International alumni relations is about building unique and personal relationships with alumni based outside an institution’s home country. The relevance of international alumni relations in light of demographic changes, economic trends, and globalization cannot be underestimated. How can we envision international alumni relations to be different than it is now? How do you imagine global engagement being realized at your institution? How can we create innovative partnerships with alumni that address student mobility, employability, and strengthened presence abroad for the academic and external relations agendas?
In February, I will be addressing these questions in my presentation at the annual conference for the Association of International Education Administrators (aieaworld.org). The session, “International Alumni Relations as a Facilitator of Change” looks ahead to 2020 with a discussion of two trends: 1) growing number of alumni with nontraditional affinity and 2) increased interest in operating satellite offices serving the needs of one or more institutions’ admissions, academic and advancement agendas.
With the increase of international community college graduates, more short-term international exchange programs and executive or corporate learning programs and a growing number of institutions “exporting” their campuses to other countries and continents, the opportunities for nontraditional affinities will increase in the coming years. The first part of the program reviews this trend and discusses ways to remain proactive and leverage what may become a new “norm.”
Part two of the program focuses on branch offices. Institutional investment and/or personal philanthropy from international stakeholders may be driving the satellite office topic. I believe international alumni should also play a role in developing regional presence. Paying careful attention to culture and how it impacts alumni affinity will be key to engaging lasting participation and support.
With this posting, I wanted to begin the dialogue about these and additional trends that involve alumni abroad. What else should we be thinking about?