15 August 2018 at 9:00 am

Keynote speakers inspire at NZIEC

How can we leverage our work in international education to foster global citizenship across New Zealand’s diverse communities?

That was the theme of the 27th New Zealand International Education Conference, held in Wellington on 9-10 August.

Three keynote speakers gave inspirational addresses to packed audiences at Te Papa.

Making a global impact

Yoseph Ayele, chief executive of the Edmund Hillary Foundation, kickstarted the conference by exploring how to make a global impact from New Zealand.


He gave four practical tips for bringing global citizenship into international education:

1. Create experiences, rather than content.

2. Learn to learn. Create an environment where everyone in your organisation is able to see themselves from other people’s perspectives.

3. Teach your values. Rather than focusing on practical skills, teach students key values such as manaakitanga or innovation.

4. Invest in diversity. Think about attracting students who may not be able to afford to study here, but who would greatly benefit from a New Zealand education and would want to give back.

Understanding online behaviour

Dr Shanton Chang, from the University of Melbourne, shared his knowledge of the online behaviour of students moving between countries.


His insights included:

  • Providing the right information at the right time to students is crucial.
  • Digital literacy is patchy and often limited to Google searches – even for ‘digital natives’. Don’t assume students will find the information you put online.
  • The layout and visual cues of websites often vary between cultures. Even downloading lecture notes can be a struggle for international students. If you want them to use your website, show them how.
  • Most of us have 7-10 websites we visit frequently. International students may continue to visit their favourite sites from home more than any other sites, particularly if they’re feeling isolated.

“Put it online and they will come? That is nonsense,” says Dr Chung. “We need to unpack that myth and engage properly.”

Developing partnerships

Anna Curzon, chief partner officer at cloud accounting software company Xero, gave advice on developing partnerships to become more globally successful.


 She challenged the audience to ask themselves five important questions:

  1. What is your purpose?
  2. What are you awesome at?
  3. What are the experiences in your value chain that will achieve your purpose?
  4. Do you need to build, buy or partner?
  5. If you need to partner, do you have the right people and culture to grow the relationship? 

In his address to the conference, Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins described global citizens as people who can “study, work and live across cultural and national boundaries”.

For those of us educating the next generation of global citizens, the three areas covered by the key speakers are important elements to consider as we continue to connect New Zealand to the world.

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