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Those of you who keep an eye on the global marketplace will no doubt have made a mental note of the increasing significance of Latin America during the past year. Whether it's Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim – the world's richest man, according to best estimates – that has caught your attention, or the increasing confidence of Brazil as one of the world's foremost emerging markets, the region is most definitely on the up.

Marc Smith is acting editor of Families in Business.

I am writing this on the eve of my first visit to the FBN's annual summit in Berlin, which should be a good opportunity to meet some of you – our readers – and listen to such dignitaries as the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. Dr Kohl oversaw the falling of the Berlin Wall and it is perhaps fitting that the theme of the conference is "The modern family business".

Editor's note

Marc Smith is acting editor of Families in Business

It might not have quite the same ring as the summer of love, but there is no doubting the fact that social responsibility is a hot topic in 2007. For businesses, it means evaluating working practices to take account of social, environmental and ethical issues. For investors, it means asking whether social good can be translated into healthy profits.

Editor's Note

Suzy Bibko

The Windy City. The City of Big Shoulders. That Toddlin' Town. Whatever you call it, it's best known to me as my hometown. Growing up in America's second city (which it still was back then; LA has now taken that title), I didn't realise that so many things I encountered on a daily basis would be such a major part of my world today. Family and family values are important in the midwest, and that is reflected in the fact that so many iconic brands are still owned by Chicago families.

Editor's Note

Suzy Bibko

I recently attended a conference, with two of my colleagues in the charitable world, in the hope of helping us build a stronger philanthropic organisation. We weren't sure what we were in for, and frankly had some doubts about the subject matter being covered and whether we'd actually learn anything new. As the conference was only for women, we also had fears about it being a bit "fluffy" and "rah-rah", promoting friendship over finance.

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