A Recap of Our 50th Annual Conference

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Ashley Houston
November 3, 2015

Our Annual Conference has come and gone, but we are still reflecting on all of the thought-provoking sessions, compelling keynotes, and conversations with colleagues.

For those who were unable to join us this year, here is a recap of some of the highlights: 

Fast Facts

  • 32 Center Directors attended this year's Annual Conference.
  • Thank you to Rob Hallworth of The George Washington University for his three-year term as Chair of the General Conference and welcome Susan Carty of Indiana University into the role!
  • Best attended concurrent sessions were:
    • Making Cross Cultural Competence a Focus for Programs Abroad
    • Reflections on Immigration – A Changing Europe
    • Developing Your Personal Advising Philosophy
    • Encouraging Student Resilience & Managing Mental Health Issues in Study Abroad

We Went Back to the Future | Keynote Futurist Jack Uldrich

Jack Uldrich, a global futurist, author, and IES Abroad alum (Durham, 1985-86), presented Thursday morning's plenary session titled, "The Future of Education Demands Unlearning". Jack encouraged session attendees to be more open to ambiguity and to have humility in the process of taking on all of the changes to come. Learn more about Jack's work here.

Celebrating Study Abroad Through Film

For Friday's plenary session, we were excited to welcome our second annual Film Festival winner Kyle Rodriguez (Buenos Aires, Spring 2015) of Occidental College, for his award-winning film, It's Okay.

Kyle accepted his award after speeches from Dr. Octavio di Leo, IES Abroad Rio Center Director and Juror, and Amy Ruhter McMillan, AVP of Marketing, who spoke about the Festival and screened the top three Film Festival finalists.

And the Award Goes To...

    Our Thursday Night Awards Dinner at the Chicago History Museum celebrated IES Abroad Nantes' 50th anniversary and recognized three Consortium Members with the following Leadership Awards:

    • Lifetime Achievement AwardRob Hallworth, Director of Study Abroad, The George Washington University
    • Professional Development AwardDavid Taylor, Director of Global Abroad Programs, Wake Forest University
    • Volunteer of the Year AwardAmy Lancaster, Dean of International Programs, Wofford College

    Additional recognition given during the Conference included:

    Faculty Awards:

    • Long-Term Faculty Awards: Dr. Bernhard Maleck, Berlin & Dr. Catherine Molteni-Josse, Nantes
    • Instructor of the Year AwardClaudia Flores, Santiago
    • Excellence in Teaching AwardRachid Idrissi, Rabat & Dr. Pierpaolo Racciopi, Rome
    • Faculty Innovation AwardJonas Lana, Rio de Janeiro

    Student Awards:

    • Study Abroad Film FestivalKyle Rodriguez (Buenos Aires | Occidental College)
    • Ambassadors of the YearAlyssa Suhm (Beijing | Villanova University) & Nikki Varitimidis (Rio de Janeiro | University of South Carolina)
    • Blogger of the YearKimberly Webber (European Union | University of Puget Sound)

    IES Abroad Session Highlights

    The lively discussion on the migrant/refugee crisis at this Friday morning session was not-to-be-missed. Presented by Center Directors from Austria, France, Italy, and Spain, this popular session discussed how the immigration situation is affecting these areas and students' study abroad experiences.

    12 for 12 for 12 PROGRAMS
    We announced four new programs starting in Fall 2016 that are 12 credits for 12 weeks for $12,000. These programs all provide the same level of academic excellence and superior student support you expect from IES Abroad.

    The new programs are:
    • Berlin - International Affairs & Security Studies
    • Buenos Aires - Business & International Relations in Latin America
    • Rome - Tourism & Cultural Heritage Management
    • Siena - Business & Economics of Italian Food & Wine

    Click here to learn about what's included in the programs. More information about these programs will be available in mid-November.


    Members of our IES Internships Programming staff gave attendees highlights of our newest full-time, summer internship offerings in Berlin, Shanghai, and New York. These three new programs add to the nine existing international internship locations available. Click here to find out more about all 12 IES Internships summer programs.

    Special Thanks to Our Annual Conference Sponsors

    This was the first year we had Annual Conference sponsors, which helped defray the cost of the Conference—this is very important to us as a not-for-profit organization.

    Sincere thanks to our first Conference sponsors:


    • Student Universe


    • STA Travel
    • Terra Dotta


    • Hogan Lovells
    • United Educators


    • The Graphic Arts Studio
    • CISI
    • Diversity Abroad
    • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
    • Savis Studley
    • ACE insured
    • AIG
    • Barnes & Thornburg
    • InsureMyTrip

    A special thank you to the Union League Club, too, who continues to give us the best conference rates we can find in Chicago.

    Art Institute of Chicago Tour

    On Friday afternoon after the Conference, IES Abroad Milan faculty member Dr. Francesca Pola guided 25 attendees on a complementary hour-long tour of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Her tour highlighted Italian and international art of the 20th century, and focused on the intercultural aspects of relationships, connections, and diversities among the various contexts and artists.

    Dr. Pola was also a recent guest of Penn State University, as part of our Faculty Development program.

    Relive the Fun on Facebook

    Check out our Annual Conference Facebook album to see a variety of photos from this year's events, sessions, and more.

    Save the Date

    Next year’s Annual Conference is scheduled for October 5-7, 2016 (a week earlier than normal).

    We look forward to welcoming you for another Conference filled with excellent sessions, lively discussion, and networking with the finest in the field of study abroad.


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    Ashley Houston

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