school background with supplies

ESHA Biennial 2023 in Dubrovnik

Opening biennial conference 2023 in Dubrovnik


What did the following recipe make?

The perfect venue, over six hundred delegates, multiple leadership organisations from over twenty-nine countries, fantastic keynotes and inspiring workshops all blended perfectly by a professional management team under a master chef.

This was the 2023 ESHA Biennial Conference in Dubrovnik last week of October. The venue just outside the medieval city was excellently managed, with great hospitality and fine catering to give the best conference experience. The keynotes were excellent, apt, well delivered and well received. The Master chef was Suzana Hitrec of UHSR, the Croatian School Heads Association and the team which surround her were nothing short of inspirational. No detail was left to chance and ESHA’s debt of gratitude to these wonderful people is unreserved and extensive.

The energy and enthusiasm at the conference was electric and palpable. Those in attendance spoke of the buzz, the energy and the enjoyment in the gathering. The mix of old and new, traditional and futuristic, provided something to resonate with every delegate. The conference was true to its title “School Leaders Making a Difference” and the congress presentations and materials will be available on the website soon: Fantastic networking opportunities coupled with thought provoking and inspirational keynotes supplied the platform to renew old acquaintances, create new friendships and build powerful professional networks. The Gala dinner accompanied by excellent live music provided for an unusual dynamic and swirling building of friendships and networks amongst participants, guests, and speakers.

The workshops ranging from selfcare to leadership improvement and cyber security coupled with roundtable discussions and school visits covered all aspects of school leadership both theoretical and practical. As Professor Andreas Schleicher joined by hologram it reminded us of a scene from Star Trek as he “beamed in” to speak on how school heads can make a difference in the light of recent developments and research. The following keynote by Boris Jokić relating to the importance of face-to-face education, wellbeing and integrating recent technologies was so well delivered and received that he got a standing ovation. Also, professors Pushpanadham, Canalgan and Harry te Riele ir/MSc made the audience think and reflect in great depth.

Boris Jokic addressing keynote

Prof. Boris Jokić

Suzana Hitrec opening the conference

Suzana Hitrec, UHSR president

Andreas Schleicher hologram

Prof. Andreas Schleicher

The ESHA Biennial Conference is the jewel in the crown of all school leader gatherings and those who were unable to attend missed a seminal moment in school leadership networking and development.

On the final day of the conference, Antonello Giannelli, President of ANP, announced that from 29th to the 31st of October 2025 all roads will lead to Rome. We look forward to meeting again in the "Eternal City" for the 2025 ESHA Biennial Conference. So put the date in your diary now! If you were unable to attend this time or as you reflect on time well spent in Dubrovnik, dream of that which is yet to come in Rome and how you can be part of ESHA. As the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote,

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.”

Stay safe, stay well, and stay in contact with each other in our wonderful ESHA family and we look forward to meeting at the next ESHA Biennial Conference.

Participants ESHA 2023 biennial conference


Participants workshop


ESHA board members on stage

ESHA Board members


Paul Byrne, Secretary General, ESHA