The Office of International Development and External Affairs Participates in an International Higher Education Conference Through the British Council
June 15-17th was the virtual Going Global 2021 conference 'Reimagining international tertiary education for a post-pandemic world' for leaders of international education organized by the British Council.
The Office of International Development and External Affairs (IDEA) participated in the event during a session titled "Can virtual exchange be truly successful and sustainable?" on a case study related to the IDEA office's debate and cross cultural dialogue virtual programs. The session also included presentations by Ms Rana Latif of Ryerson University's Faculty of Communication and Design (Canada) and Dr Tanja Reiffenrath of University of Gottengen (Germany). The session was chaired by Prof. Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement), Exeter University, U.K.
Ms. Gilbrecht of the IDEA office presented on the office's An Najah University Debate Society's efforts to integrate virtual exchange and, most recently, cross cultural dialogue strategies into debate education. The presentation included an overview of virtual exchange methods utilized pre and post COVID as well as the qualitative and quantitative participant outcomes as they relate to the OECD's global competencies, 21st century skills, and gender equity. Ms. Gilbrecht highlighted An-Najah's efforts and accomplishments in virtual exchange that extended several years before the pandemic due to the limitations on movement and visa acquisitions imposed by the Occupation.
Ms Latif discussed Ryerson University's transition from in-person exchange to virtual exchange during the pandemic and the incorporation of student participant feedback in the designing and improvement of the program. Dr Reiffenrath discussed the impact of virtual exchange within the ENGLIGHT program, the European University Network to Promote Equitable Quality of Life, Sustainability, and Global Engagement through Higher Education Transformation.
Following the three presentations, the session included a 25 minute breakout room discussion where the presenters and an alumnus of their program led more in-depth dialogue with audience members on their programs and answered questions. Accompanying Ms Gilbrecht for this breakout session was Zaina Hurani, 3rd year physics student and participant of An-Najah's debate and cross cultural dialogue virtual exchange program. Zaina led the discussion by sharing her reflections on the benefits of the program and her own transformations.
A post-session discussion was faciliated by the Cultural Attaché of the British Council in Azerbaijan, Mr Summer Xia, and attended by the presenters, program alumni and audience from the main session. During the post-session discussion, the presenters shared guidance on how to increase decision maker buy-in, best practices, and gender equitable monitoring and evaluation in virtual exchange.
The session concluded with summary presentations of each breakout discussion key takeaways by the student alumni of the program.
The conference took place on the online conference platform Hopin and included a mix of keynote sessions, discussion forums, and panel sessions related to three primary global higher education themes: the changing student body, serving the post-pandemic society, and protecting the planet. To read more about the conference and program highlights, visit https://www.britishcouncil.org/going-global/programme/agenda