AIEA 2016 Conference to discuss the Academy’s Role in Building Better Societies

Part 1 of Q&A with Dr. Darla Deardorff, AIEA Executive Director, originally published via LinkedIn on 8 December 2015 

Last Spring, I accepted the invitation to be part of the AIEA 2016 Conference Subcommittee for Promotions. The following interview with Dr. Darla Deardorff, AIEA Executive Director, is part of my contribution to the Committee’s efforts to get the word out about the upcoming AIEA 2016 Conference to be held on February 21-24 in Montreal, Quebec.

I caught up with Darla at the sidelines of CBIE’s 49th Annual International Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Darla had just finished conducting a professional development workshop for CBIE participants and she most graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Helen: The theme of the AIEA 2016 Conference is ‘Building a Better World: The Academy as a Leader’, what does this mean?

Darla: The Conference theme speaks about the role of the academy and universities to move beyond internationalization, to desired outcomes of internationalization. It puts an emphasis on the role of universities in building a better world, better societies.

Helen: Education institutions have always been considered important pillars of society and public life. What do you think is the most pressing role for “the academy” today?

 As much as education institutions value global engagement, it is important to discuss and reflect on how they can engage individuals and stakeholders in their local communities. This interaction between local and global is important in building inclusive societies.

Helen: You are bringing AIEA Conference to Canada in February 2016. Would it be AIEA’s first time in Canada? Could you tell us a little more about the process of deciding the location for the yearly conference?

 Yes, that’s right, this is the first AIEA Conference in Canada and we thought it is fitting since Canada has been the 2nd most represented country at AIEA annual conferences, after the US. The possibility of Canada’s hosting the conference was first discussed as far back as five years ago.  It’s been great so far working with Canadian colleagues and we are really looking forward to the Conference in Montreal.

Helen: In the last few years international participation in AIEA annual conference has more than doubled – both in the number of attendees and geographical representation. When did AIEA open its doors to participants outside North America?

Indeed, the membership of AIEA has increased in the last few years and there is growing international interest in the AIEA Annual Conference. I think two developments helped foster such growth. In 2006, the strategic planning process changed the general title of senior-level university leaders – from Chief International Education Administrators (CIEAs) to Senior International Officers (SIOs), i.e. a member of their institution’s administrative staff with broad responsibilities for internationalization, which meant that multiple senior-level staff members from one institution could join AIEA. The other key development nearly 10 years ago was the online facilitation of membership applications, which made the processing of memberships faster and friendlier for international SIOs.

Q&A to be continued…

You are encouraged to register for the 2016 AIEA Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada from February 21-24, 2016! Early registration deadline: December 15, 2015. For more information, visit

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