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In my previous two “New Year” messages, I focused (hopefully understandably) on the effects of the global pandemic and how we, as a sector, needed to identify and learn from what happened. We wanted to use the experience to inform our actions and practices going forward, and, ultimately, repay students for their sacrifices and hard work during that most difficult of times.

This year, I am pleased to say that enforced social isolation and travel restrictions are beginning to seem like a distant memory, and in 2023 we were excited about getting out to see so many of our partners and students in person, both on campus and at events around the globe. We also attended many conferences and sector events and have been energized and empowered by the great insight and opportunity that these meetings encourage for IDP, for students, and for the sector as a whole.

I am proud to say that in 2023 IDP continued to champion the student voice in many ways and, looking forward, that we will continue to do so in 2024 and beyond.

We know that students listen to other students and last year we welcomed The Ambassador Platform to IDP so their valued student ambassadors can join the conversation and provide our students with the peer-to-peer information they need to help make the right decisions and prepare for success. In a world of technological possibilities, sometimes human experience holds the most resonance.

Of course, one of the major talking points for 2023 was the rise of artificial intelligence in the higher education sector, and our information and data teams have been working hard to ensure that IDP continues to understand the great opportunities the technology presents as well as how to maintain our high levels of security for our clients and customers. We are already utilizing AI technology in certain areas of our business, for instance in our Next Best Actions service in the student placement journey, and in harnessing the huge amounts of data we have at the top of the funnel so that we can bring student journeys together to provide the best experience possible.

We have proven capabilities in this field and are leaders in the sector, but we will only use AI where it works and is proven to be fair. We never lose sight of the fact that our customers are making high-stakes choices and so we are supremely cautious about the interplay of technology and how it could and should combine with trusted human connections. We continue to focus on differentiation and delighting our clients and customers, so our efforts are firmly fixed on using AI to enhance and differentiate our offering.

With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Advisory boards around the world who provide the sector perspective and ensure we are continuing to develop valuable services through purposeful innovation.

Looking back on 2023, I am immensely proud to acknowledge the work and special projects completed by IDP and how these are increasingly being seen as influential in policy and strategy setting by senior leaders and governments. For example, IDP partnered with the Department for Business and Trade to present the International Markets Forum in London, we also sponsored and contributed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students inquiry into the Graduate visa, with team members co-presenting at the launch of the final report held in the House of Lords. We launched our Emerging Futures 4 findings at the AIEC in Adelaide with Melissa Banks from AUSTRADE, and our Think Tank event in Washington DC, ‘Destination 2030: Reimagining the future of student mobility’ occurred at a key inflection point for international education opportunities in the United States.

Looking forward into the very near 2024, IDP will be presenting the findings of a major survey on a National Strategy for International Education for the U.S. at the next Think Tank event in February. The survey aims to identify collective strategic priorities for international education among stakeholders and higher education leaders, and was created in consultation with numerous leading organizations, including AIRC, NAFSA, AIEA and the U.S. for SUCCESS Coalition. We are very proud to be at the forefront of this influential work and look forward to realizing outcomes that will continue to promote the international education opportunities and excellence in the United States of America.

As always, our biannual student surveys, Emerging Futures, will continue to enable us to keep our finger on the pulse of what is relevant to students and decision makers across the globe, and we will continue to present these findings sector wide so that the benefits of our knowledge, expertise and scale can be felt by everyone.

As we stride on into 2024, I continue to be grateful for all my wonderful colleagues; they are incredibly talented, great to work with, and, most importantly, we laugh a lot together. I, and the entire team, look forward to working with you in 2024 and hope we can continue to meet in person to share thoughts, experience, and opportunities. Happy New Year to you all.

CP-People listing-Simon
Simon Emmett10 January 2024