AIEC Braindate
Making meaningful connections in a virtual world

The ‘AIEC Braindate’ was a topic-driven peer-learning and knowledge-sharing virtual event. It was an opportunity to make meaningful connections and have interesting conversations with people who shared the same interests as you.

The two-day event attracted over 1000+ professionals in international education and industry experts from across the globe. 


Tuesday 20 October 2020

Wednesday 21 October 2020

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Location AIEC Braindate Marketplace
Sponsor IELTS



What is virtual braindate?

Virtual braindating is a structured networking experience, where people with shared interests connect virtually to make meaningful connections and discuss topics of interest.

A brain date can be either a one-on-one 30 minute conversation or a 45 minute group discussion for 5 people (1 host and 4 other poeple) in total. 


1:1 braindate

A 30 minute deep dive into a topic with one other person on

Group braindate

Enjoy a 45 minute discussion with up to 5 people to gain perspectives on a shared topic of interest.

Why go braindating?

Top reasons to join the AIEC Braindate include:

1. Braindating is more than just networking...
2. Braindates are topic-driven, which means ‘you’ set the agenda
3. Braindates are peer-learning experiences and knowledge-sharing experiences
4. Braindates allow you to present and troubleshoot a particular challenge you are facing
5. Braindates help you connect and talk with people who share the same interests as you
6. Braindates provide the perfect opportunity to gather diverse perspectives from peers
7. Braindates offer the chance to share your knowledge with others and unique professional and personal experiences;

8. Braindates can be the start of long-lasting relationships 

What topics were covered?

Topics were created by participants and posted on the 'topic marketplace'.

Topics created on the ‘topic marketplace’ were burning questions, top of mind projects or deep and actionable conversations which the participants wanted to have with their peers. For example:

  • Offer to share knowledge or information
  • Request or ask for information/knowledge

Some of the topics posted include:

  • The influence of university rankings on international education: a challenge or a benefit?
  • Digital marketing #epicfails and how to avoid them
  • Key learnings from the rapid development and implementation of state-wide student welfare programs
  • International student mobility when we can’t travel?
  • Making an impact? New Colombo Plan scholarships and grants and our Indo-Pacific relationships

Check out AIEC's key interest areas to get an idea of the types of topics that were covered.

How did it work?

Braindate etiquette

Here were some basic 'dos and dont's' that helped participants while braindating!

Be polite: Adopt a beginner’s mindset, make sure everyone introduces themselves and contributes to the discussion.
Be respectful: Braindates are about building—and nourishing—communities through knowledge exchange in an open and inclusive space. Behaviour that makes other participants uncomfortable will not be tolerated.
Be upfront:  Be clear about your topic and honest about your own involvement related to the topic. Pitching your topic with sincerity is the easiest way to start a meaningful conversation, be it selling a product, offering a job opportunity or promoting your services. 
Be realistic:  Don’t book a braindate unless you genuinely interested in the topic.
Show up:  Don't leave your braindate hanging! Send a message if something comes up.
Don’t be late:  Make sure you are ready to meet your virtual date(s) on time. You can opt in to receive email and/or SMS reminders in you profile settings.
Give the meeting your full attention:  Braindates require that you contribute to the conversation. Unlike webinars, you can’t turn off your video or mute yourself, so ensure you book your braindate at time that you are free and are able to commit 100% of your attention.
Prepare in advance:  Dates are only 30 to 45 minutes long, so you don’t want to waste the first 5 or 10 minutes fixing a tech issue. Make sure you test your speakers and video in advance, so you’re ready to joining and start the conversation on time.
Dress appropriately:  Dressing appropriately will help you stay focused and in ‘work’ mode. Casual or business casual is appropriate, your favourite PJs is not.

Frequently asked questions

Will I get assistance on event day?

During the event itself (20-21 October), there will be learning concierges who can help find the right conversations for you to join. 

If I host a braindate, do I have to prepare a presentation?

You do not have a prepare a formal presentation, but if you have created the topic, you want think of some 'talking points'. A brain date is a conversation, not a presentation or session at a conference.

Also, please note there is no screen sharing. If you want to share a link or a document, please use the chat box which allows you to connect with others before the date and which is enabled as soon as the topic is created and posted on the marketplace.


For any questions relating to the event itself, please get in touch with us at

Please subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn using #aiecconnect to keep track of are future events.

Key dates

21 March - Call for proposals opens

12 April - Call for proposals closes

30 May - Registration open

July - Program released

31 July - Super early bird registration closes

13 September - Early bird registration closes

22–25 October – AIEC 2024