This guest entry is written by Leasa Weimer who is a post-doctoral researcher at University of Jyväskylä in Finland after having finished her PhD in at the University of Georgia. She is also the current president of the Erasmus Mundus Alumni and Students association, a network composing of about 9000 Erasmus Mundus alumni and students. In this post she shares her impessions of the recent EAIE conference.
European Association for International Educators (EAIE) conference was held in Prague, September 16-19, 2014.
A sunny Prague welcomed over 5,000 attendees from 90 countries to the26th annual EAIE conference. The conference was abuzz with discussions focused on university partnerships, internationalization strategies, and student and staff mobility.
An expo of over 200 exhibitors (universities, providers, and country pavilions) served as the meet-up spot for networking, building future partnerships, and learning more about products and services in the international education market.
The theme this year was “Stepping into a New Era” and many speakers, dialogues, and sessions brought light to the current geopolitical environment and world events as they discussed international education. When introducing the opening plenary, the EAIE President mentioned those in the international education field who were impacted by the Malaysian flight accidents. The booth for the 2015 EAIE conference, scheduled to be in Glasgow, was lively as conference attendees stopped by to speak with the local Scottish individuals about the succession vote. Dialogue debates tackled such hot topics as international education as an initiative for peace and a united, yet divided, Europe.
Other popular themes included the new Erasmus+ program, as the European Commission (EC) hosted short informational presentations at their booth and presented in-depth sessions on the new program. During these sessions, the EC announced that the next Erasmus+ call would be published in October with a March deadline. There were also debates and research presented on university graduate skills versus labor market needs. For the most part, the sessions shared best practices and innovative practices in international education, but there was also a handful of research oriented sessions. Initial findings from the EAIE Barometer project were released during the conference. This research project is the first study to map the state of internationalization of higher education in Europe, from the practitioners’ perspective.
Next year’s conference will be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, September 15-18, 2015. Proposals to present will open in October 2014. If you work as a practitioner in or are interested to get a holistic perspective of international higher education in Europe, this is the conference to attend!