Two days ago, I participated in the EduExpo international education fair, organized by FPP Media, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Here is my summary of the event, including pros, cons, and my opinion about whether the event is worth attending again in the future.
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“There is now a menace which is called Twitter […] The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.” — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey
I took this quote today from an article on CBSnews.com: “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejects “dictator” charge.”
I found this quote and its context in the article to be a bit chilling. As an avid user of social media, I find it quite ironic that a leader who is refuting claims that he is a dictator is condemning the use of social media. Twitter is a menace to society? Really?
Social media gives a voice to ordinary citizens, bringing their voices together in a virtual setting in way that can be similar to an actual physical protest. It can just be harder for a government to stop its citizens’ online commentaries.
Twitter has the power to let people express themselves however they wish. Sure, a person can certainly use their Twitter account to lie; however, I like to think that (with the exception of cyber-bullies) most people use their social media accounts to speak the truth as they see it. Perhaps I am too much of an idealist.
In any case, with the trouble that has been happening recently in Turkey, Erdogan’s comments bring back memories of the attempted crackdown of Twitter during the protests in Iran of 2009-2010; it also makes me worry that, if pushed too far, the Turkish government may choose to go the way of the Chinese, refusing access to Twitter and Facebook outright. Let’s hope not.
I have a relatively heavy fall recruitment schedule, covering five countries at several events over the next two months. All of these events are run (either exclusively or in partnership) by BMI, whom I consider to be one of the best fair organizers in the international education industry.
The events I am attending are as follows:
- Salão do Estudante: Student fairs take place in several cities in Brazil in September. My schedule includes Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Curitiba, Recife, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro.
- Expo-Estudiante: Student fairs that take place in several countries in South America in September/October, including Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia.
- The Global Agent Workshop: Taking place in Istanbul in October, this two-day workshop is comprised of multiple meetings with international education agencies, a “speed dating” method that helps agents and institutions to begin preliminary discussions to potentially form partnerships.
- The Higher Education Workshop: A two-day venue in October that helps US and Brazilian institutions to meet in an effort to form partnerships, educate each other about programs at each university, and for US schools to raise awareness about their programs that qualify for Science Without Borders, the relatively new Brazilian federal government scholarship program;
- The Higher Education Fair (Salão do Universitario): an education fair that is specific for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to be marketed to Brazilian students in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
All of this makes for a busy fall! This does not even count the travel that my team is doing this fall, going to venues in Argentina, Chile, Germany, Ireland, and Iraq.
We definitely have our work cut out for us during this travel season, but we are so very blessed to be able to do the work that we do!