International House News
This year the annual International House Directors Conference took place in Oxford from May 7th-10th where the IHWO team welcoming 133 IH Directors from all over the IH network. With exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, IH Trustees and the IHWO team at the event our total number of delegates was over 160.
The conference programme included a mixture of presentations from internal and external speakers. We were delighted to welcome back Luis Huete as our main plenary speaker and he spoke about responding to tough challenges in schools’ markets and also the transition businesses make from entrepreneur to professional organisations. We also had presentations on marketing, customer service, the customer journey, university pathways and branding. Several affiliate directors spoke about projects or events in their schools that were of relevance to the network.
A new addition to the conference was the ‘IH Mini Workshop’ when community schools had the opportunity to act as agents and talk to IH Study Abroad schools in a workshop format.
Our UK location this year meant we were able to invite interested parties from exam boards and publishers to sponsor the event. We were delighted to welcome representatives from Guard.me, Trinity TESOL, OUP, Cambridge, Cengage – National Geographic, Macmillan Education, Pay to Study, Bournemouth English Bookshop Centre and Study Travel Magazine. A special thank you to our main sponsor Guard.me who will be hosting the 2017 Directors’ Conference in Toronto.
Highlights of the social programme for the conference included dinners at Oriel College and the beautiful Ashmolean Museum, as well as a visit to Oxford and Oxford University Press. Founded in 1326 by King Edward II, Oriel is the fifth oldest of Oxford's colleges and after drinks in the picturesque quad we dined in the college hall. The dinner at Oriel was sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment.
On the Sunday evening of the conference we held our annual Charity Auction, this year we raised money for YUVA a charity working to empower the Syrian community in the South East of Turkey through its Nizip and Kırıkhan Community Centers since 2013 under the Syrian Refugees Support Program. YUVA provides ‘child friendly’ spaces in its Community Centers for vulnerable Syrian children and youth so that they can have access to safe, participatory and inclusive education and recreational activities.
As always, the most important element for a successful conference is the IH directors themselves! It was wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues talking and sharing together and creating the fantastic atmosphere that is associated with this event. A key objective of the conference, presented by Monica Green in her session entitled ‘Generating Business Internationally with IH’, is that all IH schools should actively seek ways to work together and generate business together. At the conference we made an excellent start on this and we hope that it will continue throughout the coming year.