The 7th annual Gulf Region Conference, co-sponsored by ACPA and NASPA, was held February 6-7, 2013 at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). I had the honor of representing ACPA, and of joining 150 colleagues from the Gulf region, Northern Africa and North America. The conference theme, “Beyond Boundaries: Leading Locally, Thinking Globally,” was reflected in a range of programs addressing topics including leadership development, diversity and inclusion, preparing students to lead as part of an ever-changing global community, and the need for outstanding professional development and opportunities for professional credentialing.
At the conclusion of the conference a delegation of ACPA and NASPA representatives, with conference organizers, had the privilege of meeting with His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and President of Zayed University. His Excellency stressed the importance of preparing students for global citizenship, as well as the need to provide students with adequate counseling and support as they balance a range of stresses during their university careers. Both the conference and meeting with His Excellency provided yet another reminder of the universality of many issues facing higher education and student affairs, while remaining rooted in understanding of the contextual impacts of region and culture.
This collaborative effort is just one example of ACPA’s commitment to its strategic goals addressing global issues related to student learning and professional development.