New horizons

Join us online as we explore new horizons for international education.

AIEC 2021 is a virtual event where all attendees, will be able to meet once again to learn, share, network and make meaningful connections.

A new era is dawning for our sector and, despite much uncertainty, we enter it with innovative ideas, valuable experiences and a renewed passion to help international students and globally minded people achieve their goals.

This is perhaps the most important AIEC of our time. In 2020, our sector came face to face with a truly global crisis and as an industry we have been tireless in our collective effort to respond with innovation, agility and compassion.

AIEC is our opportunity to meet with industry leaders and our peers to share those special interactions that only come when we connect person to person. It is a chance to learn from our collective experiences and to strengthen our sector for the future.

This year’s conference will explore the theme ‘new horizons’ through five key subthemes: global challenges, digital innovation, life and learning, policy and politics and strategic insights.

We look forward to coming together, looking ahead and reaching new horizons for international education.


Global challenges

This subtheme addresses major trends, shocks or developments that are transnational in nature and cannot be solved by any government, country or institution acting alone.

In the context of international education this includes key issues such as the sustainability of international education in a post-pandemic world, climate change, safe corridors for international mobility, the rise of nationalism, the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, and the critical role of traditional and non-traditional partnerships for collective action.

Digital innovation

This subtheme examines the role of technology and innovation in the delivery of quality education and business services and, most importantly, which emergent innovations are having the greatest impact on the provision of education and learning environments, marketing and recruitment, and the delivery of support services.

Example topics may include EdTech, digital transformation in education and the workplace, virtual learning, virtual mobility, design and delivery of online courses, automation, hybrid learning environments, online counselling and support, and the future of e-learning.

Life and learning

This subtheme puts a spotlight on us as people, both students and international education professionals. What impact has this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic had on us socially, professionally and emotionally?

Topics focusing on international students’ issues may include support programs and services, mental health and resilience, economic strife, trauma, language and learning.

Issues facing people working in international education include the highs and lows of working from home, quarantine and travel disruptions, lack of motivation and fatigue, reskilling and upskilling, handling layoffs, restructuring and unemployment, and new approaches to develop leadership and energise teams.

Policy and politics

This subtheme focuses on the range of policies that affect the international education sector – what’s new, what has changed and what’s expected of the industry from our myriad stakeholder perspectives.

International education has been a major casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has highlighted the importance of engaging with government and getting the attention of politicians to secure support for the industry and protect Australia’s reputation as a leading education destination. It also explores the ‘politicking’, often behind the scenes and occasionally in the media, that has an impact on international education.

Sessions will showcase the work of Australian and international peak bodies to advocate for international students and professionals in international education, and critically will explore how we can change the narrative of international education in Australia to garner broader community support.


Strategic insights

This subtheme focuses on market intelligence that helps identify opportunities and informs strategy and planning.

Example topics include market trends, competitor activity, big data analytics, examples of best practice, new and emerging forms of international education, new frontiers, stories of renewal and success from other industries, country insights and lessons learned from across the sector.

Key interest areas

Reasons to attend

The theme for #aiec2021 is 'new horizons'