The IH Directors' Conference 2024 in Split

The 2024 IH Directors’ Conference was an event to remember.

The atmosphere at this conference is hard to describe, there is a buzz, an air of opportunity, possibility and collaboration. During the event, we interviewed directors about what they found valuable about the conference. The words “inspiration”, “motivation” and “connection” came up again and again.

As IH World’s Managing Director, Emma Hoyle said, “It is truly a joy and honour to be part of this incredible community of inspiring, passionate, and collaborative individuals who take such delight in coming together each year.”

This year, IH Split was our host. Director Josip Sobin is fiercely proud of his hometown, Croatia’s second-largest city, and we can see why after visiting. Flying in over picturesque archipelagos in the sunshine set the scene for the next three days.

“Hosting the 2024 Directors' Conference with the International House World Organisation was an incredible experience,” reflected Josip Sobin. “And having the entire community gather in my hometown of Split made it truly special. Honestly, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

The IH Split team did a wonderful job hosting the IH directors from around the world and introducing them to the history, architecture and landscapes of Split. Thank you to them for their generosity, time and excellent hosting skills.

A highlight was making so many new connections and being part of this fantastic network... I feel I finally belong somewhere.

By IH Director

The conference opened with a bang on Sunday evening with a welcome dinner on the pool terrace of the hotel, hosted by our Platinum conference sponsors, LanguageCert. Delegates enjoyed an abundant buffet dinner and despite the drizzle, spirits were high. It was wonderful to have Henry Tolley and Lucy Horsefield attending the conference and we thank them and LanguageCert for supporting this event that is so vital to our community.

It was a highlight of my year - engaging talks, a great team and wonderful schools.

By IH Director

The first day of sessions opened with an introduction from Emma Hoyle and Josip Sobin, followed by plenary sessions on thought-provoking new perspectives with Morana Zibar, data-driven industry insights with Ivana Bartosik from BONARD and enlightening group coaching experience with Marianna Amy Crestani. IH Directors took to the stage in the afternoon, alongside Jasmina Milosevic, who led a wonderful session on exploring how language schools can keep up with the ever-evolving digital marketing trends and measure their performance. The day was rounded off by a session from Hannah Youell, the IHWO Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, on the Wellbeing of Educational Leaders. She is always a star!

Monday closed with a boat trip on the Adriatic at sunset. IH Directors, sponsors and speakers cruised the seas as they chatted and danced into the early evening.

The speakers were inspiring and provided valuable insights that I can apply in my role.

By IH Director

Day 2 kicked off with workshops for exam centres and the new IH inspection team. The plenary speaker was John Rogosic who presented on integrating AI into school operations - lots of food for thought. Other sessions covered Erasmus+ programmes and successful sales and marketing procedures. IH Study Abroad schools came together for our annual meeting and elected the new committee members David Hazon from IH Bristol, Marta Conesa from IH Riviera Maya, Claudia Adenet from IH Montpellier and Mark Raven from IH Sydney. What a line-up, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the IH SA Committee.

On Tuesday evening, we held the annual IH charity raffle and auction to raise money for the IH World Foundation and HELP – a non-profit association from Split. HELP is a non-profit association dedicated to improving the lives of young people in Split through two programmes. One programme is Info Center for Youth, a unit that works with people under the age of 30, aiming to increase their quality of life, empower them to adopt responsible behaviour and promote civic engagement. The other programme is Damage Prevention which promotes the mobility of young people across Europe and delivers informal education to help young people become more competitive in the labour market. The Damage Prevention unit works with young people with addiction problems. The association was founded in 1992 and now operates through more than 100 volunteers.

IH World’s Katja Preston acted as the auctioneer, she had us on the edge of our seats, crying with laughter and knew how to get the audience into a bidding battle. This year we raised €6,800– thank you to everyone who donated, provided objects and who bought raffle tickets.

Day 3 was a day of big emotions. Our closing plenary, Leela Bassi, inspired us with her story of resilience and overcoming adversity. Next year our Directors’ Conference will take place down under in Sydney. Josip Sobin from IH Split passed the baton on to Tim Eckenfels and Fernando Passarelli of IH Sydney Training Services and they showed us what we can expect from the event in 2025.

We closed on a poignant note as we remembered and celebrated our dear friend and a true pillar of the IH community, Mihai Laurențiu Gânj. In his honour and memory, we announced the launch of The Mihai Laurențiu Gânj Award for Innovation.

To close the conference and say our goodbyes for another year, we gathered together for the gala dinner in the magical restaurant Kaštil Slanica. IH Directors dined and danced as the full moon lit up the mystical Cetina River and the canyon walls, providing the perfect backdrop to the evening. It was the perfect way to end an enriching few days. The Directors' Conference is inspiring and motivating, delegates come away with ideas and solutions from discussing challenges and successes with colleagues worldwide.

Thank you to our Partner International Insurance, to our platinum sponsor, LanguageCert, to our gold sponsors Avallain, GEL – Guided e-Learning, Schoolworks and Trinity College London. Thank you to our silver sponsors CEMdesk, Cambridge, Higher Education Marketing, Intrinsiq and Oxford University Press and thank you to our local sponsor, IZZI. Without the support from these wonderful sponsors, we would not be able to include such a diverse range of speakers, social events and facilities.

We can’t believe the conference is over for another year. As always, it was an opportunity to make precious memories and forge connections that will last a lifetime.

See you in Sydney.