Reflections on ASIC International Conference 2018

Our Finance Manager, Liesle, writes about her experience of ASIC2018IC

We arrived at the newly completed international airport in Muscat, Oman during the early hours of Friday morning. The first thing to strike me was the heat. It was about 30 degrees as we got off the aircraft, quite a difference from the chilly 2 degrees we had left back in the north east of England. The second was the friendliness of the Omani people; they were as warm and welcoming as the climate.

We were swiftly through security and out into the hot air of Muscat arriving at our hotel, the beautiful Hormuz Grand, only 10 minutes later. Another warm welcome from the staff, then off for a couple of hours sleep before our day started properly. After a hearty breakfast, we took a trip to the shopping mall at City Centre Muscat where we had a little time to look around the shops, relaxing before our busy schedule began in earnest.

Our first official function was a meal with the Director General of Private Schools for the Omani Ministry of Education, Fatma Abdul Abbas Noorani and her colleague Fathiya Mohamed Abdullah Aluwaisi, Director of Quality Assurance for the Ministry. They are passionate about education, community, and building up their country to be the best it can be, and this is the resounding impression of the country that I have taken home with me. This same passion and drive to see their people grow, to enrich their lives through education, could be said of all the Omani people I had the privilege to meet.

The day of the conference, as you can imagine, was extremely busy but so rewarding and the time just flew by. It was a pleasure to meet lots of new people and to put faces to the ones I had been communicating with over the years. The speakers were very informative, and I felt that the delegates benefited from attending the conference with the immediate feedback being exceedingly positive.

The break-out sessions were popular and I think the informality of the groups enhanced the opportunity to ask questions, to learn more about ASIC and our mission, and in particular to experience what we have to offer to our accredited institutions. There were lots of opportunities for networking during the break times and over lunch, and it was great to see the delegates mingling with each other, sharing experiences and contact details.

We were then lucky enough to visit a number of the institutions in and around the Muscat area. We got to see a newly built private school that was just a few weeks away from welcoming its students. It was a fabulous building with fantastic facilities. The owner Dr Khalifa AL Qasmi has been involved in the education world for many years and again his passion for learning was so exciting to see.

We were also glad to meet Professor Eugene Coyle of the Military Technological College and we were taken around the college for a short informal visit. This was an institution that I found particularly interesting as I am from a military background myself so I could appreciate the work and ethos of the college.

On my final day in Oman (and I was sorry to be leaving) Maurice and I were taken to visit another couple of colleges. Both colleges were amazing and I was impressed to see that the college management, Dr Modi Al Ghailani, was zealous with regard to ensuring the well-being of her students, looking after both their practical and emotional needs. As a mum to a teenage girl, this was so encouraging to see as from personal experience I have seen the importance of mental well-being in relation to allowing a child to fulfil their potential.

As I sit writing this, back in northern England, my lasting impression of Oman is of a country that is warm and welcoming beyond measure, with a passion for its people to achieve as much as they can. I am already looking forward to going back.

Liesle Hattan
ASIC Finance Manager

For information about where ASIC will be next, keep an eye on our newsletter and events page. More photos from ASIC International Conference 2018 are here.