Simon Fraser University and other B.C. universities and colleges have postponed their plans to host an international education conference, after multiple participants dropped out due to concerns about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 disrupting travel and events.
The Asia-Pacific Association for International Education conference has been rescheduled to March 2021 in Vancouver, with SFU the host university. Held in Malaysia last year, the conference had 2,500 delegates and more than 200 exhibitors, who are dealing with cancelled flights and hotel bookings for the event that was scheduled for March 22-26.
The conference is co-sponsored by the B.C. government, and hosted by SFU with events at its downtown Vancouver campus. Royal Roads, Thompson Rivers, University of Northern B.C. and University of Victoria are co-hosts, and sponsors include University of the Fraser Valley, Langara College and University Canada West.
Foreign sponsoring governments include Japan, Scotland, Philippines, Australia, France and Russia. The event shifts to Bankok, Thailand in 2022.
“We understand organizers of the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education conference postponed the event due to mounting concerns around COVID-19,” B.C.’s advanced education ministry said in a statement released to Black Press. “Notably, several countries, including China, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand had already withdrawn from this year’s conference before organizers announced their decision.
“While it is disappointing, organizers were understandably concerned for the health of the expected 2,500 delegates.”
The APAIE conference was established in Seoul, South Korea in 2004. The Vancouver conference is to focus on meeting the higher education needs of Indigenous people, and the internationalization and rapid technological change affecting post-secondary studies.