Eighty-six representatives from twenty-seven universities and higher education institutions, mainly from Poland, but also from Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Sweden, including nine expert speakers (four from abroad and five from Poland) took part in Hand in Hand into the Future conference on international alumni relations. The event organized as part of a project of the same title under the International Alumni program operated by the NAWA Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange, was held on March 10th, 2021. The conference was carried out online with the use of audiovisual equipment.
The speakers were highly experienced experts on international alumni relations and university internationalization, and active in international organizations, i.e. European Association for International Education (EAIE): Paul Blackmore from the University of Exeter, Marta Foryś from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Jan Geerts from the Hague University of Applied Sciences, Edyta Lachowicz-Santos from the University of Economics in Katowice, Kinga Nemere-Czachowska from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Piotr Rapciak Ph.D. from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Sandra Rincón from the NL Alumni Network, Alexis Roig Ph.D. from the SciTech DiploHub – Barcelona Science and Technology Diplomacy Hub, and Piotr Sedlak Ph.D. from Cracow School of Business, Cracow University of Economics.
In their presentations, and in the following discussion panels, the speakers presented various aspects of establishing and developing international alumni relations, including: organization of that process from concept to implementation; challenges and chances related to alumni relations in the context of university internationalization, recruitment of international students, brand building abroad, mentoring for the current students, involvement of the alumni in the teaching process and research projects at the home university. Also presented were examples of actions, which involve international alumni in activities supporting graduates’ employability, as well as chances and benefits from initiatives based on partnership between the universities, research centres and municipal and regional authorities to increase retention of talents and promote the city and region as a recognizable and attractive education/research/innovation hub on the map globally.
Highly informative, mutually complementary presentations, as well as a very interesting discussion based on the questions from the participants, have become a source of valuable knowledge and inspiration for further successful development of relationships with foreign graduates.
The conference was organized by the team including: Ewa Kiszka, Head of Department of Internationalization of the Medical University of Gdańsk; Edyta Lachowicz-Santos, Director of the Internationalization Strategy Office University of Economics in Katowice; Jacek Kaczmarek Ph.D., International Alumni Relations Officer of the MUG and Adrian Bakun from the Department of Internationalization.