The following history has been kindly collated by Maurice Carder, one of the founders and original committee members.

1983: ECIS autumn conference, Rome. A group of concerned teachers decided to form a committee to represent the pedagogical needs of ESL students in international schools. A subject committee was formed, Shirley Bakker was nominated as Chair, and other committee members included Coreen Sears, Sandra Meakin and Maurice Carder.


1987: the 1st ECIS ESL Conference was held at the Vienna IS, Vienna. Organised by Maurice Carder. Keynote speaker: Jim Cummins, OISE, Toronto, Canada. Guest speaker: Dick Allwright, University of Lancaster, UK; Chair of TESOL.

Committee Chair: Maurice Carder. 


1989: the 2nd ECIS ESL Conference was held at Ferney-Voltaire, France, near Geneva. Sandra Meakin organised accommodation; Maurice Carder organised the speakers. Keynote speaker: Dr Virginia Collier, George Mason University, USA.

Committee Chair: Maurice Carder. 


1991: the 3rd ECIS ESL Conference was held at Cavtat, near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Organised by Maurice Carder. Keynote speaker: Dr Virginia Rojas. It was agreed to change the name of the committee to ESL & Mother Tongue Committee.

Committee Chair: Maurice Carder. 


1993: the 4th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held in Munich, Germany. Organised by Jeanne-Marie Briginshaw.

Committee Chair: Jenny Suitemaker   Committee members: Kim Oppenheim, Jeanne-Marie Briginshaw. The ‘& MT’ was dropped.


1994-1999: ECIS ESL Committee Chair: Brannan Gary.  Committee members: Kim Oppenheim, Jeanne-Marie Briginshaw.


2000: the 5th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held at the Vienna IS, Vienna. ‘& MT’ was officially recognised by the ECIS CEO, Dixie Mckay. Organised by Maurice Carder. Keynote speaker: David Graddol, via video link. Guest speakers: Constant Leung, Rebecca Field, Else Hamayan.

Committee Chair: Jeanne-Marie Briginshaw.  Committee members: Maurice Carder, Eithne Gallagher, Kim Oppenheim.



2002: the 6th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held at Leysin American School, Switzerland. Organised by Kim Oppenheim. Keynote speakers: Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas. Guest speakers: Deborah Short, Rebecca Freeman-Field, Else Hamayan, Virginia Rojas, Jim Cummins, Stephen Krashen.

Committee Chair:  Jeanne-Marie Briginshaw; Committee members: Maurice Carder, Eithne Gallagher, Kim Oppenheim.


2005: the 7th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held in Rome. ‘Many languages, one message: equal rights to the curriculum’. Organised by Eithne Gallagher. Keynote speaker: Stephen Krashen. Guest speakers: Jim Cummins, Else Hamayan, John Landon, Anna Uhl Chamot, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Edna Murphy, Brian Dare.

Committee Chair: Eithne Gallagher.  Committee members: John Deighan, Patricia Mertin, Kim Oppenheim, Lynddi  Readean.


2008: the 8th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held in Geneva. “Promoting multilingual student identities across the international school curriculum”. Organised by John Deighan. Keynote speaker: Jim Cummins.  Guest speakers: Chris Davidson, Pauline Gibbons, Stephen Krashen, Viv Edwards, Ofelia Garcia, Riccardo Otheguy, Brian Dare.

Committee Chair: Dr Patricia Mertin. Committee members: Nick Clark, Pascale Hertay, Lynddi Readean.


2011: the 9th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held in Dusseldorf, Germany. “Promoting Linguistic Human Rights in International Schools: from Theory to the Classroom”. Organised by Dr Patricia Mertin. Keynote speakers: Tove Skutnabb-Kangas with Robert Phillipson. Guest speakers: Jim Cummins, Else Hamayan. Dr Maurice Carder, Elizabeth Coelho, Margaret Early, Rebecca Freeman-Field, Eithne Gallagher, Christine Helot, Sunny Man Chu Lau, Constant Leung.

Committee Chair: Kim Oppenheim.  Committee members: Frances Bekechi, Nick Clarke, Pascale Hertay, Lynddi Readean,


2014: the 10th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held at the IS of Amsterdam. ‘Developing multi-literate global citizens: from language policy to classroom practice’. Keynote speaker: Dr Catherine Snow, Harvard University. Guest speakers: Jim Cummins, Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Eithne Gallagher, Fred Genesee, Else Hamayan, Deborah Short, Carol Inugai-Dixon, Dr Maurice Carder, Dr Patricia Mertin, Eugenia Papadaki.

Committee Chair: Chadwick Williams. Committee members: Frances Bekechi, Nick Clarke, Niki Cooper, Eugenia Papadaki, Ron Rosenow.


2017: the 11th ECIS ESL & MT Conference was held in Copenhagen, 2-5 March, at the Tivoli Hotel. ‘The Power of Multilingual Classrooms in International Education: Implications for Curriculum Design, Teaching and Learning.’ Keynote Speakers: Jim Cummins, Paul Kei Matsuda, Pauline Gibbons, Stephen Krashen. Guest speakers: Jon Nordmeyer, Beth Skelton, Brian Dare, Linda Li, Sheldon Bradshaw, Else Hamayan, Fred Genesee, Patricia Mertin, et al. Committee name changed to MLIE – Multilingual Learning in International Education.

Committee Chair: Ron Rosenow.  Committee members: Niki Cooper, Ros Şentürk, Aaron Deupree, Eugenia Papadaki.

2019: the 12th MLIE conference was held in London, 1-3 March. hosted by the International School of London and held at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith.  'Unity through Multilingualism'. Key note speakers: Jim Cummins, Mary Hayden, Paul Kei Matsuda, Fred Genesee, Kate Seltzer. Invited speakers: Li Wei, Victoria Murphy, Jean-Marc Dewaele, Yongcan Liu, Jackie Jia Lou, Judit Kormos, Antonella Sorace, Constant Leung, Robert Sharples, Jim Anderson, Particia Bloem, Laura Vander Broek, Yu-Chiao Chung, Vicky McLeroy, Monika Schmid, Lise Fontaine, Beth Skelton. Additionally, the conference featured 4 student speakers as well as over 50 teacher presenters.

Committee chair: Susan Stewart. Committee members: Niki Cooper, Ron Rosenow, Mindy McCracken,

Please contact the committee if you spot any errors, or if you have any photos to share from previous conferences.

Art credit: Niki Cooper (2019)
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