Imagine a conference in a wooded setting on a lake, with opportunities not only to engage with others through workshops, sessions, and exhibitor offerings, but also to enjoy S’mores around a fire pit and reflect on ways to make a real difference in the world.

The Region X conference, which took place November 6-8 at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, New York, was just that. Hundreds of participants from New Jersey and New York, including exhibitors from across the United States as well as Europe, Australia, and Nicaragua, came together to focus on Global Reflections, Local ConneXtions. The 2011 conference brought together international educators 10 years after the devastating events of 9/11 that had a particularly strong impact on Region X.

While participants enjoyed the casual conference setting on Lake George, international educators showed their commitment to helping improve the lives of others in a number of ways. Instead of providing conference attendees with tote bags, mugs, or similar mementos, Region X decided to make a donation to the Schoharie Recovery Fund, a charity with a strong local impact within the region that benefits one of the areas in New York State that was hardest hit by Hurricane Irene.

Region X’s Silent Auction, which featured dozens of items, including creative regional baskets packed with wares designed to show off the best of upstate New York, downstate New York, and New Jersey, raised money for professional development opportunities for educators in the region.

A big congratulations to Lilli Jensen, assistant director of international services at the Rochester Institute of Technology, winner of the 2011 James O'Driscoll Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service in the field of international education.

The 2012 Region X conference takes place November 4-6 in Niagara Falls, New York.