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IH Directors' Conference 2021 – Online

Published Bernice on Thursday, June 10, 2021

IH Directors' Conference online

This year, International House World Organisation held its annual IH Directors’ Conference and AGM online from May 24th to 28th, with a packed schedule of plenary sessions, workshops, and social events for IH directors.

Following the success of our first online Directors’ Conference in 2020, and after a year of hosting all IH events virtually, this year’s IH Directors’ Conference had a very real feeling of unity, collaboration and togetherness between IH schools.

The virtual programme followed the three themes of Resilience, Return and Re-Imagination that have formed our strategy in response to the Covid-19 crisis since May 2020.

Lucy Horsefield, Managing Director of IHWO, said: “During the past 12 months, our resilience has been tested in ways we could never have conceived of, and for far longer than expected, but we have fought on! Together our schools have achieved so much, and this conference was an essential opportunity to reflect on what we have learnt and plan for the future as we strive to rebuild and re-imagine our businesses. The past year has shown that now, more than ever before, we are stronger together.”

There was a stimulating mix of ideas sharing, networking and expert guest presenters. The programme included presentations from IH directors and the IHWO team, as well as external partners and sponsors who ‘exhibited’ during our virtual coffee breaks. Session topics included the future of AI in language teaching, Erasmus KA2 projects, hybrid learning, international student collaboration, managing difficult conversations, and environmental sustainability.

We welcomed three expert plenary speakers:

  • Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, incoming President of IATEFL, who spoke about building and developing resilient communities of practice.
  • Simon Ward, who many of our IH directors will remember from the IH Directors’ Conference in Catania in 2019, who talked about coping with stress as a manager.
  • David Abbott, a Marketing, Consumer Behaviours and Business Expert, who delivered a plenary on the essential topic of pricing and the customer psychology. He also led a practical workshop following the plenary presentation.

There were plenty of opportunities for networking and socialising before, after and during the conference. There were also ‘coffee breaks’ each day where our exhibitors each had their own breakout rooms and IH directors could drop in to find out more about their products and services.

We also organised two very special social events. The first was a live magic show with TV star and BAFTA award winner Fergus Flanagan, who delivered a captivating virtual performance. Our second social event was a spectacular live music and dance performance with artists from across the world!

Like usual at the IH Directors' Conference, we did something fun and unique to celebrate IH schools who have a significant anniversary of affiliation to IH in the years 2020 and 2021. This year, we created a charity virtual balloon race which we tracked throughout the week of the conference!

The online race took a worldwide route via the IH schools in these cities:

  • Brno, Czech Republic – IH Brno (celebrating 20 years of affiliation in 2020)
  • Veracruz, Mexico – IH Veracruz (celebrating 20 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Dhahran, – IH Dhahran (celebrating 20 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Hanoi, Vietnam – IH Hanoi (celebrating 20 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Intuition, – IH Intuition (celebrating 25 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Torres Vedras, Portugal – H Torres Vedras (celebrating 30 years of affiliation in 2020)
  • Porto, Portugal – IH Porto (celebrating 35 years of affiliation in 2020)
  • Braga, Portugal – IH Braga (celebrating 35 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Madrid, Spain – IH Madrid (celebrating 40 years of affiliation in 2021)
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – IH Buenos Aires (celebrating 45 years of affiliation in 2020)
  • Rome, Italy – IH Rome Accademia Britannica (celebrating 60 years of affiliation in 2020)

In the end, our IH schools raised £800 for the IHWO Foundation, our charity, and the money will be used to fund charitable projects across the International House network.

The overall winner of the balloon race was ‘MOT2’ (IH Rouen - French in Normandy). In keeping with IHWO's commitment to protect our planet, the prize for the winning balloon was a £50 donation to an environmental charity of the winner's choice. Eleri Maitland from IH Rouen chose to match the prize money and donated £100 to Water Aid.

We were delighted to welcome partners and sponsors who exhibited during the conference. A huge thank you for your invaluable support:, LanguageCert, Cambridge Assessment English, Trinity College London, BEBC, Macmillan, CEMDESK, Guided e-Learning and International House Montevideo.

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