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In partnership with the Academic Impact Initiative of the United Nations Department of Global Communications


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Friday October 7, 2022
10:15am - 11:15am Ragan Theatre

SDG 8   SDG 9

SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation


Moderator  Ben Kolendar - Former Department of Defense


Benjamin was most recently the Director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development where he oversaw the City’s economic development efforts, including arts and culture and business development.
Prior to serving with Salt Lake City, Benjamin served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of SelectUSA, the government-wide initiative to attract and retain foreign business investment in the United States. As an official with SelectUSA, Benjamin provided guidance to the Executive Director to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness.
Before joining SelectUSA, he was dedicated to the development of Afghanistan’s war-torn economy as an official in the U.S. Department of Defense. Benjamin’s projects focused on stabilizing the war-torn country through economic development
initiatives in the cashmere sector. He spent time on the ground in Afghanistan advising the Afghan Government, local Afghan businesses, and the U.S. government on policies that would help generate economic growth in the sector. Benjamin’s work was instrumental to the sector’s more than double growth from 2012 – 2015, and was recognized from both the Afghanistan and U.S. Governments for his contributions to the sector.
Benjamin has a MBA with an emphasis in globalization and international trade from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Utah State University.

Laura Muro - St. Louis University (Madrid)


Laura Muro (Ph.D., Complutense University, Madrid, Spain) is a Professor of Accounting and International Business in the Department of Business & Economics at Saint Louis University, Madrid Campus in Spain. In 2021 SLU Alumni Association has awarded her with the “Distinguished Faculty Award” as a women for others.

Laura has a scholarly experience and background in corporate governance, with scientific publications in international high ranked journals, in the specific areas of board gender diversity, earnings management, and capital structure decisions. She is part of an international research network, and has been awarded with several research grants, in pro of her research activities, in the fields of sustainability. She is the coordinator and co-writer of the book: “The convergence journey: comparison and critical analyisis of the USGAAP and IFRS”.

David Utrilla - CEO US Translation Co.



Sahar Taghdisi Rad - University of Westminster London