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Eaquals Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Hybrid Conference!

Published Bernice on Friday, October 29, 2021 12:00 AM

Eaquals Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Hybrid Conference!

Eaquals had plenty to celebrate with their 30th anniversary and a very successful hybrid event with the annual international conference which took place in Belfast on 21-23 October 2021/

The conference was officially opened by Eaquals Chair, Thom Kiddle, who welcomed attendees both in-person and online (from over 18 countries) to the organisation and reflected on the journey we had been on throughout the last 18 months and our initial return to face-to-face events. This was followed by an opening address from Mr Gerry Lennon, CEO of Visit Belfast, who reflected on the importance of renewed confidence in travel and international education and looked to a continued opening within the sector and further afield.

Eaquals held a special “Eaquals@30” session with former Eaquals Chairs and current Chair sharing their reflections from small beginnings through to present day challenges and looking towards the future of quality assurance, accreditation and language training within the international education industry around the globe and the role that Eaquals continues to play in this.

Three days of innovative presentations, workshops and discussions included a full day Management Training Workshop, delivered by Andy Hockley, on “Managing Conflict in the Classroom” with participants highly engaged throughout on a topic that was relevant for all. The opening plenary, delivered by Dr Joanne Murphy, on “Leading in times of volatility” was well-received by attendees and was particularly apt given all that we have had to deal with during the last 18 months of the pandemic. Professor Rhona Sharpe opened the second day with her plenary “What’s really changed? Exploring the impact of the pandemic on values-based decision making in higher education” which, once again, linked the theory to the practical realities of what we have faced in the last 18 months. Closing the three-day event was Alan Maley with his plenary on creativity which focused us on alternative approaches to teaching and learning. The session provided valuable information and useful assessment structures to the audience of language teaching professionals.

The conference gala dinner took place at the Titanic Suite, at the Titanic Centre in Belfast - an ideal location for an evening of feasting, dancing and, of course, networking.

Reflecting on the event, Lou McLaughlin, Executive Director of Eaquals said:

“After having had to postpone the conference on numerous occasions, we were delighted to be able to move ahead as one of the first in industry offering an international conference with both in-person and online attendance options. The emerging theme of the conference was one of managing change while moving forward and this was theme we felt very close to! The conference was a very special event, not just because it was our 30th anniversary, but because it was the first time that many were able to meet face-to-face with colleagues in over two years and that was very special as we now cherish these opportunities”.

The next Eaquals annual international conference will be held in Venice, 28-30 April 2022.

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