Last week, a few members of our team attended the AAIE (Association for the Advancement of International Education) 2023 Global Leadership Conversation conference in Washington D.C. The event brought together aspiring and current international leaders in an effort to Reconnect, Recharge, and Refocus, the conference’s overall theme. AAIE Institute contributors and instructors, Judi Fenton, Jack Delman, and Kelly Mekdeci, were able to join us at the conference and we had a chance to (re)connect. The conference, which ran February 6-8, 2023, consisted of keynote speakers as well as smaller sessions which addressed topics pertinent to international educational leaders and education as a whole.

Judi Fenton, Kelly Mekdeci, Sarah Menegay

From left to right; Judi Fenton, Kelly Mekdeci, Sarah Menegay

Below are a few highlights from the conference:

Keynote – COVID, Constraints… and Now a Recharge – Harnessing the Power of Limitations: Myron Dueck (Okanagan-Skaha 67 in British Columbia, Canada., Vice Principal for Communicating Student Learning)

When referencing Beautiful Constraint by Adam Morgan and Mark Braden, Myron reminded us that it is important to reframe our thinking, especially, when we feel trapped or closed in by a constraint. During the session, we examined how we identify and view constraints and the various ways we act within limitations. Myron urged us to not view constraints and limitations as something bad, but an opportunity to think outside the box. For example, he suggested replacing words such as ‘we can’t’ with actions like ‘we can if…’.


International School Services (ISS) Women’s Breakfast: Dr. Aaliyah Samuel (CEO of CASEL)

The ISS women’s breakfast gathered female international educational leaders and created a resounding sense of community throughout the event. Dr. Aaliyah Samuel spoke on the hardships and rewards that come with being both a mother and a leader and stressed the importance of Social Emotional Learning for children and adults alike. The biggest takeaway from this event is the idea that kids will do as we do, not do as we say. 


Solving Challenging Board Dilemmas: Alan Knobloch (School Head at the International School Of Hamburg) 

During this session we had the opportunity to collaborate with school heads, board members, and board chairs to review a variety of dilemmas that international schools are currently experiencing. In both small and large groups, we discussed the issues and brainstormed different ways to approach and remedy them. It was rewarding to learn while providing real-time feedback that will assist international school heads as our feedback will be sent to the leaders who provided the examples.