The IAFOR European Conference Series 2023 (ECE/ECLL/ECAH/EGen2023), held between July 13–17, 2023 at SOAS University of London and UCL, UK, has successfully concluded, reinforcing The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)'s commitment to the advancement of international, intercultural and interdisciplinary study, teaching and research. With over 750 participants hailing from over 75 countries, the event underlined the organisation's role as a bridge to global academic dialogue.
The conference was launched with enlightening addresses by Li Wei, Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education and Anne Boddington, IAFOR Provost and Executive Vice-President and Research PVC at Middlesex University. Their perspectives, anchored in their diverse expertise, provided an enriching start, reflecting the breadth and depth of ideas to be explored over the course of the event.
Day one of the conference featured enlightening presentations by Barbara Lockee of Virginia Tech, addressing education in times of disruption, and Sara Custer from Times Higher Education (THE), who facilitated a thought-provoking interactive session on AI. The day concluded with a keynote at the intersection of language and psychology, delivered by Andrea Révész from The UCL Institute of Education.
The morning of day two was kicked off by Evangelia Chrysikou of The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction at UCL, and a special address by Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino on demographic change and human security.
Roboticist Fernando Loizides of Cardiff University delivered a fascinating keynote (with special guest, MYLO the robot) on the adoption of robotics in home environments, and psychologist Eddy Davelaar of Birkbeck, University of London followed by looking at mental resilience, successful ageing and methods for ascertaining people's abilities.
The afternoon arts plenaries were given by Maria Delgado of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, who presented a keynote titled "Research Practice and Practice Research", and Eleonore Kofman and Neelam Raina from Middlesex University, who spoke on interdisciplinarity and global challenges.
Days three and four, held at UCL, were packed parallel presentation days, before bringing the conference to an end with the final day being held entirely online. Grant Black of Chuo University delivered the onsite closing of the conference, and underlined both its strength in terms of interdisciplinary scholarship, and international and intercultural diversity.
While formal presentations are the backbone of IAFOR conferences, the value of informal, yet intellectual, interaction among peers is not overlooked. This was exemplified by the stunning conference dinner at the Savile Club, an iconic venue which provided the perfect backdrop for an evening of insightful conversation and dining.
Reflecting on The IAFOR European Conference Series 2023, its success resided not only in the quantity of the participants but in the quality of ideas exchanged, underscoring the ethos of IAFOR as being international, intercultural, and interdisciplinary.
As we look towards future events, including a return to the vibrant city of London, we are grateful to the speakers, participants, and the dedicated IAFOR team for their commitment and contributions. For those who missed out, rest assured, online catch-up options and high-quality recordings of plenary presentations are available online.
ECE/ECLL/ECAH/EGen2023 has once again underlined IAFOR's vision - a vision of academia's potential for positive change, and of its responsibility to promote and generate innovation, by connecting and educating.