Attendees, comprising of university representatives, high-school counsellors and independent education consultants from 15 countries, participated in plenaries, workshops and networking events to debate the biggest challenges facing the international education sector.
“Whether you are a school counsellor, an IEC or a university representative, we make up a community in which we change lives and bend destinies,” Gen Next founder and CEO Girish Ballolla’s opening address.
“Access and equity are central to Gen Next’s mission and a core focus of g2,” he added. As such, Ballolla and his team coordinated a large-scale scholarship effort for the event.
“We make up a community in which we change lives and bend destinies”
“We are proud to offer scholarships to over 60 high school-based counsellors to make g2 accessible,” he told the PIE.
Indeed, equity was a recurring theme throughout the conference with gatherers brainstorming ways to break down barriers to international education for students. Additionally, there was a call to promote a wider variety of school choices as attractive options for students and to educate students and families to think beyond “name brand” and rankings and to place a heavier value on best fit.
As well, presenters shared the need for a broader understanding of the importance of international students and their unique needs across campus. For, while international office staff are well-versed in concerns of international students, more training for staff outside of these departments is warranted.
Blair McElroy, senior international officer and director of study abroad at University of Mississippi, discussed how universities can better capitalise on strengths and address weaknesses in their institutions, even at a departmental level.
Sharing her reflections about the conference, McElroy said, “By providing a space for genuine connections between educators along with useful, concrete tools and resources, Gen Next recognises the influence international educators have on students, from encouragement and support during high school to their academic and professional success at the university level and beyond.
“Ultimately, the next generation of thinkers, creators and global citizens will be the beneficiaries of the g2 experience,” she concluded.
Likewise, Moustafa Ezz, associate vice president of recruitment & international relations at Huron at Western University, spoke about the next generation of students as the ultimate recipients of the learning and networking that occurred at g2.
“The future success and happiness of the next generation is an immense social responsibility in which school counsellors play a fundamental role.”
Ezz added that being part of a globally engaged university with a student-centric approach to admissions and learning “is the best way to empower students begins with ensuring their counsellors are always supported with their professional and community needs”.