Memorial University experts, researchers and educators will help welcome over 300 participants from more than a dozen countries around the world this fall as St. John’s hosts the 42nd annual conference of the Canadian Bureau for International Education from Nov. 1-4.
The university is a major sponsor of this year’s conference, which is being held at the Fairmont Newfoundland. This year’s theme is Shaping Worldviews: Diversity and International Education. It will feature presenters and attendees from across Canada, the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Australia and Europe, including faculty and staff from Memorial.
The university is playing an integral role in the co-ordination of the conference, overseeing much of the logistics of the event including plenary sessions. In addition, Dr. Grant Gardner, Memorial’s associate vice-president (academic), is the 2008 national conference chair, while Sonja Knutson, manager of Memorial’s International Student Advising Office, is the local arrangements committee chair.
The Canadian Bureau for International Education is a national, bilingual, not-for-profit group dedicated to promoting this country’s international relations through education. Nearly 200 post-secondary institutions, school boards, educational organizations and government departments are members of the group.
This is the second time the organization’s annual conference has been held in St. John’s. The last time was in 1983, 25 years ago. Memorial is collaborating with the College of the North Atlantic and the Department of Education to make it a memorable event.
Jim Fox, CBIE’s president, said that the group is delighted to be back in St. John’s after a too-long hiatus. “Our members told us that it was more than time,” he said. “This conference benefits from the tremendous energy of our Memorial and College of the North Atlantic colleagues, who immediately grasped the need for a critical examination of our assumptions about diversity as it applies to increasingly internationalized campuses. This is an issue for all international educators worldwide and our delegates from abroad will certainly broaden our perspectives.”
Ms. Knutson said organizers hope to “challenge those involved in international education to pursue new professional opportunities, network with new partners, and take the lead in initiatives that will improve respect and understanding among diverse peoples,” she said. “As educators, we each play a role in shaping the worldviews of the new generation.”
The conference will focus on a variety of timely issues in post-secondary education concentrating on areas such as studying abroad, retaining international alumni, online communications and international research experiences for students and faculty.
“I was extremely pleased with the calibre and breadth of the proposals that were received in response to our call for papers,” Dr. Gardner noted. “Participants at the 2008 CBIE Conference will have the opportunity to find out more about a wide range of current topics in international education, and to link with colleagues and mentors who share their passion for international education. Of particular interest is a focused forum on partnering with Central American and Caribbean education, which has attracted 12 university presidents and vice-presidents from nine countries in the region, as well as a strong array of keynote speakers.”
One of those is award-winning syndicated journalist Dr. Gwynne Dyer, who is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador and received an honorary degree from Memorial in 2001. He will deliver the conference’s keynote address titled 21st Century Strategies and Cultures: Pulling Us Together, Pushing Us Apart, on Monday, Nov. 3, at 8:30 a.m., at the Fairmont Newfoundland.
A number of members of the Memorial community will help deliver sessions including Ms. Knutson, Yvonne Collett, Shahana Islam and Juanita Hennessy, all of whom work with the International Student Advising Office. They’ll be joined by Jennifer Abbott of the Academic Advising Centre; David Cantwell, an employee of the Department of Computing and Communications; Dr. Lynda Younghusband of the University Counselling Centre; and Dr. Tony Dickinson, a professor of biology and executive director of the International Centre.
Memorial will also be front and centre during an international education fair, which will take place at the conference, highlighting study, research and teaching opportunities abroad for educators and students.
Additionally, during the conference, there will be tours of Memorial’s main campus as well as the Marine Institute including a reception for international guests hosted by Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president. Dr. Gardner said organizers are confident they have a dynamic conference with practical sessions for delegates.
To learn more about the 42nd annual Canadian Bureau for International Education and the conference, visit www.cbie.ca/index_e.htm