Hillel International’s eighth annual Hillel International Global Assembly (HIGA) made a triumphant virtual return this week, with the conference taking place online for the second year in a row. The Global Assembly brings together Hillel professionals from around the globe for professional development, networking, and continuing education. This year saw over 1,000 professionals register for the conference.
This year’s HIGA featured 50 in-person watch parties where professionals could gather, connect, and celebrate while watching a livestream of the conference’s opening plenary. During this inspiring opening extravaganza, registrants heard from fellow professionals, as well as board members, the co-presidents of the Hillel International Student Cabinet, and Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman.
In his speech, Lehman focused on looking ahead to Hillel’s Centennial in the 2023-2024 academic year and, in doing so, reaffirming Hillel’s commitment to those it serves. He summed this commitment up in the form of four promises that Hillel recently outlined in its new strategic plan: to fulfill the potential of every Hillel; to welcome, support, and empower all the students that Hillel exists to serve; to work with one another to build a movement that connects all those Hillel touches; and to the future. As Lehman described the last promise, “our Centennial will not only be an opportunity to celebrate the last hundred years, but also the chance to vault the Hillel movement into our next 100 years.”
Among those featured during the plenary were this year’s award winners and honorees, including the Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence – the highest honor bestowed by Hillel International – and the recipients of the Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Outstanding Campus Award.
Day two of HIGA featured more opportunities for connection with a number of role-based cohorts, where participants could network and share challenges and successes with other registrants in similar professional positions. Throughout the conference, professionals were also able to connect with one another across roles and the movement through HIGAtherings – encounters with colleagues designed to replace the hallway run-ins that create friends from colleagues during a regular, in-person conference.
While HIGA concludes this week, the celebrations will continue into 2022 with 18 multi-Hillel winter staff retreats, which will allow professionals to come together for in-person, overnight gatherings for another chance to connect.
While pandemic considerations preempted a full in-person conference this year, Hillel professionals made the most of the hybrid model–and of course, joined in a chorus of “Next year in person!”
Thank you to our 2021 HIGA Sponsors: Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Combat Antisemitism Movement, Hebrew Union College, Masa Israel Journey, Onward Israel USA, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, The Jewish Theological Seminary: JTS, and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.