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CAHI Fellows Program


Interview with Professor Julio Sergio Ramírez

Professor Ramírez has been a professor at INCAE since he graduated with his masters degree in 1973. A few years after he graduated, he went to Harvard University for his PhD in Political Economy and Governance. After finishing his PhD, he returned to INCAE and since then has been working full time, except for the seven years when he was directing a project for Harvard University in Bolivia. His ties to INCAE reach back over 40 years. He has been a professor in the MBA program, and in management courses, seminars, and a range of diverse initiatives and investigations. 

In the CAHI Fellows Program, he is in charge of the Negotiation class, a topic on which he has written two books in Spanish:  Negociar es Bailar, los principios y conceptos de la negociación eficaz and La Negociación Desigual, qué hacer cuando usted está negociando con alguien mucho más poderoso. He has written other books on the topics of strategy, public strategy, situation analysis, negotiation, management skills, critical thinking and decision-making.

Notwithstanding his demanding agenda, he shared a few moments with us to discuss CAHI.

Q: ¿What is your perception of the CAHI Fellows Program?

Professor Ramírez: The CAHI Fellows Program impresses me with its emphasis on selecting leaders who have great potential to achieve changes in society, especially in the health sector.

The health sector in our region, and in general worldwide, has important peculiarities. One: it is very expensive, and prices continue to go up due to the quality of inputs required, most importantly the costs of professionals, of the doctors, the medicines, the laboratories, they are expensive inputs. Two: it is vitally important for human well-being. Three: There are enormous deficiencies in the delivery of health services and a large percentage of the population in our countries do not have the resources to pay the market price of these services, which makes the work of not-for-profit organizations, like foundations and NGOs necessary, as they are interested in how to bring those health services to sectors with limited income, using subsidies and price cutting, a times donated, as a way to make health services accessible to enormous populations. 

This support, this creation of the group [of CAHI Fellows], a nucleus of leaders with the potential to create high-impact projects in the sectors with the least resources and health services, in my judgement, is extremely valuable.

Q: What do you believe is required to join the CAHI Fellows Program?

Professor Ramírez: To enter the CAHI Fellows Program, one must have a strong commitment, a personal ethical-moral commitment, which I strongly believe is correct, to help those most in need, in this case in the context of health. Having the strong feeling that one must do something for those most in need, given that one has received so much from family, from society. I am privileged to have this education, and I feel a moral obligation to do more for others, to see how I can positively impact their quality of life. This is something that a person has or does not have. It is a quality that one must bring to this program.

So, from there, one can take advantage of this [program], a great motivator, a force multiplier, to develop valuable projects. 

Q: What do you offer to the program, from your perspective?

Professor Ramírez: I want the CAHI Fellows to understand how to improve their capacity to negotiate, how to be a better negotiator, given that they will have to negotiate often, for resources, for help, et cetera. They will also confront unequal negotiations, which I've been talking about, the negotiations where the other side is more powerful. 

How can I achieve something and how do I define my negotiation strategy? What skills am I missing, how can I improve? Although they are important, good intentions are not enough. The abilities, knowledge, skills, which are developed through study and the exercises we do here are also required. 

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