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Q&A with Najah Attig about his move to Dalhousie
Tell me about yourself.
I am originally from Tunisia, a beautiful Mediterranean country located in North Africa. It has one of the most extraordinary histories and is blessed with the numerous cultural influences. I moved to Quebec City for graduate studies at Laval University. After finishing my PhD at Laval, I joined Saint Mary’s University as an assistant professor, then associate professor for almost 19 years. I also served two terms as Canada Research Chair in Finance and Corporate Governance.
Tell me about your research.
My research, by its very nature, is multidisciplinary. It occurs at the interface between financial theory and practice, with particular focus on the linkages between corporate governance, corporate policies and corporate social responsibility. I have recently started using textual analysis and machine learning to investigate the relevance of soft information—information you get through the narratives, not hard information in financial reporting—to check the quality of sustainability disclosure. Research on sustainability and on the materiality of corporate sustainability performance is timely for both scholars and practitioners.
Why did you want to come to Dalhousie?
I was looking for new challenges and Dalhousie has a worldwide reputation and. continues to be among Canada's best workplaces. The Rowe School of Business (RSB) offers an ideal setting that promotes and supports interdisciplinary research with impact. Further to that, Dalhousie’s strategic plan and RSB research program support the core principles of sustainability and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Describe something you’re proud of?
I organized an event for high school students called ‘Climbing the ladder of success’. I rented a place in Burnside that has climbing walls. I invited some junior and high school students and some successful professionals like doctors, faculty members, IT specialists. I meant for them to mingle for at least one or two hours. The objective is to inspire young students and motivate them to pursue and achieve success.
There’s one other thing that I did in the past and plan to do here. I organized a full-day stock trading competition for high school students. The objective is to familiarize them with capital markets and allow them to enjoy the excitement of trading and being on the trading floor. This will also enhance their financial literacy.
What’s something your students might not know about you?
In 2006 when the World Cup was held in Germany, I said, ‘I must go’. I spent almost two weeks in Germany going from city to city watching soccer games. There were thousands of people partying in the streets and I had to appreciate how people from across the world live the sport of soccer, as if it is a religion. Then you go to the game, and you enjoy the mass enthusiasm and watching players celebrate goals with fans. It was a very exciting experience.
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