CIES NE Conference

About CIE


Heidi Ross
CIES President

Steven Klees
University of Maryland

Jean Grossholtz
Mount Holyoke College

Comparative & International Education Society

Annual Northeast Regional Meeting
October 26 - 27, 2001

Center for International Education
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Whose Globe? What Learning?
Re-Imagining Education from an International Perspective

By Karen Marie Lennon, Program Coordinator

It was with great pleasure that the Center for International Education (CIE), at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with the support of the sponsoring institutions Harvard Graduate School of Education and Teachers College at Columbia University, organized and coordinated the CIES 2001 NE Regional Conference. There was a very good turn-out of participants, 175 in all, which greatly reflected a desire to interact around issues related to "Whose Globe? What Learning? Re-Imagining Education from an International Perspective." We at CIE feel that the overall planning and events of the conference went smoothly, and its success evolved from the participation and efforts of the people who converged during this one and a half day event.

The conference began on Friday evening, October 26 2001, shortly after 6:00. The introductions were done by Gretchen Rossman of CIE, and the official opening of the conference was by CIE Professor Emeritus George Urch, who concisely related the theme of the conference to "Whose Globe? What Learning? Re-imagining Education from an International Perspective." Tom Neilson then played guitar, and sang folk songs from his latest recording with a focus on environmental issues. The main event of the evening was the three provocative presentations given by Heidi Ross (CIES President, Professor and Chair of Educational Studies at Colgate University); Jean Grossholtz (Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College, founder of Diverse Women for Diversity, and the Global Action Coalition Western Massachusetts); and Steven Klees (Professor of Education and Director of the International Education Policy program at the University of Maryland, College Park. The presentations were followed by questions and dialogue with session attendees. Following the presentation was a reception hosted by Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), an on-line journal at Teachers College, Columbia University. The event was very well attended, in which a diverse crowd of people mingled, talked, ate and drank.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. the following morning were five concurrent sessions, within four different time blocks. There was also a room for poster board presentations that ran throughout the day. A diversity of interesting panel formats expressed a wide range of topic disciplines and research. The most challenging aspects of the panel sessions were to encourage alternative formats, and the provision of adequate time for dialogue.

The closing event of the conference was mediated by Alberto Arenas of CIE, who graciously began with a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh. Numerous themes were highlighted, in which many ideas and learning experiences that occurred during the previous two days were exchanged and discussed. There was a consensus that overall the conference themes and sessions were current, pertinent and stimulating. There were, however, dissenting voices in regards to some of the themes, especially the musical format presented during the opening plenary session. This was discussed and debated in a climate of openness and frankness. About fifty people attended this session, during which interesting debate and dialogue ensued.

In conclusion, the overall feedback of the conference was very positive, as supported by the 40 feedback questionnaires received by attendees, as well as by informal comments from others who were present. In the end, it was great to receive such positive comments, plus to gain an understanding of various frustrations, disagreements and suggestions; the feedback about the conference helped us to learn more about how we should build upon our learning, and apply it in a world in dire need of our participation as committed scholars and active practitioners. It is not only about respecting a diversity of cultures, but also a diversity of ways of being and doing. Thus, the importance and the need to deepen the dialogue on constructing and implementing educational alternatives, within the framework of differing local and international context and realities, continues.

The entire CIES Final Report can be downloaded in MS Word here



Center for International Education


For more information, please contact us at:

Center for International Education
School of Education
University of Massachusetts
285 Hills House South
Amherst, MA 01003

Telephone: (413)545-0465 | Fax: (413)545-1263
Web Address




Web site last updated February 20, 2002