Hello, fellow delegates! I’m Dawn Hewitt, and I am thrilled to be attending and blogging my way through AIEC’s 30th anniversary conference. It looks to be a big week of big things, and if the President of IEAA, Chris Ziguras is right, be ready to be inspired and to think, “This is huge…this changes everything!”
For a conference focused on ‘connectivity’, the first plenary did not disappoint in challenging attendees to think beyond the traditional constructs of ‘connecting’. I trust that no one attending this opening would have expected that they would be standing shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues singing out in the plenary hall exemplifying the power of how inclusive and connected communities can be created. Tania de Jong of ‘One Voice’, shared the successes of her organisation through the simple concept of song. She urged attendees to consider alternative avenues for linking people, places, and purpose in the context of our international students.
Study Melbourne appropriately folded in a special surprise for the plenary by debuting their international student choir, which performed three diverse pieces especially for the conference. Melbourne may not have turned on the sunshine today, but that didn’t hinder anyone from ‘singin’ in the rain’ and serving up a healthy helping of energy and optimism to jumpstart the conference. I’m ready and raring to go!