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APAIE 2021 moves from NZ after fire

The Asia Pacific Association for International Education has made the “difficult decision” to relocate its 2021 conference to Bangkok, Thailand, after a fire pushed back the completion date of the under-construction conference centre in the original host city, Auckland.

Prince Mahidol Hall at 2021 APAIE host, Mahidol University, Thailand. Photo: Wikimedia

The fire in October caused extensive damage to the NZ International Convention Centre

The fire in October lasted 44-hours and caused extensive damage to the NZ International Convention Centre, which is set to become Auckland’s largest convention centre with a capacity of 3,000 people.

“Our hope is that APAIE will be able to be held in New Zealand sooner rather than later”

“Relocating a conference the size of APAIE is obviously a significant decision and a particularly tough one to make given APAIE’s tradition of working closely with a local lead host university and other partners,” said APAIE president Sarah Todd.

“Unfortunately, there are no other venues in New Zealand of the size necessary to host an APAIE conference and, while a number of different ideas were explored, we ultimately had to make the call to relocate.”

The decision to relocate APAIE, which attracts over 2,000 delegates each year, sees the 2022 host city, Bangkok, pushed forward a year, and Mahidol University take over lead university responsibilities from The University of Auckland.

“Our conference planning was well advanced so we know what is involved in preparing for a conference of the scale of APAIE,” said Jenny Dixon, UA’s deputy vice-chancellor (strategic engagement).

“We are very grateful to Mahidol University, who within a week of the fire, agreed to step in and move their planning forward a year to host in 2021.”

While APAIE2021 has been relocated, both Todd and Dixon were upbeat about Auckland hosting one of the association’s future conferences.

“Our hope is that APAIE will be able to be held in New Zealand sooner rather than later, and we will be staying in close contact with our NZ partners to ensure a plan is put in place when the venue is available,” Todd said.

Dixon meanwhile told The PIE News she is grateful to conference partners, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Convention Bureau, and Education New Zealand, which have agreed to continue their support for hosting APAIE when they are able to do so.

“We are very much looking forward to attending… APAIE 2021 in Bangkok, and of course, hosting APAIE in New Zealand prominently featuring the South Pacific in the not-too-distant future!”

The 2020 APAIE conference will take place in Vancouver, Canada.

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