The second conference of 2020 for the International Business Studies Exchange Network (IBSEN) was held on November 19 through the 20th. The event was hosted by one of the IBSEN Network’s newest members, Indian River State College (IRSC) in the United States. Though the restrictions of the Coronavirus Pandemic caused the international conference to once again be hosted entirely on the virtual platform, ZOOM, it did not however impede the goal of the IBSEN conference. Which has long been to increase intercultural competence and support professional growth on a multicultural level. Furthermore, the virtual conference enabled even more staff engagement and innovation of over 40 participants in 10 countries worldwide.
On day one of the conference attendees were welcomed by our IBSEN President Alessandro Spano of the University of Cagliari in Italy, and Vice-president Armand van Oostrom of The Hague University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. Greetings were also received from the Dean of the IRSC Business Division Dr. Prashanth Pilly; and IRSC’s Vice President of Applied Science & Technology Dr. Pamela Welmon.
Each participant gave a brief introduction about their respective colleges and universities, their various business programs, clubs, internships, and professional development opportunities. This segment of the conference provided a platform for the dissemination of information on the recent developments in the business community and any innovative approaches that have been made to combat the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. As its impact on higher education and the economic climate has been felt worldwide.
During the next segment, a series of workshops launched to explore the following conference topics: Internationalization at Home, Planning for the Future, International Travel during a Pandemic, International Internship Opportunities, and Increasing Staff and Student Exchanges. The workshop sessions allowed for a guided two-day conversation and collaboration dedicated to the pursuit of tangible solutions that were both actionable and also sustainable as a joint venture by all IBSEN partners. At the close of day one of the IBSEN conference, the President of Indian River State College Dr. Timothy Moore, gave the final address for the day.
Day two of the IBSEN conference began with a series of special presentations. The first presenter was Tom Kindred, the director of the Small Business Development Center, and the Corporate and Community Training Institute at IRSC. He shared about his partnership with the local community and the college and how it has generated economic mobility for entrepreneurial development. The second speaker was Pete Tesch, the president of the Economic Development Council (EDC) of St. Lucie County, Florida of the United States. The EDC partners with local governments and the private sector to create a high skilled high-quality workforce and enrich the economic vitality of the community. The last presentation was made by Wach Bernhard of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Germany. He spoke on the exciting developments of their Center for Entrepreneurship and the upcoming courses it will offer for new students.
After the presentations, the second portion of the previous day’s workshops began. Day two of the breakout sessions focused on generating and consolidating solutions to the obstacles faced in each topic of discussion. Upon reconvening, each workshop speaker gave a brief synopsis of their proposal to the group, intending to actualize the proposals agreed upon in the foreseeable future.
Lastly, an award was given to Dr. Carol Steinhaus of Northern Michigan University, in the United States. She was awarded the title of “Honorary President of IBSEN”.
The IBSEN president Alessandro Spano then concluded the conference with closing remarks and propositions for moving forward. Major topics of consensus were that of proposals on virtual internships that would be hosted by participating IBSEN members. They would serve as a means to circumvent some of the restrictions placed on students finding professional internship opportunities during the pandemic. Another major proposal, to be decided in the near future, was that of the building of Joint-Venture Internships that would partner with large-scale international companies and the cooperation of its local college or university. The IBSEN conference closed, in agreement, that further and more frequent collaboration in the form of “micro-meetings” would be fruitful leading up to the next scheduled conference. This event is set to take place in The Hague, Netherlands on May 20th and 21st of 2021.