a multilingual electronic liberal arts newsletter, featuring an international cultural agenda and articles by our humanities faculty. The School also runs a blog on arts and Humanities which is updated on a daily basis.

What can Humanities do for business management?

The methodology implemented by Humanities helps students to learn, examine and reason in a critical manner, thus fostering imagination and creativity, and shaping a critical spirit that can be applied to any field of knowledge. Hence, it helps students to discover themselves on a personal level and to strengthen their fortes, as well as to develop their own criteria.

What should the 21st century executive be like? What kind of skill set is needed?

Today’s firms do not work like a philharmonic orchestra, but rather like jazz bands. They seek musicians who can compose, improvise and create their own music.

What do you do in your spare time?

I read, travel and enjoy being with my friends.