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AI dominates agenda at Kaplan Summit

Collaboration was the central theme at the recent Kaplan Partner Summit in Dubai, which brought university leaders together to discuss the current opportunities and threats in global education.

Delegates toured Dubai's SEE Institute and Sustainable City project

It was artificial intelligence that dominated the agenda, as delegates were encouraged to collaborate with emerging technologies as part of their innovation strategies.

Delegates heard examples of growing AI integration into agency counseling and course search, admissions pipeline efficiencies, marketing content generation and teaching and assessment.

Throughout the conference, pro-vice chancellors, vice presidents and strategic directors from across the Kaplan university network in Australia, US, Canada and the UK shared their perspectives in an effort to find common ground.

Linda Cowan, managing director of Kaplan International Pathways, spoke of a universal ‘golden thread’ that connects the whole sector in the pursuit of better student outcomes.

The sentiment was echoed by Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president for student affairs at the University of Victoria.

“Student success is something that brings us all together, it’s common across all our institutions.

“Having conversations about what it means to be a student today and how we can innovate in supporting them and responding to their needs, those commonalities are incredibly important,” Dunsdon said.

The agenda included debates on the speed of societal change, including AI and machine learning, insights into student decision-making and aligning the needs of students and industry for future jobs. 

Dubai provided the perfect backdrop to the conversation, as a futuristic cityscape of rapid development and new technologies emerging from the desert.

Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future, painted a sobering picture of a “tomorrow that is already here” in his keynote address, while The PIE News chaired panel discussions on sustainability and the evolution of the university campus.

Delegates toured Dubai’s SEE Institute and Sustainable City project as discussion focused on education transformation that can supports SDGs.

Film director Eloise King and Patricia Kingori from the University of Oxford took to the stage to reveal details of a new documentary entitled The Untitled Scholars from White Teeth Films that is entering the final stages of production.

The film tells the story of the $1 billion knowledge production industry in Kenya and explores themes of exploitation and broken social contracts in the divide between the global north and the global south.

Dibyesh Anand, deputy vice-chancellor for global engagement and employability at the University of Westminster articulated the current tensions in fair EDI practices on campus, brought into sharp focus by the escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza.

“Student success is something that brings us all together”

Kaplan were able to leverage insights from across their regional recruitment teams, pathway colleges, online learning and language testing to give a fuller picture of applicant behaviour and enrolment flows.

Public-private partnerships across the world have become increasingly important for innovation against a backdrop of geo-political instability and lack of government funding for higher education.

TEDI-London became the latest Kaplan partner institution in 2022, through their relationship with founding partners Arizona State University.

Did you attend the Kaplan Partner Summit? Do you want to know more about the topics highlighted here? Comment below or contact us by emailing

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