AIEC Activator | A social license for international education

The AIEC Activator provides conference attendees with the opportunity to engage in solutions for the international education sector. The Activator takes on key challenges that are negatively impacting our sector and uses AIEC as a platform to generate creative and innovative responses.     

The challenge

This year the AIEC Activator faces the challenge of developing a social licence for our sector. Attendees are encouraged to respond by creating a voice for our students and other beneficiaries through a community awareness messaging campaign. Together we can create the tools to achieve this.   


Our sector’s social licence to operate is being challenged. With few sector leaders vocally advocating for international education, we are creating a vacuum for others to speak loudest. Throughout the pandemic, media relating to ‘secure corridors’ and ‘pilot programs’ for overseas students has resulted in strong community backlash.

At an AIEC Connect session in 2020 Bernard Salt AM made a call to arms for the sector to work together to keep Australia at the forefront of international education. Governments, industry and institutions across Australia have been working on different strategies to engage communities and promote the benefits of international education, but to date there is no cohesive plan to develop our social licence.

We need to come together and be the voice for our sector.


By the close of the conference, the AIEC Activator aims to:

  • build a framework for a social licence strategy;
  • develop a pool of potential ‘international education heroes’, that is, international education student success stories, to potentially highlight in a campaign;
  • motivate conference attendees to become ‘Social Licence Ambassadors’
  • propose future research priorities to underpin advocacy for our sector

Get involved

There are a number of ways you can get involved in the AIEC Activator – it doesn’t matter whether you are a newcomer to international education or whether this is one of the 30+ AIECs you’ve attended. If you work in international education, we want to hear from you. And we want to know what your ideas are for obtaining a social license from our broader community.

Join or host a Braindate

Braindating is a topic-driven, peer-learning and knowledge-sharing experience. It’s an opportunity for people to get together and have interesting conversations in small groups or one-on-one.

In the context of our AIEC Activator, it is the perfect platform to troubleshoot a problem, share an idea, gather different perspectives, tell your story or ask a question.

The Braindate marketplace is accessible to all registered AIEC attendees. You can either join a conversation created by someone else or create and invite others to join your own conversation.

Some hot tips for making the most of the Braindate platform for this challenge:

  • Use the keyword ‘social license’ or ‘activator’, when creating your Braindate, so others can easily find you.
  • Search ‘social license’ or ‘activator’ to filter braindates specific to this challenge.
  • Add ‘social license’ or ‘activator’ as a keyword in your Braindate profile so that relevant braindates are recommended for you when you visit the marketplace

Read more about Braindate at AIEC 2021

Visit the AIEC Activator virtual booth

Visit the AIEC Activator virtual booth during networking breaks (in between sessions) and get involved in daily activities. Here you can:

  • sign up to be a Social Licence Ambassador;
  • suggest an International Education Hero (or share an international education success story);
  • participate in an idea creation session;
  • informally chat with our Activator Team;
  • post an idea in our chat box; and
  • download resources