Presenting at the CIS Global Forum: An opportunity for life-long learning
by David Hawkins, Independent Counsellor at Syzygy Global Education

Taking place this year in Vienna between 8-9 November, the CIS Global Forum on International Admission and Guidance is a leading annual conference bringing together more than 800 university admission officers and school career/guidance professionals. We are currently accepting session proposals for our peer-led professional development sessions.

Read about David’s experience and consider submitting a proposal of your own.

I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of CIS Global Forums, and to present as well. Most recently I was asked to join a session on medical universities outside the traditional destinations, alongside two experienced colleagues and friends. The audience at the Forum tends to be very knowledgeable and experienced, and we felt that this topic was something which would be of great interest to attendees.

I have always enjoyed the opportunity to present, most importantly as it forces you to delve deeper into the topic you are presenting on. In schools we preach the importance of life-long learning, and choosing to present is an opportunity to demonstrate this to students and colleagues. In addition, the conversations I have had following this and other presentations have led to interesting opportunities, to the benefit of my career or to engage in policy work to make changes for the betterment of our international community.

Given the wide brief of our topic, we knew that audience participation would be essential. My role was to touch on options outside of Europe. Though I was able to give an overview of options I was aware of, I knew that others in the room who worked in different regions of the world would have greater insight into the options I was discussing, and would also be able to suggest other pathways which I had not heard of. To be able to lead a conversation as a facilitator and draw upon the knowledge of the audience is exactly what CIS Forum sessions are about, and the discussion that ensued was one of great worth to all who attended. To continue the resource sharing, we put a link to a Google Doc on the CIS Europe Facebook group so that the expertise of the counselling community could be shared. 

As we look ahead to the Forum in 2018, I would strongly encourage colleagues to put themselves forward to present. The Forum Planning Committee wants to encourage new voices, new forms of presentation and new topics. Even if the topic you wish to discuss or share feels niche, it may still be of huge value within our community. This year’s Forum offers a variety of presentation formats from Interactive Workshops, to Panel Presentations, and even the dynamic Rapid Round. Potential topics need not be relevant to every attendee. If a topic is an issue for you in the work that you do, or you have a perspective on something which you feel would benefit others to hear, please do put your idea forward.

David Hawkins

David Hawkins is an experienced college and university guidance counsellor with expertise in a wide range of international university admissions systems. A graduate of the University of Oxford and a former GCSE, iGCSE, A Level, and IB History teacher, David has served as a college and careers counsellor at the International School of Brussels and at Taunton School in the UK. Now based in the southwest of England and working with Syzygy Global Education, David provides independent counselling services to students and families around the world. Having served as a member of the CIS Guidance Committee and the Committee for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, David has been very engaged with the work of the Council of International Schools. He currently serves on the CIS Forum Planning Committee.