Reflections on Our Worldwide Directors Meeting

Authored by:
James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

I am writing after the first day of our annual Worldwide Directors Meeting to share with you the exciting things we will be doing over the next few days to prepare our global teams for your students.

Earlier this week, new CIEE site directors arrived in Portland, Maine, for Health, Safety, and Security training, as well as an overview of our academic policies and quality assurance procedures.

Today all our site directors attended a workshop on diversity and inclusion, and later this week there will be trainings on emotional first-aid, course advising, bystander intervention, and other topics that prepare CIEE staff to fully support students during their study abroad experience.

As always happens when our worldwide team can be together in person, I am once again reminded of the passionate commitment CIEE staff has to our students.

In this morning’s icebreaker exercise, each of our site directors introduced themselves and shared a memory that makes them feel particularly proud of their work at CIEE. A common theme emerged in the proud moments – making meaningful connections with your students.

From an invitation to a wedding in America, to a heartfelt note from a student describing how his homestay family presented him the key to their home as a farewell gift, from helping a student experiencing a family crisis, to hearing students say they are glad to be “home” when they return to a CIEE Global Institute after a few days away, the exercise illuminated that our on-site leaders are honored when they can make an impact on your students’ lives.

A final observation is how proud I am of the global family of CIEE site directors who represent the face of CIEE as we serve your students.

As they gathered together around tables in our headquarters, the symbolism of their physical presence was striking. One table represented  four continents, with directors from Australia, China, Denmark, Ghana, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand. At another table, our Palestinian director serving in Sharjah sat next to our Israeli director who serves in Haifa. At another, a pioneering female scientist who is our director in Monteverde and an inspiration for female students in STEM, sat next to a proud gay man who serves as our director in Amsterdam and leads traditional and custom programs on LGBTQ topics for college and high school students.  

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