IHWO Directors' event showcases Belfast

12 May, 2015

The annual International House World Organisation (IHWO) Directors’ Conference attracted a record number of attendees for an event that showcased Belfast, UK, as a study destination and saw the launch of a new English and urban sport/culture programme from International House Belfast.

Delegates at the IHWO Directors' Conference in Belfast recently

Hosted by IHWO and IH Belfast, the Directors’ Conference is an annual opportunity for school directors and owners to gather and exchange ideas, and welcomed 140 delegates representing 88 IH schools from over 40 countries.

Feyi Omola, International Marketing and Events Manager at IHWO, said, “We were delighted with all aspects of the conference this year, and have received lots of positive feedback already. As well as a stimulating session programme, the extracurricular activities were unique and really showcased the hospitality of Belfast to our delegates.”

IH Belfast used the conference as a platform to showcase its new urban sport/culture programme, which Paul McMullan, Director of IH Belfast, said was a world first for the language industry.

Established in partnership with T13, a shared cultural space in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, the teenage programme will commence next summer with activities including free-running, urban dance, urban art, skateboarding, surfing, DJing and BMX.  McMullan said, “The programme will be based around regeneration and sustainable tourism with students taking additional activities such as upcycling and environmental projects. International students will be completely integrated with local young people on all activities to maximise their language development.”

The seminar programme at the conference covered topics including risk management, networking, digital communications, marketing language schools, teacher training and post-course student relationships.

Each year a charity auction is a feature of the conference programme, and a total of UK£30,000 (US$46,725) was raised for Belfast Activity Centre, which works to empower young people in Northern Ireland. The auction total of UK£16,000 (US$24,195) was a record for IHWO and was complemented by a UK£14,000 (US$21,802) donation from guard.me international insurance.  

Stephen Dickson, CEO of Belfast Activity Centre, said, “Belfast Activity Centre was privileged to be the IH conference charity partner. The funds raised will to support BAC’s Access – Ability programme. We can never thank Paul McMullan and his team in Belfast enough for supporting us in our work with young people with disabilities.”

BAC was also involved in the activity programme of the conference, which saw 10 directors abseiling down the side of the conference venue, the 12-storey Europe Hotel.

McMullan described the Director’s Conference as a record-breaking event. “Organising the conference has been an amazing experience. We wanted to challenge our delegates at every turn and I think we have done that. A conference is only ever as good as the people who attend, so a big thank you to everyone for embracing Belfast and everything our city has to offer.”

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