By Reid A. Robison, ’75
ALUMNI representatives from a dozen countries traveled to Provo in early October for an International Volunteer Leadership Conference sponsored by the BYU Alumni Association. In two days of sessions, the 20 international chapter chairs and volunteers received helpful training, gained ideas for strengthening chapters, and learned ways to better serve alumni and friends and represent BYU and the Church of Jesus Christ.
International participation in the Alumni Association has grown in recent years, and this was the first time the international chapters have had their own conference, separate from the domestic chapters. Represented were Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain.
The conference began with a dinner and a keynote address by Bruce L. Olsen, ’63, public affairs director for the Church, who discussed the contributions of President Gordon B. Hinckley to the Church and the effect of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
In 15 sessions the next day, 18 speakers gave presentations on topics including international student admissions and services, scholarship opportunities, expectations of international chapters, career placement, and the International Society. Elder Richard E. Cook, emeritus member of the Quorum of the Seventy, spoke on the Perpetual Education Fund, and BYU international vice president Sandra Rogers, ’74, discussed BYU‘s international outreach efforts. The conference also included Web training, in which chapter chairs were shown how to use the alumni Web site for communicating with alumni, and an open house, which allowed chapter representatives to meet with international students from their countries.