Past conferences

Each year the conference takes place in a different city, and you can find details about all of the past EAIE conferences here.

33rd Annual Conference, Rotterdam

Time: 26–29 September 2023
Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Theme: 'Connecting currents'

Following a record-breaking conference in Barcelona, the Conference and Exhibition in Rotterdam surpassed those records with over 6700 participants from more than 100 countries. The 2023 programme themed 'Connecting currents', brought the international education community together to connect on a variety of key topics and featured inspirational keynote speeches from Jahkini Bisselink and Hajar Yagkoubi and Typhoon.

32nd Annual Conference, Barcelona

Time: 13–16 September 2022
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Theme: 'The future in full colour'

After two years of virtual collaboration, more than 6400 participants from 90+ countries reunited in person for our largest conference to date. The 2022 programme themed 'The future in full colour', touched on current topics in international higher education such as virtual exchange, the European Universities Initiative, and the repercussions of the war in Ukraine. Keynote speakers Yalda Hakim and Jimmy Nelson gave powerful speeches to inspire and motivate participants.

2021 EAIE Community Exchange

Time: 28 September–01 October 2021
Location: Online
Theme: ’Bolder. Braver. Go.’

The global higher education community came together again under one virtual roof for the 2021 Community Exchange. More than 2000 participants from 70 countries gathered to learn, share, network and be inspired. Over the course of four days, the online programme embraced the theme of ’Bolder. Braver. Go.’ and participants had plenty of opportunities to connect with others in enriching and dynamic ways. Keynote speeches from Mary Robinson, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Jordan Nguyen gave everyone an energy boost and the motivation to make a difference in the world.

2020 EAIE Community Exchange

Time: 14–16 October 2020
Location: Online
Theme: 'Forging creative pathways'

Due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, the EAIE hosted its first-ever virtual Community Exchange in 2020. More than 1600 participants from 57 countries came together from homes and offices from around the globe to explore the theme 'Forging creative pathways'. The extensive virtual programme offered participants an opportunity to re-connect with old conference friends, meet new colleagues and dive into timely discussions about the most pressing issues in international education from a European perspective.

31st Annual Conference, Helsinki

Time: 24–27 September 2019
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Theme: ‘Encompassing all voices’

With 6200 participants from 95 countries, the 31st Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition was our largest event to date. The theme of the conference ‘Encompassing all voices’, inspired by Finland’s inclusive and fair education system, resonated throughout the conference programme through the many sessions, campfires and poster presentations. Keynote speeches from Simon Anholt and Aminata Cairo inspired participants to work towards a more inclusive and caring world.

30th Annual Conference, Geneva

Time: 11–14 September 2018
Location: Geneva, Switzerland 
Theme: ‘Facing outward’

‘Facing outward’ was the theme of the 30th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Geneva. Internationalisation professionals from across Europe gathered in this outward-facing city of peace and diplomacy and challenged one another to continue to engage with the world outside our national borders in this political moment of rising insular sentiments. Keynote speeches by Sally Kohn and Leo Johnson bookended a week of inspiring sessions and invigorating workshops.

29th Annual Conference, Seville

Time: 12–15 September 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Theme: ‘A mosaic of cultures’

More than 6000 participants gathered in Seville to network, share ideas and collaborate during the 29th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition. The theme of the conference, ‘A mosaic of cultures’ was influenced not only by the tiles that cover the beautiful city but also by the vast array of backgrounds found in our very own international higher education community. Academic and humanitarian Alexander Betts, business communication coach Adam Field and impassioned writer Taiye Selasi, took centre stage as the 2017 keynote speakers.

28th Annual Conference, Liverpool

Time: 13–16 September 2016
Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Theme: ‘Imagine...’

5200 participants made their way to Liverpool from all over the world to experience the EAIE conference first-hand. Richard Gerver, Heather White, Kilian Kleinschmidt, and Melissa Fleming took the stage and delivered incredibly motivational keynote speeches. During the event, participants discussed best practices and explored how current events, such as Brexit and the refugee crisis, are affecting international higher education.

27th Annual Conference, Glasgow

Time: 15–18 September 2015
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Theme: ‘A wealth of nations’

Referencing both economic philosopher Adam Smith and the professionals from such a great number of countries that participate in our conference, ‘A wealth of nations’ was the theme of EAIE Glasgow 2015. The field’s most important and contentious economic, social and cultural issues were addressed. Human rights champion Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, e-learning entrepreneur Donald Clark and humanitarian Terry Waite took centre-stage as keynote speakers.

26th Annual Conference, Prague

Time: 16–19 September 2014
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Theme: 'Stepping into a new era'

'Stepping into a new era' was the theme of the EAIE Conference in Prague, Czech Republic and the conference marked a new phase in internationalisation. A key question addressed was: How will the recent transformations in teaching, learning and administration change the mould of the traditional higher education institution? Keynote speakers included Chairman of Microsoft Europe, Jan Muehlfeit, and adventurist, Sebastian Terry.

25th Annual Conference, Istanbul

Time: 10–13 September 2013
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Theme: ‘Weaving the future of global partnerships’

Celebrating a quarter of a century of EAIE Conferences, the EAIE decided to push the boundaries and head to the edge of Europe for this milestone event. The theme was ‘Weaving the future of global partnerships’ and Istanbul provided the much-anticipated fusion of Western and Eastern cultures to inspire participants to new ways of thinking and working. Global futurist Jack Uldrich took to the stage as one of our enlightening keynotes.

24th Annual Conference, Dublin

Time: 11–14 September 2012
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Theme: ‘Rethinking education, reshaping economies’

Dublin lived up to its expectations as one of the most welcoming cities to host the 24th Annual EAIE Conference. Keynote speakers Sugata Mitra and Caroline Casey added to the inspirational atmosphere with their incredibly motivating speeches. The theme was ‘Rethinking education, reshaping economies’ and the conference provided the ideal forum for sparking new ideas and partnerships.

23rd Annual Conference, Copenhagen

Time: 13–16 September 2011
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Theme: Corporate, innovate, participate

Breaking all previous EAIE records, the 2011 conference in Copenhagen was the largest to date, attracting more than 4000 participants. Keynote and guest speakers such as HRH Princess Marie of Denmark, Christian Stadil and Stine Bosse perfectly reflected the conference theme, 'Cooperate - Innovate - Participate' in their engaging speeches.

22nd Annual Conference, Nantes

Time: 15–18 September 2010
Location: Nantes, France
Theme: Making knowledge work

'Making knowledge work' was the theme and more than 3600 people gathered in Nantes to do just that. Among the highlights was Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee's moving speech compelling us to do more for African higher education.

21st Annual Conference, Madrid

Time: 16–19 September 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Theme: Connecting continents

The 21st Annual EAIE Conference certainly lived up to it’s chosen theme, ‘Connecting continents’ – more than 80 countries from around the world were represented at this memorable conference which featured an inspirational speech by polar explorer and environmental leader, Robert Swan.

20th Annual Conference, Antwerp

Time: 10–13 September 2008
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Theme: Re-designing the map of European higher education

Celebrating 20 years of the EAIE, the 20th EAIE Annual Conference in historic Antwerp focused on the past, present and future of internationalisation. The conference was hosted by the University of Antwerp, and keynote speakers included Bart Weetjens, Director of the Belgian social enterprise APOPO and Christine Van den Wyngaert, a criminal law expert and judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The EAIE anniversary was celebrated in style with fireworks.

19th Annual Conference, Trondheim

Time: 12–15 September 2007
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Theme: Reaching for new shores

Linking with Norway’s strong maritime tradition, the conference theme ‘Reaching new shores – opportunities and trends in the internationalisation of European higher education’ was also most fitting for the tides of change in the world of higher education occurring at the time. The keynote speakers included Professor Geert Hofstede, one of the most influential experts in the field of comparative intercultural research and Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health who co-founded Médicins Sans Frontières in Sweden.

18th Annual Conference, Basel

Time: 13–16 September 2006
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Theme: Quality in internationalisation, from theory to practice

The University of Basel hosted the 18th Annual EAIE Conference and the main conference venue was the Congress Center Basel. The keynote speaker at the Opening Plenary, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé S.A, spoke about ‘Quality beyond operational excellence’. Stating that, "the globalisation of markets is not only touching companies, but also increasingly educational institutions and personnel recruitment," he proposed the first requirement in a globalised world is the need for qualification levels "to be transparent from the outside and comparable across the world".

17th Annual Conference, Krakow

Time: 14–17 September 2005
Location: Krakow, Poland
Theme: Internationalising higher education: a priority for the enlarged Europe

The 17th Annual EAIE Conference attracted 2032 participants from all over the world to the charming Polish city of Krakow. The conference was hosted by Jagiellonian University and the main conference venue was the newly opened Auditorium Maximum. The keynote speaker was Professor Bronislaw Geremek. A former foreign minister of Poland and key intellectual adviser to the Solidarity trade union, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, and one of the world’s most eminent scholars of medieval European history, Prof Geremek stressed the importance of education for the integration of Europe in his keynote speach.

16th Annual Conference, Turin

Time: 16–18 September 2004
Location: Turin, Italy

The beautiful baroque city of Turin, Italy, hosted the EAIE’s 16th Annual Conference, which attracted more than 1900 higher education professionals from all over the world. The conference featured addresses from the following distinguished speakers:

  • Andrea Pininfarina, Vice-President of Confindustria
  • Professor Rinaldo Bertolino, Rector of the Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Professor Carlo Ugo Alberto Naldi, Vice-Rector for International Relations at the Politecnico di Torino
  • Jeroen Torenbeek, EAIE President 2003–2004

Sunny Italy made participants feel very welcome and they praised the conference for the diversity and quality of the information, the many networking opportunities and the beautiful venue.

15th Annual Conference, Vienna

Time: 11–14 September 2003
Location: Vienna, Austria

Austria's lively capital, Vienna, the convenient midpoint of western and eastern Europe, was a perfect location to hold the EAIE's 15th Annual Conference. The host of the conference, the University of Vienna, is one of the oldest universities in the world and is an institution which several Nobel Prize Laureates attended. The keynote speaker, actor, director, producer and scriptwriter, Sir Peter Ustinov, engagingly expressed his support for life-long learning during the Opening Plenary and praised the benefits of multiculturalism. Other speakers at the ceremony included Georg Winckler (the Rector of the University of Vienna), Jeroen Torenbeek (former EAIE president), Paul Andreas Mailath-Pokorny (Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs, representing the Mayor of Vienna) and Barbara Weitgruber, representing the Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Culture.

14th Annual Conference, Porto

Time: 11–14 September 2002
Location: Porto, Portugal

The historic and culturally significant city of Porto was the perfect location to hold the 14th Annual EAIE Conference 2002. The Keynote Plenary was held in a beautiful old marketplace named Mercado Ferreira Borges and included speeches by:

  • His Royal Highness Carlos-Hugo de Borbón Parma
  • Professor Doutor Veiga Simão (Minister of Education 1970-1974, Minister of Industry and Energy 1983-1985 and Minister of National Defence 1997-1999) 
  • Belmiro de Azevedo, President of SONAE SGPS, SA. 

13th Annual Conference, Tampere

Time: 05–08 December 2001
Location: Tampere, Finland
Theme: International education - realising the human potential

The 13th Annual EAIE Conference took place in the southern Finnish city of Tampere. Tapio Varis, professor and chair of media culture and communication education at the University of Tampere, discussed the following trends with the Keynote Plenary: transnationalisation of education, public-private partnerships, technology-enabled learning and what will happen to traditional universities. He also talked about the effects of the 11 September attacks on the free exchange of students in the upcoming years and the risks that are present in higher education.

12th Annual Conference, Leipzig

Time: 30 November–02 December 2000
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Theme: Re-forming higher education: the international way

‘Re-forming higher education: the international way' was an fitting motto for the 12th Annual EAIE Conference in Leipzig. The Mayor of Leipzig, Wolfgang Tiefensee, warmly welcomed participants to the beautiful city and the Rector of Leipzig University, Dr Volker Bigl, officially opened the conference. There was also a keynote speech by Prof Dr Hans Joachim Meyer. Discussions surrounding the Bologna declaration formed a large part of the conference sessions. 

11th Annual Conference, Maastricht

Time: 02–04 December 1999
Location: Maastricht, the Netherlands
Theme: Good neighbours and faraway friends: Regional dimensions of international education

The city of Maastricht is located right at the heart of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine and extends over three countries (Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands) presenting an excellent example of cross-border cooperation. Maastricht is also the city where the summit conference of the European Council was held in December 1991, which resulted in 'Treaty of Maastricht' and the Euro. Guy Haug, Delegate-at-large of the Association of European Universities (CRE), gave the keynote speech at the conference.

10th Annual Conference, Stockholm

Time: 22–24 November 1998
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Theme: International education: Interactions with the wilder community

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the EAIE held its Annual Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. Co Berggren, chairman of the Federation of Swedish Industries, gave the keynote speech at the Opening Plenary. He talked about the challenge of available knowledge saying, "the most important factor for competition will be efficiently making use of available knowledge and that learning should be looked upon as an ever-ongoing part of working life". Willebrord Sluyters, European Commission DG XXII, gave a keynote speech about the future of European education programmes. He talked about opening up, continuity, and transparency for higher education institutions. 

9th Annual Conference, Barcelona

Time: 20–22 November 1997
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Theme: Boundaries and bridges in international education

The 9th Annual EAIE Conference was organised back-to-back with the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The two conferences chose a single theme: 'Boundaries and bridges in international education' and even held joint sessions and dinners. Prof Josep Bricall, president of CRE, gave the first keynote address. Prof Nabeel Haidar, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the Lebanese American University, gave the second keynote address.

8th Annual Conference, Budapest

Time: 05–07 December 1996
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Theme: On equal terms: New partners in international education

Budapest, the romantic Hungarian capital situated on the banks of the Danube, was an elegant host for the 8th Annual EAIE Conference. The Opening Plenary was held in the Budapest Convention Centre. The rector of the Budapest University of Economic Sciences, Prof Rudolf Andorka, formally opened the conference, and the Hungarian Minister of Culture and Education, Balint Magyar, gave an interesting account of current developments in Hungarian higher education. Lesley Wilson, director of UNESCO's European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES) in Bucharest, Romania, gave the keynote speech at the Opening Plenary. She examined the theme 'On equal terms: new partners in international education', carefully outlining her vision of cooperation on equal terms and the pre-conditions for successful partnerships. 

7th Annual Conference, Milan

Time: 29–31 October 1995
Location: Milan, Italy
Theme: The cultures of education

The Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore provided a wonderful venue for the 7th Annual EAIE conference, in the prosperous and bustling city of Milano. The conference began spectacularly with a concert in La Scala on Saturday evening. Prof Adriano Bausola's speech at the Opening Plenary warned that "universities must not give in to the temptation to prudently withdraw, waiting for others to produce new ideas and restore clarity and certainty. What is required of them is to educate, that is to reconstitute society; this is why society's first problem is to educate young people and adults". 

6th Annual Conference, London

Time: 24–26 November 1994
Location: London, United Kingdom 
Theme: Quality in International Education

The 6th Annual EAIE Conference was located in beautiful London and it was fantastic to see countries who have never been represented at past conferences such as Mozambique, Brazil, and South Korea. The Opening Plenary was opened by the Rt Hon Tim Boswell MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further and Higher Education. Sir Kenneth Berill introduced the conference's quality debate with a keynote address on 'The threat to quality' and outlined the pressures bearing down on higher education. The Churchill Auditorium in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre was the venue for the Closing Plenary, which was addressed by Giancarlo Spinelli, Pro-rector for International Relations of the Politecnico di Milano.

5th Annual Conference, The Hague

Time: 2–4 December 1993
Location: The Hague, the Netherlands
Theme: Europe and beyond... 

The theme of 'Europe and Beyond' was spoken of in various depths by many of the speakers at the 5th Annual Conference. Willem Deetman, Chairman of the Dutch Parliament and of Nuffic, spoke during the Opening Plenary of the need to guard against a 'Fortress Europe' mentality and instead to build up cooperation with developing countries. Ismail Serageldin, Vice President for Environmentally Sustainable Development at the World Bank, talked a lot about the European Idea and the need for European universities to help fight against the increasing gaps that are occurring in terms of technology and knowledge. Colin Power, Assistant Director for Education at UNESCO, also spoke of this. This conference provided a significant step forward in focusing on what are commonly referred to as North-South issues - issues dealing with the discrepancies between the developing world and the developed world. During this conference, a meeting was organised to establish a provisional Special Interest Group on North-South cooperation within the EAIE.

4th Annual Conference, Berlin

Time: 05–07 November 1992
Location: Berlin, Germany
Theme: The Atlantic link

‘The Atlantic Link’ was the special theme of this conference, which concentrated on cooperation and exchange in higher education across the Atlantic. This theme was given particular focus by holding the 4th Annual EAIE Conference back-to-back with the Annual Conference of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Manfredt Erhardt, Senator für Wissenschaft und Forschung gave a welcoming speech at the Opening Plenary, where he spoke of Berlin as a model for the process of growing together throughout Germany. All speakers addressing the plenary session stressed the role of education in overcoming divisive attitudes.

3rd Annual Conference, Montpellier

Time: 05–07 December 1991
Location: Montpellier (La Grande Motte), France
Theme: International education in Europe

International Education in Europe was the theme for the 3rd Annual EAIE Conference, and in his keynote speech Peter Scott of the Times Higher Education Supplement noticed the following trends which could affect international education: expansion, efficiency, diversity, Europe and the enlightenment. He pleaded for Europe not to look inwards at this time of both promise and problems, but to involve countries outside Europe. He asserted that the massification of higher education should be seen and implemented in global terms and student mobility should be at the core of higher education systems. 

2nd Annual Conference, Amsterdam

Time: 06–08 December 1990
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands 
Theme: The new Europe

"Almost everybody around seems to be quite excited about what is going on in Eastern and Central Europe." When Janusz Grzelak, deputy minister of Education in Poland, proclaimed this in his keynote speech, he not only gave a good description of the mood prevailing in Europe in 1990 but also that at the second EAIE Conference which took place again in Amsterdam. The theme of this conference, The New Europe, referred to the educational cooperation between East and West which was becoming more and interlinked, especially during that transition period for Eastern and Central Europe from central planning to a free market economy. The 1990 Conference also saw the founding of the Professional Sections, emphasising the professional character of the EAIE.

1st Annual Conference, Amsterdam

Time: 07–09 December 1989
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Theme: International relations of European higher education

"It was the right imitative at the right time and in the right way – an association of colleagues and friends, non-profit, democratic, open, something to which everybody could contribute." This is the way one of the founding members explained the successful launch of the European Association for International Education in 1989. Besides the formal founding of the EAIE during the Business Meeting, an extensive conference programme addressing the theme 'International Relations of European Higher Education' was attended with great enthusiasm by close to 600 people from all over Europe and the world in Amsterdam.


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