2016 Annual Conference Recap

Woman in front of blue background
Abby Baric
October 16, 2016

The 2016 Annual Conference, held October 5-7, was filled with thought-provoking sessions and discussions, inspiring keynote addresses, reunions with colleagues, and networking with the finest in the field of study abroad. 
For those who were unable to join us this year at the Union League Club, here are some of the highlights: 

Fast Facts

  • 28 Center Directors were in attendance
  • IES Abroad recognized the following staff members for their years of service:
    • Dr. Mary M. Dwyer, President and CEO: 20 Years 
    • Dr. Michael S. Steinberg, Executive Vice President for Academic Programs: 40 Years
    • Dr. Barbara Gügold, Center Director of IES Abroad Berlin: 25 Years
  • Best attended concurrent sessions:
    • Less Is More: Scrapping the Traditional Predeparture & Re-entry Meetings
    • The Un-coddling of the American Mind: Helping Students Manage Expectations Abroad
    • Counseling Students About Study Abroad When World Events Scare Them (and Their Parents)
    • A Year Later: The Migrant & Refugee Crisis in Europe

Opening Keynote Plenary Session by Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali, a journalist, writer, lawyer, and award-winning playwright (to name a few) presented Thursday morning’s plenary session keynote address, An Emergent Generation of Millennials Poised for Social Change. Wajahat explained the importance of storytelling, and the power it has to create social change. "Each great leader has a great story. Stories give us identity and purpose, it's how we meet people,” Wajahat said. “We need to foster millennials' ability to be storytellers, and encourage them to share their experiences with the world." 

Third Annual Film Festival Has Us Dancing Through Europe 

Our winner of the third annual Study Abroad Film Festival, Jordan Cain (Vienna, Spring 2016 | Indiana University), joined us for the Friday plenary session on October 7. Jordan received the grand prize for Even in Europe..., an entertaining film that follows Jordan and his dance moves through Europe. 
Amy Ruhter McMillan, AVP of Marketing, and Kiah Zellner-Smith, Video & Social Media Coordinator, spoke about the Festival and screened the top three student finalists’ films. Dr. Leland L'Hote, IES Abroad Program Dean and Study Abroad Film Festival jury member, presented Jordan with his award. 
At the end of Jordan’s acceptance speech, he entertained the crowd by teaching Susan Carty, Chair of the General Conference and Director of Administration, Office of Overseas Study at Indiana University, a few of his dance moves from his film. 
We also spoke with Jordan Cain during a Facebook Live session on Thursday, October 6th, to learn more about his filmmaking process, how he danced his way through Europe and how he liked being on TV and radio for his film win. Watch the interview here! 

And the Winners Are...

Our Thursday Night Awards Dinner took place at Venue Six10 on Michigan Avenue. We celebrated the best in the field, recognizing three Consortium Members with the following Leadership Awards:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Larry Jones, Retired Director of Global Education at Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Professional Development Award: Taylor Woodman, Manager of Advising Services at The George Washington University
  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Michael Jordan, Director of the Center of Global and Intercultural Study at the University of Michigan 

The following faculty and student awards were also announced:  
  • Long-Term Faculty Award: Dr. Gert Fehlner, IES Abroad Freiburg
  • Instructor of the Year Award: Dr. Iannis Carras, IES Abroad European Union 
  • Excellence in Teaching Award: Dr. Baris Ulker, IES Abroad Berlin
  • Faculty Innovation Award: Liat Rogel, IES Abroad Milan 
Student Awards:

Session Highlights

A Year Later: The Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe
At last year’s Conference, IES Abroad Center Directors from Granada, Paris, Rome, and Vienna discussed the huge wave of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe and how this crisis had involved our programs and students’ experience. This year, Center Directors from three other locations (Berlin, Freiburg-EU, and Rabat) focused on the evolving refugee situation from the perspective of their countries and programs. 
The Un-coddling of the American Mind: Helping Students Manage Expectations Abroad
In this era of enhanced concern for students’ emotional well-being, it is important that they are prepared to process the cultural differences they will encounter while abroad. This session focused on steps taken predeparture, upon arrival, and throughout the program so that students are better able to manage expectations and accept different cultural norms. The audience shared strategies and experiences from their campuses. 

We Welcomed a Few New Faces

  • New Member School: Miami University of Ohio
  • New IES Abroad Academic Council Members: 
    • Rachel Gould, Ithaca College
    • Tonija Hope Navas, Howard University

A very big thank you to all those who have served on IES Abroad committees! We're very grateful for your time and dedication. 

Special Thanks to Our Annual Conference Sponsors

  • National Background Check, Incorporated 
  • The Graphic Arts Studio, Inc. 
  • STA Travel 
  • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co
  • Chubb
  • CISI - Cultural Insurance Services International
  • Diversity Abroad
  • Education Insurance Services
  • insuremytrip 

And a special thank you to the Union League Club of Chicago for hosting our Annual Conference. 

Check Out More Conference Highlights on Facebook

Browse our Annual Conference Facebook album to see photos from this year's events, sessions, and more.

Save the Date

Next year’s Annual Conference is scheduled for October 11-13, 2017. Mark your calendars now!


Woman in front of blue background

Abby Baric

Director of Communications & Outreach

For more information about IES Abroad, our programs, or to arrange an interview with our study abroad experts, see contact below.

media@IESabroad.org • 312.261.5032

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