The East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) hosted its 46th annual Leadership Conference in Bangkok October 29-31. By international school conference standards, this one is large, with 1,200 participants. Search Consultant, Georgeann Taylor, attended as a board member for the Jakarta Intercultural School. And a team of six Senior Associates—Dr. David Cramer, Dr. Barry Drake, Gez Hayden, Nick Kendell, Ray Sparks, and John Ritter—arrived ready for jam-packed days of networking and supporting attendees. As one of the Search Associates team remarked,
"Six of us to see 1,200 participants—that's 200 each!"
Each Associate had specific tasks at hand at the conference. For example, John attended several sessions on child protection for updated information about the latest activities in this field; John is presenting on "Child Protective Recruitment" at the Leadership Job Fair in Bangkok mid-November. John also met with representatives from schools in Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, and Japan to organize the governance and strategic planning sessions that Search Associates will facilitate at those schools later this school year.
Most of the Senior Associates also met informally over lunch with several heads of schools to discuss "Cross-Cultural Governance." This conversation has become increasingly vital because school owners/board members at some recently-founded international schools in the EARCOS region tend to operate from an Asian business and cultural perspective, while their heads of school, who tend to be Anglo-American, operate from an Anglo-American educational and cultural perspective. It appears likely that in coming years, many more new international schools will have this "cross-cultural" challenge and opportunity.
EARCOS is an organization comprised of 149 elementary and secondary schools in East Asia, offering educational programs in English as the primary language of instruction. The organization supports 14,000 teachers and administrators and over 115,000 students. The EARCOS.org website describes the organization's beginnings:
"EARCOS… was founded in 1968 as a result of growth in the 1960s of U.S. schools in East Asia and the needs of these schools to develop supportive, collaborative relationships coupled with the deliverance of professional development activities to member schools. In many cases, the schools were geographically isolated, both from one another and from mainstream U.S. education" ("EARCOS History").
The 46th annual Leadership Conference, whose theme was Think Globally, Learn Locally, offered participants a variety of workshops on subjects , such as Leadership, Digital Learning, Crisis Communications, Intercultural Mindedness, Assessment and Use of Data, Safeguarding & Child Protection, and Technology/Student Safety. Keynote Speaker Luong Ung, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide, spoke on the subject of "Upstanding Citizens: changing the world through activism, volunteerism, and travels." Keynote Speaker Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adar, internationally recognized clinical psychologist and school consultant, talked about "…How the Tech Effect Puts Children's Development at Risk."
Attending international events such as the EARCOS Leadership Conference has always been a Search Associates priority. Conferences allow us ample opportunities for networking, advising, teaching, and learning.
"EARCOS History." EARCOS East Asia Regional Council of Schools. 2010. Web. 06 November 2015. http://www.earcos.org/.