2021 IFSA Conference

IFSA Conference 2021

Watch our video to learn more about the academic nature of the IFSA Conference

Imagining Our Reach:

Elevating the Enduring Impact of Education Abroad

The 2021 IFSA Conference will explore the enduring and multifaceted impact(s) of education abroad on the students, institutions, and communities we serve. As a high-impact educational practice, our field often cites the research connecting global learning with student success, but are we imagining together just how impactful education abroad could be for our students if we structured opportunities with greater intent? What benefits could materialize if we approach our work with deliberate focus on students’ futures, and what could that mean for the communities, partnerships, and collaborators we can involve in our work?

Come prepared to engage in a wide range of topics exploring the long-term effects of education abroad. Examine how study abroad professionals can influence future student outcomes through programming, structures, and support and leave considering new challenges and concrete ideas to pilot.

Conference Approach
The IFSA Conference challenges you to explore one theme in depth, using an interactive workshop style to engage around the primary aspects of the topic. Conference days are varied, with short Ed Talks highlighting one perspective, and Lightning Rounds offering you the opportunity to choose between several sessions. Through it all, we connect, collaborate, and contribute to learn with and from you.

Special Offer

Register to attend the 2021 IFSA Conference staring Feb. 1, 2021, and you will immediately receive exclusive access to the 2017, 2018, and 2019 IFSA Conference resources. These resources include:

  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Handouts
  • And, 17 newly produced Ed Talk videos

Plenary Speaker

Debra Humphreys, Ph.D.
Vice President of Strategic Engagement
Lumina Foundation


Effective Global Learning to Meet Today’s
Democratic and Economic Challenges

Dr. Debra Humphreys will explore the potential of study abroad programming in light of two significant movements: the rapidly changing nature of today’s economy, and higher education’s most promising trends in teaching and learning in response to this new reality.  With this landscape analysis as backdrop, Dr. Humphreys will examine the role of next-generation global education to serve today’s student, preparing them to meet the challenges of a global economy and to help strengthen commitments to democratic engagement at home and abroad.

Dr. Debra Humphreys is a national leader in higher education and philanthropy with 30 plus years of experience working on policy, advocacy, curriculum and faculty development, liberal arts education, diversity, inclusion, and student success.As Vice President of Strategic Engagement at Lumina Foundation, she leads the foundation’s strategic communications and stakeholder engagement efforts, deploying a wide array of research-based approaches to influence the national dialogue about higher education. Dr. Humphreys also has developed a body of work focused on linking reform efforts related to quality education and reforms that advance equity in student success. Prior to her work at Lumina, she served more than 20 years in a variety of leadership positions at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).For her entire career, Dr. Humphreys has led efforts to redefine quality in higher education to ensure continued support for the sector and its capacity to serve as both a public and private good and as a catalyst for economic vitality, and informed democratic participation and engagement. She has published widely on higher education policy, institutional reform, collaborative leadership, diversity and equity in higher education, the changing nature of the workplace, and women’s studies. Dr. Humphreys holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University.

Details & Registration

Conference Dates
July 21 – 23, 2021

2021 IFSA Conference registration opens Feb. 1, 2021

Hotel Information

The Alexander Hotel
333 South Delaware St.
Indianapolis, IN

Visit the hotel website to explore the hotel’s amenities and see its unique focus on art and design! The Alexander reservations website will open on Feb. 1, 2021. For attendees interested in reducing individual hotel room expense, please contact us about sharing a double room with another attendee.

There is no registration fee for the IFSA Conference and meals are provided. Attendees are responsible for transportation and accommodation.

Schedule: Wednesday, July 21

Check back frequently as we work to build the Conference agenda with session titles, session descriptions, and presenters over the upcoming months.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Registration
International Meet & Treat
with Resident Directors
2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Welcome & Kickoff Activity
3:30 – 4:45 p.m. WORKSHOP
What is the Enduring Impact of Education Abroad?
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. PLENARY SESSION
Dr. Debra Humphreys
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Dinner

Schedule: Thursday, July 22

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast with Resident Directors
8:45 – 9:15 a.m. ED TALKS
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. WORKSHOP
Designing Future-Focused Programs in a Global Society
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 – 11:45 a.m. IFSA Updates
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Networking with IFSA
2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 – 2:45 p.m. LIGHTNING ROUNDS
(Choose 1 of 3 options)
2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15 – 3:45 p.m. ED TALKS
3:45 – 5:00 p.m. WORKSHOP
Planned Happenstance: Harnessing the “Chance” Encounter
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. The Alexander Art Tour (optional)
6:30 p.m. Reception & Dinner

Schedule: Friday, July 23

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 – 9:15 a.m. ED TALKS
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. WORKSHOP
Shaping Our Legacy: Ethics in an Evolving Landscape
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 – 11:15 a.m. LIGHTNING ROUNDS
(Choose 1 of 3 options)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Connect. Collaborate. Contribute. 
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch & Departure

Reactions & Reviews


The IFSA conference provides many opportunities for deep discussions about how we can work together to increase the value and impact of education abroad for all of our students. The conversations I have at this conference provide me with ideas and motivation to continue to strive to make education abroad the best that it can be.
—David Wick, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Accessible, practical, perfect time of year, and you’ll leave with tools and knowledge you can implement right away or within the year.
—Michael Rainaldi, Oberlin College

This was my first education abroad related conference and I was extremely impressed with the friendliness and willingness to engage of everyone at the conference. I loved being able to walk up to a table of complete strangers at mealtimes at the IFSA conference, ask if I could join, and have a really interesting conversation.
—Lina Heaster-Ekholm, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

IFSA Conference 2019

Check out all the details of the 2019 IFSA Conference including sessions, presenters, special activities, and photos.