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We're thankful Melissa is here
by Prof. Michael R. Czinkota
2017-11-29 08:31:12
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At Georgetown University, students from different backgrounds and departments help me with my work. Recently, Melissa Panteliou, a Greek-Brazilian graduate student started work as my Teaching Assistant. Brazil, where she was born and raised, deals with lots of challenges, ranging from high rates of urban violence to political and business corruption. But one thing is sure: terrorism is hardly on the list.

Yet, that does not protect Brazilians. Melissa has been through a terrible experience. She was in Nice, France, during the Bastille Day attack in July 14th, 2016. While enjoying the public party at the Promenade des Anglais, a 19-ton truck passed by her side, and she found herself in the crossfire between the terrorist and the French police. The attack in Nice ended up with 86 dead and over 400 injured.

nice01_400Melissa’s experience illustrates how terrorism is a global problem, not confined to a few nations. When telling me how everything unfolded that night, she said that her group of friends had two other Brazilians, two Belgians, one Swiss, one Hungarian and one Scotch. All of them were about her age - from 20 to 25 years old - and traveling alone in France. And all went through the same experience together, along with people from the varied nationalities who were vacationing in the city.

I have been studying terrorism and its effects in business for almost two decades. International terrorism is a systematic threat or violence across borders, aiming to gain a political goal or communicate a political message through fear, coercion, or intimidation of particular persons or the general public.

Not only does terrorism have immediate consequences in the city and country where it happens, but it also generates subsequent actions, new regulations and policies. It demands adjustments, raises the cost of business, and affects the tourism industry.

Melissa is a part of the human factor of terrorism. She is one of the many global faces affected by it. Brazil does not have to deal with international terrorism so closely as France or some Middle East countries. However, Melissa, a Brazilian, is now in the United States studying at Georgetown because after living through the attack, she felt the need to change her life. She also reports that if Brazilian companies are willing to invest in threatened countries, they will place more emphasis on terrorism risk considerations before going forward with deals.

We should always remember that terrorism is a public and international threat, random, ubiquitous and high risk. Regardless of who is responsible for its cost and for taking measures against future attacks (whether is local governments, companies, or even public-private partnerships), we can agree on the need to guard against terrorism. Each year, its impact grows closer and it takes on a more global face, not just somewhere out there, but even with my assistant Melissa.


Professor Czinkota teaches international business and trade at Georgetown University and the University of Kent. His key book is International Marketing’ 10 th ed. (with Ilkka Ronkainen), CENGAGE

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