Igniting Curiosity: Highlights from the 19th Annual Conference

The Forum on Education Abroad had the pleasure of welcoming more than 1,000 education abroad changemakers from across the globe to the 19th Annual Conference, held from March 14-15 (virtually) and 22-24 (in Seattle).

Going “Themeless in Seattle,” this year’s conference brought together international education thought leaders of today and tomorrow to discuss emerging trends, timely topics, and re-connect with a community that’s passionate about the life-changing work that we accomplish together.

Over the five-day virtual and in-person formats, conference attendees chose from 70 sessions that explored 10 key focus areas.

Moving Opening Plenaries
At both the virtual and Seattle sessions of the Annual Conference, participants had the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by our opening plenary speakers:

  • Indigenous best-selling, kid-lit author Monique Gray Smith presented on “Making the Invisible Visible” virtually on March 14. During her engaging plenary, Gray Smith shared strategies and advice on supporting students in understanding the truths of the land and country they are studying in—both at home and abroad.
  • Award-winning speaker and author Anu Taranath shared her plenary “Mindful Travel in an Unequal World” on Wednesday, March 22, in Seattle. Dr. Anu delivered an interactive presentation on how we can address the dynamics of power and privilege to deepen our understanding of race, access, inequality, and social justice.


Record-Breaking Attendance at Newcomer Information Session

Attendees at the Annual Conference in SeattleWe were pleased to host more than 400 registrants for the Newcomer Information Session on Thursday, March 23. Participants enjoyed getting to know one another and learning about The Forum’s many offerings for those who are new to the field.


Education Abroad Colleagues & Students Recognized
 with Top Awards
During the Annual Conference award sessions online and in Seattle, we celebrated the accomplishments of the recipients of four prestigious Forum Awards:

New Publications Available
For the first time, attendees were able to access all four printed publications in the Standards in Action book series! The series seeks to bridge big ideas and foundational principles in education abroad to the creative approaches and practical tactics that can turn those concepts into reality.

Prioritizing Sustainability

Sustainability practices are important to us, so we made sure to be mindful in the conference planning process. Thank you to ISEP Study Abroad, who sponsored 400 complimentary Sound Transit Link light rail full-day transit passes that could be used to return to SeaTac airport at the conclusion of the conference.


As part of our ongoing sustainability efforts:

  • We produced a digital Annual Conference program and did not print any programs. Our conference app also replaced the need for a paper conference guide.
  • We reduced the amount of Forum swag offered. A limited number of pens and tote bags were available.
  • Participants in Seattle were encouraged to bring their own bottles to fill at one of the numerous water stations, or use the compostable cups the hotel provided. Bottled water was not provided.

Special Thanks
The Forum thanks the Conference Committee, presenters, and attendees for their participation in the 19th Annual Conference.

Many thanks, as well, to all our conference sponsors (including Diamond Sponsor IES Abroad) and exhibitors for their support of the Annual Conference.

We look forward to seeing everyone next year at our 20th Annual Conference on March 20-22, 2024, in Boston and virtually!