Panel Discussion: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in International Education: Application, Impact and Ethical Considerations

What is artificial intelligence (AI), and how can or should it be used for the betterment of international education? Institutions across the globe are increasingly adopting AI to assist with student acquisition, operational efficiency, learning and engagement, and student support. It has the potential to widen access and participation, personalize the educational experience for learners, and improve decision-making while relieving some of the pressures of time-intensive administrative work.

In recent years, we have also seen governments take significant strides in deploying AI as part of immigration processes, whereby through machine learning and the development of algorithms, inputs are gleaned for legal research, prediction and trend analysis. AI has the potential to improve efficiency in addressing backlogs related to study permit applications; however, the use of technology can also create new vulnerabilities for international learners.

How can we, as a sector, harness the power of AI and ensure that it is being developed and deployed through a thoughtful and responsible lens? As we work to improve our policies and systems – making them more equitable, inclusive, and reflective of all people – the same considerations must be made with regard to our technology. How do we balance the future potential of AI to improve efficiency and efficacy with the reality of safeguarding privacy and vulnerability and ensuring it is fair and equitable in practice?

This plenary panel will explore key dimensions of the developing landscape of AI as it relates to international education, with a focus on its promise and possibilities, the risks and possible harm, and the frameworks and mechanisms needed to guide its ethical application.


Will Tao (Moderator)

Immigration and Refugee Lawyer
Arenous Foundation and Heron Law Office


Will provides legal services in all areas of Canadian immigration and refugee law with a focus on complex applications, overcoming refusals, inadmissibility matters, appeals, and judicial reviews. Will regularly appeals before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court of Canada. His focus is on international students, families, and temporary foreign workers. Earlier this year he appeared before the CIMM Parliamentary Committee as an expert witness on their study of the refusal of Francophone study permit applicants and the student permit system, where he commented on the use of automation technology and AI.

Will also provides strategic advice and consultation to government, media, educational institutions, and businesses on immigration/refugee, decolonization, and race equity-related issues. He is the founder and creator of the award-winning Vancouver Immigration Blog (, where he hopes to make immigration and refugee law more accessible to the general public. He is now Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Immigration Section. He is a second-generation Canadian, a product of immigrants, and finds his personal motivation in the sacrifices of his parents and the resilience of Indigenous ancestors to this land.

Will is currently building out the non-profit organization Arenous Foundation, which was co-founded with his Heron Law colleague Edris Arib, to fill the gap of advocacy, research, and education around issues of immigration and race equity.

Pat Chaisang

Co-founder & CEO


Having moved from Thailand, Pat realized how difficult it is for international students to build a successful career and professional network in a new country from the ground up. Her lived experience of being an international student herself, combined with her passion for building community inspired her to found Isempower with a sole purpose to help international students stop settling for less. As a Founder & CEO of Isempower, she is on a mission to help international students build meaningful careers in a new country through integrating the ecosystem closer together using technology. Isempower platform integrates higher education institutions and employers across the nation to help international students learn, connect, and get hired.

Professionally, Pat has experience in product management, digital marketing, eCommerce, and program management, working with top technology brands and retailers. Previously, she was a Product Manager at TELUS, managing digital products, focusing on personalization strategy and advocating for best-in-class customer experience. Prior to TELUS, she was at Best Buy Canada, overseeing business operations of the advertising & eCommerce programs. Her early career was spent in digital marketing at SAP where she was building a community of developers & evangelists around the world.

Gideon Christian PhD

Assistant Professor (AI and Law)
Faculty of Law
University of Calgary


Dr. Christian is an Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary. Prior to joining the University of Calgary, he was counsel with the National Litigation Sector at the federal Department of Justice where he conducted electronic discovery in high profile litigation involving the Government of Canada. His research interests are in artificial intelligence (AI) and law, legal impacts of new and emerging technologies among other areas. In 2019, he was featured as an AI subject matter expert in the Udocs original documentary film “The A.I. Taxman”.

Dr. Christian is also the founder and president of African Scholars Initiative (ASI-Canada), a registered Canadian charity that seeks to attract and mentor graduate students of African descent who intend to pursue graduate studies in Canada. Dr. Christian has appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) as an expert on the use of AI in immigration decisions. He has also appeared before the Committee on other occasions to advocate for fair study permit immigration policies for international students from Africa.

Hersh Perlis

Co-founder and Director
Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ)
Toronto Metropolitan University


Since co-founding the LIZ, Hersh has helped grow it into a leader in the legal innovation space and has worked with law firms, corporations, and governments, nationally and internationally, to help identify and better prepare them to take advantage of the opportunities technology and other innovations present in today’s ever-changing world. He has spoken extensively on the impact technology will have on the future of legal services and on the skills necessary to take advantage of the new emerging markets being opened by tech and innovation. Hersh is considered a valued mentor and advisor to dozens of legal tech startups and continues to connect with companies from around the world.

Hersh has previously served as Chief of Staff of Deloitte’s Artificial Intelligence practice and spent 5 years at Queens Park as a Senior Advisor to several ministers and before that spent a decade fundraising in the not-for-profit world.