12th Annual CIEE Global Internship Conference Kicks Off in London

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The 12th Annual CIEE Global Internship Conference (GIC) officially kicked off today in London, where educators, industry leaders, and policymakers have convened to explore best practices and innovative approaches in global internships. The theme of this year’s conference is “Collaborating to Shape Future Talent” and programming is focused on the importance of partnerships in preparing students for the future workforce. 

On Tuesday, CIEE hosted a pre-conference workshop on "Best Practices in Global Internships." Led by Chelsea Cowan from The University of Texas at Austin, Gosbert Chagula from Startup Discovery School, and Robby Block from CIEE, the workshop provided attendees with insights on planning and executing successful internships. Participants learned from case studies and shared their own experiences delivering rewarding programs while minimizing risks. The workshop highlighted the importance of cultural competencies and effective planning in global internships.

Then, this morning, conference attendees had the opportunity to attend an Industry Partner Site Visit at Office Space in Town (OSiT) a co-working space representative of typical intern workspaces in London. The visit included a tour, conversations with interns and discussions with industry partners about the projects interns can expect to work on.

2024 Global Internship Conference
Opening plenary panelists from L-R: Mariana Peters, Rebecca Pasini, Lord David Anderson of Ipswich, Jane Swift, and moderator Ahmad Ezzeddine

The main conference officially began with an Opening Plenary: Collaborating to Shape Future Talent featuring Lord David Anderson of Ipswich; Mariana Peters Change Consultant for Bosch, Deutsche Bahn, and Individuals; Rebecca Pasini, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State; and Jane Swift, President, Education at WorkAhmad Ezzeddine, Vice President for Academic Student Affairs and Global Engagement, Wayne State University and Vice President for Scholarship & Institutional Strategy, NAFSA, moderated the panel discussion of the critical role of partnerships in maximizing work-based experiential learning opportunities. The session emphasized the future of work, global talent development, and the necessity of collaborative efforts.

The panel discussed the benefits of global internships in preparing participants for personal and career success. Lord Anderson described how an international internship can expand one's way of thinking. "When you go abroad to see how other people do things, you come back with the ability to do things differently yourself," he said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Pasini talked about how global internships provide the lasting benefit of an expanded network of contacts. "There is power in the alumni networks both culturally and professionally," she said, describing how alumni in Lithuania came together to fund renovation of a warehouse where Ukrainian children could be taught by Ukrainian teachers after fleeing across borders when Russia invaded Ukraine.

The panel also discussed how motivation from interns is crucial if the internship experience is to benefit both the host company and the intern. Mariana Peters spoke about the misalignment between the expectations of employers and the abilities and desires of the interns. "There needs to be a huge change in what companies are willing to offer," she said. "Without a change, they will lose out on a lot of talent."  

2024 Global Internship Conference
L-R: James Pellow, Bryan Alexander, Malaika Serrano, Jack Buckley,  Ben Wildavsky, and Linda Liu

The afternoon continued with GIC Talks, featuring three thought-provoking speakers who discussed key trends shaping the future of work:

  • Bryan Alexander, Futurist, Senior Scholar, Georgetown University, explored climate transition and implications for the role of higher education in developing future talent.
  • Malaika Serrano, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Guild Education, shared her perspective on inclusive leadership and the criticality of inclusive leadership to support the future of global work.
  • Jack Buckley, Vice President, People Science at Roblox, provided insights into the role of technology, especially generative AI for skills assessment, in the education to work transition.

The day concluded with Concurrent Sessions covering various critical topics, including the shift towards skills-based hiring, the importance of intercultural competencies, the implications of emerging trends on the future of work, and the need for talent elasticity.

In a session focused on alternative models for access and inclusion, Kyndall Cox Director, Douglass-O'Connell Global Programs at CIEE spoke about the Frederick Douglass - Daniel O'Connell Global Interns, who this week arrived in Dublin to begin their eight-week program.

The evening wrapped up with the CIEE Opening Reception at the Chop House, offering attendees a chance to relax and network, while enjoying the scenic views of the Thames and Tower Bridge.