Conferences That Work goes to Japan!

by Adrian Segar

The first Conferences That Work peer conference held in Japan begins today! The five day event is being held by Federation EIL, the worldwide network of The Experiment in International Living (EIL). Founded in 1932, EIL was one of the first organizations of its kind to engage individuals in intercultural living and learning. Originating in the United States, The Experiment introduced the homestay concept to the world by carefully preparing and placing “Experimenters” in the homes of host families to study other languages and cultures firsthand.

This is the third year that Federation EIL has used the Conferences That Work format for its annual member meeting. The first meeting, held in Paris, France in April 2010, was disrupted by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull Icelandic volcano which caused 75% of European flights to be cancelled, and prevented half the registrants from attending. Federation EIL staff told me recently that had they been using a conventional conference design, the event would have been cancelled because of so many absent speakers. But the Conferences That Work design “routed around the damage” and the event was a success!

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This was a particularly powerful weekend for me and the format was especially conducive to allowing us to focus on self-identified areas of interest and the expertise we each already bring to the table.

— Monica Hutt, Conference evaluation
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