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Thought leadership event marks Les Roches 60th anniversary

Les Roches International School of Hotel Management is celebrating its 60th anniversary by hosting “Breaking Boundaries in Education,” a conference that will bring together global leaders in the hospitality industry on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The one-day event includes keynote speakers and panel sessions on innovation, entrepreneurship, employability, as well as the latest trends in hospitality and the role education plays in shaping the industry’s future.

The special event will start with keynote speaker Suzan LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, who will discuss the major global economic and social challenges and the importance of professional education. Panelists include Omer Kaddouri, CEO of Rotana Hotels & Resorts; Michel Gehrig, vice president of talent development at Kempinski; and Rafael Micha, Chief Marketing Officer, GRUPO Habita, which are internationally recognized for their proactive architecture and interior design art.

Joining them will be pioneers, such as Zhang Mei, the founder of Wild China and Susan Harmsworth, CEO of ESPA, who have capitalized on trends in sustainable eco-tourism and the burgeoning spa sector. “It has been a remarkable journey for our school and one that has brought so many reasons to be proud,” said Sonia Tatar, CEO of Les Roches Worldwide. “In many corners of the world, our alumni and students are making unique contributions to the industry by leading, transforming and enriching it with their innovation and entrepreneurial approach.”

Les Roches was founded as an international school in 1954 and was later transformed into an English-taught hotel and tourism school in 1979.  In 2000, Les Roches became a member of Laureate Education, the world’s leading higher education provider. Laureate’s more than 80 universities educate over 950,000 students in 29 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Laureate’s universities offer undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in fields such as architecture, business, engineering, hospitality management, law and medicine.  Today, Les Roches is considered one of the top three schools in the world for an international career in hospitality management. With a community of more than 3,000 students in four campuses in Switzerland, Spain, China and Jordan, it has become one of the most renowned leaders in hospitality education.

The event will be held at the Fondation Pierre Arnaud, close to Les Roches campus in Bluche, and the Alpine resort of Crans-Montana. The conference is followed by an alumni award and gala dinner, recognizing outstanding achievements of Les Roches’ most successful graduates. Alumni will also be recognized in the categories of Good in the World Award, Professional Achievement Award, Young Entrepreneur Award and Innovation Award.

Susan Harmsworth MBE, Chief Executive, ESPA from the UK will be part of the panel on ‘Entrepreneurship: redefining the business space’. Susan will discuss whether entrepreneurs are born or made and what skills and attributes make an entrepreneur?

Susan says, “I am delighted to be part of this 60th anniversary event.  Since 1954 Les Roches has shown 60 years of education, entrepreneurship and innovation.   At ESPA, we are thrilled to have partnered with Les Roches: the curriculum they have created for the spa module is inspirational.  The students graduate with the business acumen, hospitality mindset and five-star service skills required for the spa industry allowing ESPA spas the opportunity to recruit well-trained and experienced graduates.”

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