The first annual Directors' Retreat for the Advancement of Conservation Education was held October 10-12, 2002, at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia. Organized by the Getty Conservation Institute with the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), the retreat focused on needs and strategies for AIC's newly expanding national program for midcareer professional development for conservators, launched with a generous endowment gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Since 1987 the GCI has organized meetings, seminars, and related projects with the aim of supporting the teaching of conservation. One such event was an ad hoc meeting of conservation educators organized in April 2000 to consider current and emerging needs in conservation education internationally, for both movable and immovable heritage (see Conservation, vol. 15, no. 2). Participants at the April 2000 meeting discussed the need for more opportunities for communication among directors of education programs, leading to a better exchange of ideas and information, as well as strategic thinking across institutions.

In response, the GCI has initiated a series of annual retreats intended for directors of academic programs in conservation or heads of organizations whose missions include conservation education. The primary goal of the Directors' Retreats is enhancement of conservation education through exploration of issues that reflect and support developments within the broader fields of education and conservation.

In attendance at the October 2002 retreat were directors of academic programs and professional organizations providing conservation education. Throughout the three-day event, participants explored in-depth issues related to midcareer educational needs. The retreat resulted in an abundance of ideas, resources, and strategies, providing new insights and direction for AIC's Professional Development Program. A final report is available on the Getty Web site at and through the AIC Web site.

Members of the international conservation community who are engaged in educational activities are invited to submit proposals for working with the GCI on an upcoming retreat. Further information on the Directors' Retreats program, including how to apply, can be found on the Getty Web site at