2022 Annual Conference Recap

ies abroad logo
IES Abroad
2022 Annual Conference Recap

It's been a while since we were able to gather in person for an Annual Conference, which made this year's gathering all the more invigorating and impactful. For the first time in three years, study abroad professionals from around the world came to Chicago for the 2022 IES Abroad Annual Conference on October 12-14th. It was a conference of many firsts: 

  • First conference for our President & CEO Dr. Gregory Hess
  • First time we held the Annual Conference at the University Club of Chicago
  • First time we held the Study Abroad Film Festival as the opening reception and kick-off event
  • First time we had a conference app (🍃 we went as paperless as possible in honor of our Global Good Commitment)
  • First time we bought carbon offsets for the whole event
  • First time we had session tracks which included Programs; Looking at Our Populations; Practices & Processes; and Professional Development
  • First time we held our Awards Dinner at the Museum of Science & Industry

Over the course of three days, attendees sparked new ideas, participated in expert-led sessions, and celebrated the accomplishments of outstanding study abroad students and professionals.

We also took time to thank Kline Harrison for his tremendous work as Conference Chair since 2019, and to announce Mark Rush, Director of International Education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law, Washington & Lee University, as the newly elected Chair of the General Council. 

Study Abroad is Back

Opening Plenary Speakers: Cesar Alegre Alsina, Kate Smart, Maria del Carmen Cortes Arce, John Ockey, Scott Lyngaas, Dr. Morten Solvik, Ph.D., Roberto Andreoni

In our opening plenary, we had the chance to hear directly from our Cluster Deans on the impact of our new Cluster model which allows Centers to share resources and create new learning and collaboration opportunities for our students.

Friday Morning Plenary Speaker: Christopher LeMark, Founder of Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health

This interactive session challenged participants to think about how they can be their best selves in order to be fully present for their students. Christopher ended the session with a powerful activity in which each attendee stood up and said their name aloud. 

“Study abroad is the constant reality of what you don't know.”
Roberto A. • Milan Center Director

Breakout Sessions

On Thursday and Friday morning, conference attendees chose from 17 information and share-out sessions across four tracks (Programs; Looking at our Populations; Practices & Processes; and Professional Development). Some highlights included: 

Identity Matters: Foregrounding Race and Identity to Increase Inclusion in Study Abroad (Looking at Our Populations)

Our presenters discussed the importance of foregrounding the impact of race and other social identity markers on students' experiences of study abroad as a means through which to connect and support students. In this interactive session, participants engaged in the concept of the "Conspiracy of Silence" around race and identity, and discussed ways to tackle race and identity with students effectively. 

Presented by:

  • Dr. Brittani Smit, Associate Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism | IES Abroad
  • Dr. Devin Walker, Director, Heman Sweatt Center for Black Males, and Office of Global Leadership and Social Impact for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement | UT-Austin

Boosting Student Resilience for Study Abroad During a Mental Health Pandemic (Practices and Processes)

Our presenters shared research on students seeking services at university counseling centers to discuss how important it is that study abroad professionals attend to students' mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual health to foster student health in new cultures. 

Presented by:

  • Dr. Jeff Kulley, Phsycological Consultant | IES Abroad
  • Dr. Matthew Rader, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dean of Students | IES Abroad

Programs Outside of Western Europe Aren't Rebounding As Quickly - Is That a Problem? (Programs)

In this session, our presenters shared research on student motivation to study in non-traditional locations, and discussed ways to encourage more students to choose programs in these locations.

Presented by:

  • Jill Reister, Assistant Director of Programming at the Learning Abroad Center | University of Minnesota
  • Tania Ledergerber, Quito & Galapagos Islands Center Director | IES Abroad

Film Festival

For the first time ever, we kicked off the Annual Conference with our Study Abroad Film Festival as the Opening Reception.

👍 We hosted 218 guests including IES Abroad staff and Center Directors, Board Members, school partners, and friends of IES Abroad! We laughed, cried, and celebrated! It was a moment where we genuinely felt #globallyconnected.

🏆 Zeke Winitsky took home the Grand Prize for his Film “Coming to Berlin”.

👏 We raised $27,000 in donations and sponsorships (or 7 student travel stipends, plus 7 student need-based scholarships!) for this Festival, and have raised almost $100,000 for need-based scholarships since 2017.

Read More

Check out the winning film!

“This conference has inspired me to re-engage.”
Alicia Stanley • 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Awards Dinner

On Thursday night, we celebrated together among the awe-inspiring exhibits of the Museum of Science & Industry. We toured a coal mine replica, found our way out of a mirror maze, and manipulated a tornado. We also awarded several outstanding colleagues from our partner schools with IES Abroad Leadership Awards for their dedication to international education. Award winners include: 

  • Professional Development AwardTonija Hope, Director of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University
  • Lifetime Achievement AwardAlicia Stanley, Director of Off-Campus Study, Institute for Global Engagement at Grinnell College
  • Volunteer of the YearTynelle Stewart, Assistant Vice Provost and Assistant Dean & Director for the Center for Education Abroad at the University of Rochester

See You Next Year!

Thank you to everyone who came to see us, and everyone who helped make this conference a reality. We wish you well in the coming year! 

Join us October 11-13, 2023 at the Radisson Blu in Chicago for another three days of learning, sharing, and being reenergized to serve your study abroad students. We're looking forward to hearing about your professional experience and recent research in 2023 when we call for proposals. More info coming soon! 

For updates on what IES Abroad is doing between conferences, check out our news and announcements

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News