Thank you to everyone who attended the International Baccalaureate (IB) Global Conference, The Hague, in October 2022. It was a truly memorable experience as we gathered in person to embrace innovation and inspire action.
More than 1,600 attendees from 86 countries met in The Hague to engage in thought-provoking discussions, while sharing fresh ideas and tangible skills for education. Held under the theme Embracing innovation, inspiring action, attendees explored how to prepare the next generation and equip them with the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.
Attendees came together to learn and collaborate with educators from across the globe. Our outstanding line-up of speakers shared unique perspectives on education through their own experiences and areas of expertise. We were truly inspired by the engaging discussions and heart-warming sense of community.
Opening day: Mindful innovation
The opening session focused on one of the most important issues impacting schools and society at large: sustainability. We learned how education for sustainable development equips learners with the knowledge, skills, values and agency to address interconnected global challenges.
On the first day, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, IB Director General, delivered his welcome remarks. He detailed the IB’s strategic vision to solve challenges relevant to the future of students today, while valuing our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
We proudly hosted IB alumna, Shreya Padmasola, who works as a user experience (UX) designer at QWIC, a Dutch e-bike company. She kicked off the day with her speech emphasizing the importance of an empathetic mindset, and how this way of thinking has helped her create holistic, innovative and sustainable design solutions. Shreya explained how the IB laid the foundation to learning holistically and paved the way to expand learning beyond the academic stage.
Our first keynote speaker, Dr Arjen Wals, Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University, addressed the answers to some of our most pressing interrelated global challenges:
“If we can create a living community where you can breathe sustainability … then I think we can tip to a new normal that normalizes sustainability and problematizes unsustainability.”
Second day: Innovative leadership
The general session on the second day centred on innovative leadership as a catalyst for overcoming obstacles and creating change in a post-pandemic educational climate.
We heard from educational thought leader and school culture expert Steve Bollar, who discussed tangible, creative solutions to rejuvenate school climate and culture and inspire real change.
We remember the speech with his quote, “Leaders are not supposed to blend in, they’re supposed to stand tall”.
We also heard from Dr Alma Trumic, the current DP/CP coordinator at the International School of The Hague. She described her personal journey with the IB and how her passion for education bred resilience through challenging times. Her inspiring words are a lesson to us all:
“The saying [is] that our greatest glory is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall; I personally choose to rise, despite my difficult circumstances.”
Closing day: Education reform
Finally, we wrapped up the conference with a focus on education reform, specifically how a shift in mindset and practice can lead to greater diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
Our closing keynote speaker, Dr Conrad Hughes, Campus and Secondary Principal, International School of Geneva, La Grande Boissière, taught us about privilege versus access, with the dilemmas and pathways facing international schools. We were truly inspired by his insight:
“A lot of studies have shown that academic success is predicated on social advantage … it’s not a meritocracy.”
Our community voice, Daniela Alvarán, Campus Recruiter at Xomnia, gave a moving reflection on her IB education and how it inspired her and shaped her journey to the present day.
In addition to the general sessions, attendees were able to participate in more than 90 peer-to-peer and IB staff breakout sessions across four different tracks.
These covered a wide range of the most relevant topics for IB educators and the larger global community today. From educational technology and innovation to inclusive education and well-being, learning and teaching to leadership, there were plenty of learning opportunities for everyone.
Session highlights included the following:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion in IB schools: Learning from each other's stories—Dr Michèle Rice, the IB’s first Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, led an insightful discussion with Head of IB World Schools Fidelis Nthenge. Find out more by reading the IB’s Diversity, equity and inclusion statement.
- School community leadership for health and well-being—Ali Hassan discussed the moral responsibility school leaders have to prioritize their own physical and mental health as well as that of others.
- Enhancing the MYP: From vision to reality—Tala AlMassarweh and Lenny Dutton offered the chance to engage in targeted changes that will strengthen the Middle Years Programme (MYP). This highly interactive session was an inspiring and effective opportunity for educators to make an impact in the MYP.
Attendees can log in to the mobile app to download session slides that have been shared by presenters. The full conference programme can be found here.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our community of passionate educators, presenters, exhibitors and sponsors for joining us in The Hague. The success of this conference would not have been possible without you.
See you at the IB Global Conference 2023 in Dublin!
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