Globetrottin’ ADs Student-Athlete Leadership Conference

POSTED: March 4, 2021Category: NewsBY: Steve

Topnotch and easily accessible professional development is one main highlight to come out of the pandemic. People from all walks of life and all professions are finding ways to get better online with webinars, courses, podcasts and chats. International teachers are one of the groups at the top of that list as we are finding ways to connect with colleagues around the world like never before.
Even before the pandemic Matt Fleming (AIS Budapest) and I realized that Athletic Directors and Coaches from International Schools needed some sort of way to connect regardless of country, conference or continent and the Globetrottin’ ADs were born. As we were all sent home to our computers last year our podcast and online resource library evolved into online conferences which had over one thousand participants.

As we moved into the 2020/21 school year we wanted to do more but realized that the focal point of all of our development, the student-athletes we serve, were not included in anything we were doing. The idea of the Student-Athlete Leadership Conference was born.

Fast forward to February 12th, 2021 and almost 500 high school students were online live and engaged in presentations given by other high school students from around the world. All in all, over 100 international schools registered for the conference to either watch it live or the recordings. 15 of those schools had students lead sessions about topics such as competition anxiety, promoting equality, motivation, and the importance of sports. Bookending the student sessions were two amazing keynote speakers. Sebastien Bellin who was a professional athlete, a terrorist attack survivor and an international school student kicked off the conference talking about his four pillars. The world-renowned sports phycologist from Duke University, Greg Dale finished the day talking about how to be a leader that others want to follow.

The students involved in the conference either as participants or presenters came together as a global community of international school students. They conquered fears, they asked questions, they learned new things, they met new people and realized that they are not alone. One of the participating students, a Senior from Escola Americana Do Rio De Janeiro realized “that there are many other student-athletes who are going through the same experiences as he is. He loved the conference and said it motivated him. His schoolmate commented, “It was a great chance to know what the rest of the world thinks and how people approached things differently.”

Students are all content creators in some way as they work on projects and make presentations in their classes. Becoming someone who creates content for others takes even more preparation and attention to details. For high school students to have the opportunity to do that not only makes them even more prepared for the real world but also makes them become better consumers of content. Knowing the hard work that goes into a finished presentation gives them a better appreciation of things they consume and may even give them a better appreciation of their teachers and coaches.

That audience was over 100 international schools around the world which included eight schools from AISA including; AIS Abuja, Bingham Academy, Cairo AC, IS Kenya, IS Tanganyika, IS Uganda, Lincoln CS, and Harare IS.

This conference gave a unique opportunity for students to talk about their athletic passions and relate them to school and life however, most importantly it gave their voices a place to be heard by their peers, their parents, their teachers, and their coaches.

Nick DeForest is currently the Assistant Director of the Events Office at AIS Vienna, Austria and host of the Globetrottin’ ADs Podcast. Originally from Ontario Canada, Nick has been in Austria since 2000 and is passionate about connecting international school Athletic Directors, Coaches and Teachers from around the world.
To connect with Nick and learn more please visit

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