UKNARIC19: our most diverse conference yet!

Delegates from 34 countries and territories were represented at the UKNARIC19 annual conference in London on 4 and 5 November, making our 23rd annual conference the most diverse yet.

The conference took place at the QEII Centre in Westminster.

UK NARIC CEO Dr Cloud Bai-Yun said in her opening speech that it is important to balance risks in your international strategies and operations during these turbulent times.

The main theme of UKNARIC19 was ‘Vision. Values. Impact.’ Values – cultural values, institutional values, and how these can be used positively to guide, differentiate, and market your international activity – was explored in the 40+ conference workshop sessions.

The workshops addressed the latest discussion points in international education, with lots of practical information and ideas to take away, and opportunities to explore and forge new partnerships.

Our conference speakers covered a wide range of topics:

Significant developments in the Asia-Pacific region regarding skills mobility and internationalisation, were discussed by Dr Libing Wang, Chief of Educational Innovation and Skills Development at the UNESCO Bangkok Bureau.

Initial findings from research in Syria, jointly conducted by UK NARIC and UNESCO Beirut, were discussed by Dr Anasse Bouhlal, Programme Specialist (Higher Education) at UNESCO Beirut, who reported back on the state of play in the Syrian higher education sector amidst the difficult situation there.

Dave Vann and Alistair Bullen of brand building agency ABA, led two workshops; one looking at successfully projecting your institution’s ‘local’ brand and brand values in international markets, the other at understanding your ‘student profile’ and how to create an authentic, powerful institutional culture that has your students at its heart.

The importance of diversifying your student recruitment – spreading risk and avoiding over-dependency on a single country – was addressed from the Australian perspective, with Grace Ning Guan, head of student recruitment at the University of Sydney, who led the workshop.

There were several interactive discussion and panel sessions throughout the conference, which addressed issues such as English language proficiency, transnational education, FE and the international market, and immigration compliance.

UKNARIC19 featured expert speakers, such as Shanella Rajanayagam, trade economist at HSBC bank, examining the latest developments in international trade deals and global trends; Stuart Rennie of SJRennie Consulting, looking at the changing situation and most promising market opportunities across the African continent; Adam Foster, of Edinburgh/Chengdu -based specialist consultancy East West Marketing, presented on the particular digital marketing and planning approaches to help ensure success in your marketing and projects in China; Adam Haxell, senior parliamentary officer, Million+, discussed the future of student immigration, the White Paper and the latest policy movements; Tijen Ahmet, legal director and immigration specialist at leading law firm Shakespeare Martineau, gave an update on immigration rules and compliance implications; Jude King [pictured below], associate director admissions at University of Liverpool, led a workshop on ‘demystifying admissions’; Dr Stefan Sant, head of the ENIC-NARIC of Malta, presented a new programme for allocating credit to European professional training programmes; Fatma Ozturk of the Council of Higher Education of Turkey, looked at new, effective recognition measures for refugees; Jonathan Ledger, TVET specialist at the DIT, discussed ‘de-risking education exports’; a detailed briefing on T-Levels was led by Debbie Potts and Seb Ross of the DfE; and Julie Allen, director of policy and services at UKCISA, presented on supporting the international student experience.

UKNARIC19 is grateful to our principal sponsors: IELTS and Europass.

Europass was also our digital partner, presenting our conference app Whova.

If you’ve been unable to join us at this year’s conference and have complimentary places included in your UK NARIC membership, speak to your account manager for access to workshop presentations.

Check out our conference legacy page here.