How to Navigate the World of International Education Organizations Like a Pro


AIEA, IIE, CIEE, FORUM, NAFSA and more! The professional organization realm can be difficult to navigate even for the most experienced international educator. But don’t get concerned, we will be breaking down the top orgs and what they offer to professionals in the field.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

One of the big kahunas of organizations, NAFSA offers services for international student scholar advisors, admissions personnel, English-language specialists, study abroad advisors, and community volunteers interested in international education.

With over 10,000 members, it is by far the largest international education community and is great for networking as an aspiring, new, or experienced professional. Being a member opens up access to research, best-practices, professional development, and leadership opportunities at both the national and regional level.

There are a multitude of other resources available to members including expos, workshops, conferences, webinars, communities, colloquials, career centers, and online classes. These cater to both aspiring professionals and educators looking to advance their career within international education. With all these options the website can be a little overwhelming the first few times you go to it, but it is worth the goodies you will find.

You can find information on their annual conference here, which  took place in Boston this year. But it's not too early to start planning for 2016! Next year's conference will take place from May 29 - June 3rd. Also, for the super-planner, you can find a list of the next 4 years dates and locations here.

The national conference may be a bit overwhelming for the first timer, so to get comfortable in the arena, I would recommend getting involved at the regional level. NAFSA is organized into 11 different regions, each hosting its own annual conference in the fall. Find out the region closest to you here and then learn more about their regional conference on their individual  websites.


FORUM on Education Abroad

While FORUM has individual memberships, it is typically joined by institutions with over 200 organizations nationally. If you join as an individual you must be a full-time graduate student, retired, or in-between jobs. Their focus is on education abroad more than the international student scholar area of international education. FORUM is best known for disseminating standards of best practices for education abroad as well as a forum to discuss assessment, quality, and research in education abroad.

They offer professional development and research to those within their institutional memberships including: their annual conference, regional workshops (both nationally and internationally!), a professional certificate in education abroad, fireside dialogues, webinars, and standard of good practice institutes.

They host a national conference for the institution members, which will be in Atlanta, GA April 6-8, 2016. You can learn about their future conferences here. For those overseas, they also host a European Conference, which discusses issues dedicated to education abroad for European institutions.

You can learn more about the events and opportunities offered through FORUM here.



The Council on International Education Exchange has a focus on the education of the student, working to maintain excellence in study abroad, teaching abroad, and TEFL. As an institutional member, you will join an education consortium that focuses on maintaining quality programs for both U.S. and international students looking for opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad.

With a membership of over 300 academic institutions nationally, their focus is to develop innovative study abroad experiences, and offer a variety of member only benefits such as financial aid opportunities and professional development.

Their annual conference takes place in a new location each year, with 2015’s occurring in Berlin in November.

In addition to their annual conference, they also host an array of events for advisors and faculty within international education including workshops, site visits, and faculty summits to maintain high quality international education opportunities.


Melibee Global

Melibee Global (MG) focuses on the professional development of educators looking to be involved in international education and youth travel. With no membership fees, MG uses on an ‘on-demand’ style with webinars, interviews, career advice and training for an aspiring international educator.

From re-entry and career advice to funding and info for student advising, there are over 25 webinars in the ‘tools’ section available for you to become an international rockstar. With a robust database, you could also use MG to find a speaker for your next event on almost any topic! With MelibeeU, there are professional development opportunities for both aspiring and new professionals alike.

In fall 2014, MG offered their first Melibee Swarm. This is basically an ‘un-conference’ conference that is based on experiential learning with a group of like-minded professionals. No news has been posted yet on a 2015 Swarm, but we hope they continue!

(UPDATE:  MG has announced their 2015 conference information! This year the conference will be held November 12th and 13th in Asheville, N. Carolina. For more information on speakers, schedules, and registration please visit:


Another organization that has membership at the institutional level is IIE, Institute of International Educators. The IIENetwork, with over 1,300 member institutions around the world, offers over 7,000 professionals opportunities for networking, professional development and cutting-edge research in the field.

As a member, IIENetwork institutions have access to research on best practices, their annual Open Doors report, and other important research within international education.  IIE is also responsible for managing the Generation Study Abroad effort. which aims to increase the number of students studying abroad throughout the United States.

They offer a Conference on Best Practices every year for their member institutions, with 2015’s conference held in New York City in March. Information on the 2016 conference has not yet been made available, but can be found here when it is announced.  In October 2015, IIE will be sponsoring the first annual Summit on Generation Study Abroad in Washington, D.C. to discuss ideas and programs that benefit their goals of doubling the number of students participating in study abroad programs by the 2020.



The Association of International Education Administrators is an organization dedicated to the senior leaders in international education. Their main goal is to bring the Senior International Officers (SIO) together to discuss the organization and management of international higher education.

For the SIO members, they offer surveys, articles, as well as perspectives of prolific SIOs from around the globe. Additionally, they have an annual conference, which will be held in February 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

For new SIO professionals, they offer SIO Academy, which offers training for SIO professionals that are within their first five years of their current appointment as an SIO.

Don’t have the money/professional development funds to travel? During international education week in November, the Global Education conference online conference happens. Link in  and join international educators from around the world as they learn and celebrate international education. With sessions that happen around the clock, you can join no matter what your timezone. The conference sessions are also recorded, so you can watch them at your leisure on their youtube channel.

There are also international education organizations found abroad for those educators who may not be in the U.S.

List of Conferences for 2015-2016 Academic year

Looking for ways to spend your professional development funds? Here you will find a list of conferences & events offered for 2015-2016 academic year.

Date Name Location
July 2015
July 1 BUTEX Symposium Keele, England, United Kingdom
August 2015
Aug. 2-6 The Clute Institute’s International Education Conference New York City, New York, USA
Aug. 30-Sept. 2 European Higher Education Society Forum  Krems, Austria
September 2015
Sept. 15-18 EAIE Annual Conference Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sept. 22-25 World Youth and Student Travel Conference  Cape Town, South Africa
October 2015
Oct. 1-2 IIE: Summit on Generation Study Abroad  Washington, D.C., USA
Oct. 4-6 NAFSA Region V Conference Rosemont, Illinois, USA
Oct. 5-7 National Society for Experiential Education Annual Conference St. Pete Beach, Florida, USA
Oct. 6-9 Australia International Education Conference  Adelaide, Australia
Oct. 11-15 The Clute Institute’s International Education Conference  Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Oct. 14-17 Society for International Education and Research Annual Conference Orlando, Florida, USA
Oct. 17-22 NAFSA Region III Conference Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Oct. 17-23 NAFSA Region II Conference St. George, Utah, USA
Oct. 19-23 NAFSA Region I Conference Boise, Idaho, USA
Oct. 20-22 NAFSA Region XI Conference Farmington, Connecticut, USA
Oct. 24-28 NAFSA Region VII Conference Savannah, Georgia, USA
Oct. 25-28 NAFSA Region X Conference Long Island, New York, USA
Oct. 26-30 NAFSA Region XII Conference Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Oct. 27-31 NAFSA Region IV Conference Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Oct. 31-Nov. 3 NAFSA Region VI Conference Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
November 2015
Nov. 4-7 CIEE Annual Conference Berlin, Germany
Nov. 10-11 MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum  Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Nov. 10-14 NAFSA Region VIII Conference Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Nov. 12-13 Melibee Global Swarm on Culture, ID and Perspective Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Nov. 16-20 Global Education Conference online
December 2015
Dec. 4-5 International Academic Conference - De Re Mediterranea Florence, Italy
January 2016
Jan. 3-7 The Clute Institute’s International Education Conference  Orlando, Florida, USA
February 2016
Feb. 19-22 Community Colleges for International Development, Inc Annual Conference Orlando, Florida, USA
Feb. 20-24 AEIA Annual Conference Montreal, Quebec, Canada
March 2016
anticipated in March IIE Conference on Best Practices
March 6-9 CIES Annual Conference  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
March 12-16 NASPA Annual Conference  Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
April 2016
Apr 3-5 Diversity Abroad Conference Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Apr 6-8 FORUM Annual Conference  Atlanta, Georgia, USA
May 2016
May 29-June 3 NAFSA Annual Conference  Denver, Colorado, USA
June 2016
anticipated in June Global Internship Conference  Boston, Massachusetts, USA