Before you pack your bags and head for the sun, don’t forget to register for EUPRIO’s 2015 conference in Perugia, Italy.

This year’s theme of Turn it upside down reflects the upheaval higher education is going through across the European continent and beyond.

The conference opens on Sunday, September 6 – a change from the usual Thursday start – and is the fourth to be held in Italy.

Università per Stranieri di Perugia – the University of Foreigners of Perugia – and AICUN, the Italian national association of university communicators, are hosting the conference.

Back to Italy

Paola Scioli, Italy’s national representative on the EUPRIO Steering Committee, said: “We are excited to be bringing EUPRIO’s conference back to Italy, to the capital of Umbria region.

“We’ve got some excellent speakers and a great social programme – and Perugia is a lovely setting for an event like this.”

Among the sessions on offer is a masterclass on The changing role of strategic communication and marketing in international recruitment… and retention.

Edilio Mazzoleni, from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Edilio Mazzoleni, from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Led by Edilio Mazzoleni, Director of Corporation, Mobility and Internationalisation at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy, and Nicole Brini, the University’s international communications coordinator, the masterclass will look beyond the education centre for inspiration.

Embracing global competition

With increased focus on reaching prospective students around the world, Edilio and Nicole will share some of the secrets of Università Cattolica ‘s success in embracing the world of global competition.

Specifically, the masterclass (2-4pm, Monday, September 7) will look at how the Italian university has challenged itself to find new ways of talking to, and engaging with, students from different backgrounds and cultures, and demonstrate that what works in Europe might not work in China.

Continuing the international theme, Mirella Cerato will be give a lecture (Tuesday, September 8, 9am repeated at 10am) on The communication challenges facing large universities.

Mirella is head of the communications office at the University of Bologna, which has 84,000 students and 6,000 staff on five campuses and one branch abroad.

Fitting strategy with organisational structure

The university, founded in 1088, is in the process of designing a new international communications strategy; and Mirella’s lecture will focus on how strategy has to fit with the organisational structure of the University.

Bologna has always invested in a multidisciplinary cross-cultural approach, says Mirella – and her talk will explain how the long-term institutional objectives are to make a difference in policy making of key issues at a global level and to become the partner of choice for international students, researchers, policymakers, funders and other stakeholders.

From Generation X to Gen Z

Another of the lectures on offer on Tuesday morning takes a journey from Generation X to Generation Z.

It is led by Arvid Dahlgren, marketing director at Karlstad University, Sweden, and Ollie Hallberg, the University’s communication officer looking after social media and the web.

The session will have a ‘back to the future’ feel and contrast yesterday’s students, who sat down and watched TV for entertainment and applied for university courses from a printed catalogue, with Gen Z (the millennial generation)

Arvid says: “Generation Z stream media whenever they want on various devices and learn by themselves through YouTube tutorials. And they talk with international friends they have never met, in a language made up of symbols.

“Will we survive tomorrow if we don’t adapt?”

The lecture on tomorrow’s students will look at the way they handle information and communicate all the time and everywhere.

“The more we understand the future needs of Generation Z, the better equipped we are to use the right arguments, tools and channels to reach them.”

Be convincing in three minutes

Another offering on Tuesday morning is Noemie Mermet’s workshop on Be convincing in three minutes.

Noemie Mermet, a French PhD studentNoemie (pictured left) is a PhD student in neuroscience and studying the mechanism of pain at a French research laboratory.

She says: “Social success depends on our ability to establish interaction with others and to inspire confidence and respect

“In a world where everything moves fast, we often have less than three minutes to present our business, innovation or project.

“To focus our speech, we need to make smart choices, to structure our talk and use phrases or relevant examples, in order to impact the audience and convince them to remember us. The goal: a maximum practical communication in the shortest time!”

Noemie will describe some of the keys to mastering this challenge mixing body language, psychology, transactional analysis and neurosciences.

+ That’s just a flavour of what’s on offer at this year’s conference, see the full programme here, and register to make sure your place at Perugia here.

* This blog first appeared on the EUPRIO website on 17 July.

Main photograph: Pointing out some of the highlights of Perugia