On March 12th, Founder John Magagna and Senior Associate Julie Ryan landed in the stunning city of Dubrovnik for the 25th anniversary celebration and annual Central and Eastern European Schools Association Conference (CEESA). This year's theme was "Transforming Education through Global Citizenship."
CEESA was formed in 1990 so that international schools in Central and Eastern Europe, many of which are geographically isolated, could assemble for professional growth. Each March CEESA holds its Annual Conference, in addition to sponsoring regional workshops and institutes for, as the website says, "a deeper understanding of improvements for leading, teaching and learning" ("About CEESA").
This year, four-hundred attendees met at the Sun Gardens Radisson Blu Resort & Spa near Dubrovnik, with all member schools in CEESA generously sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools. An itinerary packed with workshops, outstanding Keynote Speakers, and a unique nighttime social event contributed to an outstanding experience.
Friday's Keynote Speaker, Michael Furdyk, co-founder of TakingITGlobal (TIG), described how his team, over the past 10 years, has helped to build "a growing community of more than 4,000 schools in 140 different countries taking classrooms global, engaging millions of students in taking action on the world's greatest challenges" ("Friday Keynote").
Saturday's Keynote Speaker Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Executive Director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute as well as President of Curriculum Designers, Inc., addressed ways an entire school community "could employ and model... digital, media, and global [literacies]" thereby creating systems and programs that would prepare students for the future ("Saturday Keynote ").
Senior Associate Julie Ryan, impressed with the CEESA's social events, described Friday night's scavenger hunt:
"We were all taken into Dubrovnik on a lovely tour boat that met us at the hotel dock. Once in the city, we were on our own (with ad hoc teams) to locate about 10 landmarks. A CEESA rep was at each landmark st amping participants' booklets. The evening was punctuated with laughter and conversation as we dashed around the beautiful deserted Old Town."
Search Associates makes it a priority to attend regional conferences such as CEESA. At our table in the Exhibit Hall, former and prospective candidates stopped by to keep Julie apprised of their searches for new overseas positions in the coming year. Julie commented:
"This was a great opportunity for me to connect with teachers and administrators from these schools."