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EARCOS Fetes its Fiftieth
By Meadow Hilley, TIE Editor 06-Dec-18
Celebrating EARCOS’s 50th anniversary are Executive Director Dick Krajczar and his wife, Sherry, bookended by longtime EARCOS board member and President Harlan Lyso and his wife, Mary. _________________________________________________________________________ From 25–27 October, 2018, over 1,000 international educators gathered at the Shangri-La hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the 50th-annual EARCOS Leadership Conference 2018, hosted by the East Asia Regional Council of Schools. Under the theme “Celebrating Our Legacy, Inspiring Our Future,” attendees gathered to hear powerful keynote speakers—including Sir John Jones, Pasi Sahlberg, and Kim Phuc Phan Thi—along with countless committed workshop presenters and speakers. TIE Editor Meadow Hilley spoke with outgoing EARCOS Executive Director Dick Krajczar as he visited family in Pennsylvania. Meadow Hilley: You’ve just celebrated a major milestone at the 50th annual Leadership Conference of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). What was the experience like for you? Dick Krajczar: Thinking about where we were 50 years ago in East Asia as compared to where we are today, it’s pretty amazing. There’s been an explosion of international schools in our region. When I first started doing this job, we probably had between 300 and 350 people show up at the conference. Now we routinely break 1,200 attendees. Meadow: What concepts guided your thinking as you went about designing and planning this 50th-anniversary conference? Dick: We wanted to make it special. Thematically, we tried to evoke the spirit of ’68, when the organization was formed. Meadow: I heard from a number of people that the experience was truly magical, which is quite a thing to hear from people attending a conference! What you suppose they were responding to? Dick: I think in this organization over the years we have built a culture of camaraderie, where people really connect and care for one another. We had some pretty incredible keynote speakers, along with a hundred or so other presentations. And, of course, we broke bread together. There’s always a strong feeling of togetherness, of positivity and belonging. Meadow: It’s pretty phenomenal that you’ve been able to maintain and develop that sense of camaraderie even as the field of international education has grown exponentially. Dick: You bet—it’s something you’ve got to work on. We do a lot to welcome new people into the organization, to recognize their schools and their service. We’re always on a mission to make people feel they belong, and know that they’re special. Meadow: I understand you’re retiring after having served EARCOS for 22 years; what’s up next for you? Dick: I don’t know. It’s funny. I’ve sort of come back to my roots. What’s next for me is to figure out how I can divert this enormous amount of energy I still have. Who knows what’s going to happen. Meadow: You’re sort of getting the double whammy here, because not only are you transitioning into retirement, you are also moving away from the international landscape where you spent your long career. Dick: Coming back, I go a little bit nuts. It’s so quiet around here! Meadow: I’m sure you’ll come up with something impressive. From all of my colleagues at TIE, we wish you the very best in this new adventure.
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