Dr. María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, President, Graduate Schools of Business and Government, ITESM – Tecnológico de Monterrey

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Before her current position, Dr. Dieck-Assad was appointed by President Vicente Fox as ambassador of Mexico to Belgium and Luxembourg, served as chief of the Mexican Mission to the European Union and the permanent representative before the European Council (2004-07). In the public sector, she has been undersecretary of economic affairs and international cooperation in the State Department (2003-04) and chief of advisors to the secretary of the State Department (2003) and to the secretary of Economy (2002-03). In the academic sector, she was director of the doctoral program in management at ITESM (EGADE) (1995-2002), while she was also associated with ITESM’s Center for Strategic Studies. She has been professor of economics at ITESM, professor and chair of the economics department at Trinity University in Washington, D.C., and economics professor at Anahuac University in Mexico City.

Dr. María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, President, Graduate Schools of Business and Government, ITESM – Tecnológico de Monterrey, has worked to create cross-sector relationships within the business, government and academic sectors for the past 15+ years.

During the Annual Meeting & Scientific Convening of the Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN), Dr. Dieck-Assad, a member of the GAIN Council of Scientists, highlighted the need to more frequently showcase positive adaptation projects on the ground.

“One positive change we have seen is how many projects are being implemented by some private companies around the world,” Dr. Dieck Assad said. “Clearly, adaptation is more and more on the minds of companies and certain communities, but not enough. We have to do more. When you see projects in adaptation, you will understand the impact it makes.”

Education and coverage of adaptation projects is necessary to spread the word of the urgent need to adapt, Dr. Dieck-Assad said. Adaptation and mitigation go hand-in-hand and, implemented correctly, will help develop a more sustainable world.

“This is critical and one thing is clear – we need to promote this thinking on adaptation before things happen and we have to deal with the results of natural disasters,” Dr. Dieck-Assad said. “It is becoming even more important, so we have to make this thinking more widespread – not only the idea, knowledge and concept, but also the solutions.”

Last year, the Tecnológico de Monterrey began a project, funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, to research how small and medium-sized Mexican enterprises can build resilience.

GAIN + Tecnológico de Monterrey partnership

During discussions on climate change, the scientific world often discusses indicators, metrics and data. However, do the people affected understand
how their lives will be impacted? Are social, climatic and ecological
conditions important to the lives and livelihoods of the most
vulnerable?

Varying population groups could have been sampled for this endeavor, but our focus for the
Templeton SME project is on small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Mexico. Why?

Developing countries will be hit hardest by climate change, in combination with
population shifts, urbanization and other global forces. Small businesses employ the majority of laborers in many developing
countries. Thus, this segment of the population is crucial in 1) innovating and investing
in solutions to global challenges such as climate change, and 2) building resilience within
their operations and supply chains to maintain economic activity in their communities.

This project, “Entrepreneur Research — Determining local metrics that matter to small
and medium-sized entrepreneurs,” will test the degree to which the GAIN Index and other
indices are measuring what matters to SMEs in terms of their climate “vulnerabilities”
and “readiness” to invest in resilience.

GAIN and the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico are planning a workshop 
on this project this year.

More on the career of Dr. María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad

Ambassador Dieck-Assad obtained her bachelor’s degree in economics (1975) from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), her master’s degree in economic development (1976) at Vanderbilt University and her doctorate in economics (1983) from the University of Texas at Austin.

She has received multiple honors throughout her career, including the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, which is the highest honor awarded by the Government and the King of Belgium for her achievements as Ambassador to Belgium; named best instructor in Executive Programs during 2001 at EGADE, ITESM, Monterrey campus; the awarding of tenure at Trinity University; appointments as research fellow and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution to work on her Ph. D. dissertation and other honors/awards.