Wednesday, 24 February 2021 11:19

Globetrottin’ ADs Student Athlete Leadership Conference

Topnotch and easily accessible professional development is one main highlight to come out of the pandemic.

People from all walks of life and all professions are finding ways to get better online with webinars, courses, podcasts and chats. International teachers are one of the groups at the top of that list as we are finding ways to connect with colleagues around the world like never before.

Even before the pandemic Matt Fleming (AIS Budapest) and Nick DeForest (AIS Vienna) realized that Athletic Directors and Coaches from International Schools needed some sort of way to connect regardless of country, conference or continent and the Globetrottin’ ADs were born. When the world were all sent home to their computers last year their podcast and online resource library evolved into online conferences which had over one thousand participants.

As we moved into the 2020/21 school year they wanted to do more but realized that the focal point of all of the development, the student athletes they serve, were not included in anything they were doing. The idea of the Student Athlete Leadership Conference was born.

Fast forward to February 12th, 2021 and almost 500 high school students were online live and engaged in presentations given by other high school students from around the world. All in all over 100 international schools registered for the conference to either watch it live or the recordings. 15 of those schools had students lead sessions about topics such as competition anxiety, promoting equality, motivation, and the importance of sports.

Bookending the student sessions were two amazing keynote speakers. Sebastien Bellin who was a professional athlete, terrorist attack survivor and international school student kicked off the conference talking about his four pillars. The world-renowned sports phycologist from Duke University, Greg Dale finished the day talking about how to be a leader that others want to follow. 

The students involved in the conference either as participants or presenters came together as a global community of international school students. They conquered fears, they asked questions, they learned new things, they became content creators. However, most importantly the voices of the students were strong and should be heard by their peers, their parents, their teachers, and their coaches.

AAS Moscow, AIS Budapest and AIS Vienna all had students lead sessions and join as attendees. While IS Belgrade, AIS Bucharest, AS Warsaw and AAS Sofia were the only other CEESA schools that participated as attendees for this free online event.

Now that this conference is known by students, teachers and schools the hope is that in 2021 more schools will embrace it, promote it and learn from it.