2023 IES Abroad Annual Conference Recap

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Annual Conference people talking

This year's 2023 IES Abroad Annual Conference was packed with meaningful interactions, thought-provoking presentations, and unforgettable experiences in Chicago. Study abroad professionals from around the world, which includes our Consortium members and invited guests, came to the Conference on October 11-13th. We hosted the Conference at our new venue, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago.

Conference highlights:

🏨This was our first Conference at the LEED-Certified Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago! Guests enjoyed this architectural gem and its stunning Conference spaces.

🎨We held our Annual Dinner at one of the world's most famous Art Museums, the Art Institute of Chicago. Our guests even had exclusive access to the Impressionist Gallery.

🎬 We walked the red carpet and experienced the magic of study abroad films at our 9th Annual Study Abroad Film Festival.

🎤We heard from critically acclaimed plenary speakers, Martín HabiagueAndrea Campos, and expert-led presentations from our colleagues around the world.

🌱We hosted a Pre-Conference Workshop, "Discovering and Applying the IES Abroad Global Pillars Framework," which highlighted Sustainable Development practices and featured faculty who teach our Designing the Sustainable City course.

❤️We announced our High Impact Aid Commitment, which furthers our dedication to increasing access and equity to study abroad through scholarships.

🌎We held a Center Expo where guests met our Center Directors and learned more about the 140+ study abroad programs we offer.

📱We went paperless, again! Thanks to our Guidebook app, our guests had all of the Conference information in the palm of their hand. And, we honored our Global Good Commitment.

Embracing Ambiguity Session Group Photo

Concurrent Sessions

Over the course of three days, guests attended Concurrent Sessions, which covered captivating topics with tangible takeaways, led by subject matter experts including IES Abroad U.S. staff and Center staff, as well as many of our colleagues from our partner universities.

18 sessions took place over the course of the Conference, diving into themes which include Professional Development, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism, Sustainability, Student Experience, Recruitment, Programming, and Evolving Trends. From Communicating with Gen Z, to Risk Management, to Managing Parents, our sessions addressed a range of topics relevant to the field.

Learn more about the Sessions

During our Awards Lunch, we took the time to honor individuals from our Consortium who have accomplished exceptional work in the field.

Lifetime Achievement Award

We recognized Sue Mennicke, Associate Dean for International Programs at Franklin and Marshall College, for her nearly 30-year career dedicated to international education. She has demonstrated tremendous leadership and service to numerous organizations including NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, AIEA, and several study abroad program partners, including stints on both the Academic Council and Curriculum committees with IES Abroad.

Professional Development of the Year Award

We recognized Jeanine White, Coordinator of Study Abroad in the Office of International Education (OIE) at the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership (AYCGL) at Morehouse College, for her outstanding achievements in the field. She has worked with the Center’s leadership team to substantially grow study abroad opportunities across the campus. During her tenure, she he has been key in the implementation of the college’s faculty-led programming, semester-abroad student participation, and the administration of nearly $90,000 in OIE-funded scholarships and stipends.

Jeanine White Professional Development Award

"IES Abroad is such a dedicated and thoughtful provider and has been so good to Morehouse College. You continuously give me sincere reassurance that I matter and belong in these spaces." -Jeanine White

Plenary Speakers

Martin Habiague presenting

Martín Habiague

Social Entrepreneur, Founder of Mescladís, and TED Talk participant

Guests had the chance to see through the lens of a highly regarded social entrepreneur as he discussed why people should be concerned about taking a more collaborative and humane approach to migration. Martín shared his firsthand experience migrating from Argentina to Europe, expressing a deep sense of empathy towards those who suffered in search for equality. With that, Martín developed his non-profit, Mescladís, which he shared is designed to accommodate the migrant population and native citizens through educational activities and economy initiatives that facilitate social and labor inclusion.

"When I defend migrants, I defend my grandparents, and when we defend migrants, we are defending all of our grandparents through generations."  -Martín Habiague

Andrea Campos

Mexican-American trailblazer, New York Times Best-Selling Illustrator, and Creative Storyteller

During Andrea's heartwarming presentation, she discussed how family, study abroad, and art drove her to new experiences that led her to find joy. She shared her story of leaving a 9-5 job in Marketing and committing her life to her creative side. Her doodles during the pandemic turned into working on a variety of impressive projects including her illustration of the book Con Pollo, co-authored by Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Lopez. The bilingual New York Times Best Seller is a comedic picture book that serves young readers an introduction to basic Spanish vocabulary.

Andrea Campos

"I was determined to draw the cutest, baddest chicken the world has ever seen. Hundreds of chickens later, we landed on Pollo... As much as I do this for myself, I do this for my mother and my grandfather, and I carry their dreams with me to hopefully make it easier for the next generation to be able to follow their dreams." -Andrea Campos

9th Annual Study Abroad Film Festival

Film Festival silly group photo on red carpet

We hosted 335 guests including IES Abroad staff and Center Directors, Board Members, school partners, and friends of IES Abroad! We laughed, cried, and celebrated the outstanding films made by our students.

Sami Stidham took home the Grand Prize for her film “Take the Goggles Off."

The 2023 Film Festival raised $45,000 for scholarships, which means that over the years, our Film Festivals have raised more than $700,000 towards IES Abroad scholarships. 

We announced an incredible donation of $600,000, gifted by a lifelong educator and global traveler, the late Barbara Bobrich. Her gift will help increase access to study abroad for so many students, and we are touched by her generous contribution to our organization. Learn more about the donation.

Read More About the Festival

Check out the winning film!

Sami Stidham solo shot
“I think anyone in this room would agree that studying abroad changes your life, and it certainly did for me. I want to thank Grace, who is the girl on the coast who had shared that quote with me and largely inspired the film. So thank you to her and keep those goggles off.”
Sami Stidham | Film Festival Grand Prize Winner | University of Wisconsin | IES Abroad Barcelona

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 16-18th, 2024 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago for another three days of learning, sharing, and being re-energized to serve your study abroad students. We're looking forward to hearing about your professional experience and recent research in 2024 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. For any inquiries, please email us at annualconference@IESabroad.org.  

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