2014 Keynotes & Distinguished Speakers

Simon Breakspear
Director, Nextgen Learning Pty Ltd

Simon has worked with and spoken to leaders across Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Europe, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and India. As a passionate educator and learning strategist, Simon works on systemic challenges in education reform and redesign. He also advises EdTech start-ups around the globe that are seeking to develop disruptive education models to improve the quality and equity of student learning.

Simon holds a first class honours degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Teaching, a MSc. in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford, and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge. He was a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Oxford.

Mayus Chavez
CEO, Jules Verne School Mexico

Developer of transmedia learning methods through 21st digital resources in schools. Contributor to develop resources to asses and promote congitive and non cognitive skills in K-7 through the use of digital technology and storytelling that integrates a worldwide standarized curriculum through infinite ways of learning approaches that digital technology provide. Principal of Jules Verne School Mexico where the method is applied.

Common Core Global Standards
Develop a world wide community of educators and educational net motivating students to produce content that they can share and transform with other students far from school walls. Develop and desing new media methods of learning and collaborative learning through digital media and communications, based on my neuroscience studies and experience. Share and assist low income schools and organizations to engage with school as a mean of social contribution. Provide a method that makes teachers possible to integrate technology in their classrooms in a practical way, enhancing their teaching possibilities going from traditional teaching to viral learning. Make it possible for teachers and supervisors to use technology for educational leadership, supervisión and engagement.

Lillian Chu Hsiung
Global Issues Club Leader, Dwight School

I was part of the Global Issues Network Team that presented at the GIN Conference in Luxembourg March 2014. Lead a GIN CLub at Dwight and we are actively involved in spreading awareness and taking action on global issues. This year we are also invited to be on the Organizing Committee for Global Technology Conference. We are also excited about presenting at the GIN Conference in March 2015 held in Milan. Dwight has been part of the GIN Conference for the past six years and each year we have addressed a different issue with an action. Along with my team members Daniil Frants and Ilan Pesselev, we are excited to be part of the Global Education Conference.

Vicky Colbert
Executive Director, Fundación Escuela Nueva Volvamos a la Gente

Vicky Colbert is founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva and co-author of the Escuela Nueva educational model, worldwide known for its proven effectiveness in improving the quality of education. She has developed, expanded and sustained this innovation from different organizational spheres: as the first Escuela Nueva National Coordinator, Director of Distance Education in Javeriana University, ViceMinister of Education of Colombia, UNICEF’s Regional Education Adviser for the LAC region and now, from Fundación Escuela Nueva, a nonprofit she founded in 1987 to ensure the quality and sustainability of the Escuela Nueva model in Colombia and abroad, and to further adapt its proven, cutting-edge pedagogy to new contexts and populations. Under her leadership, FEN has adapted the Escuela Nueva model to urban settings (1987) and for migrant, displaced populations in emergency situations (2001) and recently was ranked 42nd by The Global Journal among the Top 100 Best NGOs worldwide. She has been recognized as an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by Schwab Foundation and by Ashoka. She received the World Technology Award in Social Entrepreneurship (2005), the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2006), the first version of the Clinton Global Citizenship Award (2007). In 2009 she was awarded with the Qatar Foundation´s WISE Award for her efforts in education for pluralism and in 2011 received the Kravis Prize in Leadership. She was honored as the 2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate from the Qatar Foundation. She completed her undergraduate Sociology degree in Javeriana University in Colombia and earned two M.A.´s in Sociology of Education and Comparative International Education from Stanford University in the United States.

Rana Dajani
Founder and Director of Taghyeer

Rana Dajani Ph.D. in molecular cell biology, University of Iowa, USA; a Fulbright alumnus twice, an Associate Professor and former Director of the center of studies at the Hashemite University, Jordan, former Yale visiting professor at the Yale stem cell center. Her research focuses on genome-wide association studies concerning diabetes and cancer in ethnic populations in Jordan. Her focus on diabetes is because the rise in type II diabetes in Jordan has surpassed other developing countries and is one of the health priorities. She has written in Science and Nature about Science and women in the Arab world. She is on the UN women Jordan advisory council. She has established a network for women mentors and mentees in the Arab world. She has been named one of the 20 most influential women scientists in the Islamic world 2014 by the UK based MuslimScience magazine. She is a strong advocate for the theory of biological evolution and of its compatibility with Islam. In terms of education, she has been appointed a Higher Education Reform Expert by the EU-TEMPUS office, Jordan and an Education expert consultant to the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia, founder of the first center in the Middle East for service learning at the Hashemite University, advocate of teaching using problem based learning, novel reading, drama, social media and recycled art, speaker at TEDxDeadsea and at the World Islamic Economic Forum 2012. Dr. Dajani has coached and inspired thousands of students to go beyond themselves to reach their maximum potential by encouraging the students to have confidence in themselves and to always be curious and never to take no for an answer.

We Love Reading
Reading is essential to development of children’s personality, imagination, and cognitive skills. Arabia News estimated # of pages read for pleasure in the Middle East 0.5/year, while for the USA it’s 11 books/year, negatively impacting education systems and economic outputs of the region. Children must learn to love and enjoy reading to reap its benefits. Many programs attempted to increase reading levels by providing books have failed. Research has shown that reading aloud is key in fostering the love of reading. In the West, this task is fulfilled by parents, teachers or librarians. Although these individuals are present in developing countries, the culture hasn’t embedded a sense of enthusiasm for reading aloud, and many are illiterate or lack reading skills and habits.

Therefore, I have developed an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves women and the community to increase reading levels among children 4-10 by focusing on the readaloud experience to plant the love of reading. The We Love Reading (WLR) program constitutes training local women to hold readaloud sessions in public spaces in their neighbourhoods where books are routinely read aloud to children. This is our “library”. WLR chooses books that are age-appropriate, attractive, neutral in content, in the native language of the child. In addition to promoting the experience of reading, WLR empowers women readers to become leaders in their communities, builds ownership in the children and community members and serves as a platform for raising awareness on issues such as health and environment.

Gavin Dykes
Director, EFF

Gavin Dykes is an independent education and technology advisor who works with governments, agencies, major corporations and institutions across the world on policy and strategy. He is currently working on projects and events in Azerbaijan, Qatar, South Korea, the UK and the USA. Before this role, Gavin was seconded to the UK government to support development of technology and learning in schools in England, and also worked on innovative projects in further and higher education. His current and past roles include Associate Director of Futurelab and Associate Director of the Innovation Unit. Gavin's key interest is in development of learning supported by technology to allow learners of all ages to enjoy education and realize their potential. Development of strategies and policies that support that interest and aim, enable system-wide change and prepare people for the future challenges we all will face, all follow swiftly behind.

John D. Farrelly
Superintendent, Edgecombe County Public Schools

John Farrelly is the Superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools. He began his tenure in Tarboro in 2012 after successfully serving as Superintendent of Washington County Schools where he led significant instructional program reform changes. Under Farrelly’s leadership, ECPS has opened the first K-8 Global School in the history of the school system this fall. Martin Millennium Academy features a dual language immersion program and a focus on global learning competencies in all classrooms as International and traditional American teachers collaborate. In addition, Edgecombe is now a Global District as their professional development plan focus in all schools is centered on providing every child with a Global education. Farrelly is a 20 year educator who originally hails from upstate New York. He has taught and supervised all K-12 instructional areas. In addition, he has taught at both the community college and university levels. He is currently working towards a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at East Carolina University.

Emily Havens


We will explore our process, rooted in design thinking methodologies, and provide insight into how educators can use our platform to create global connections on big social issues. We will also give a brief overview on how to dive into our current challenges, as well as sharing some case studies and impact stories.

Julie Keane
Senior Researcher, VIF International Education

Dr. Julie Keane is a Senior Researcher at VIF International Education. She leads professional development curriculum design and research and evaluation of all VIF programs. Dr. Keane has 20 years of qualitative research and development experience including 6 years as researcher for UNC-Chapel Hill’s National Research Center for Rural Education Support and 11 years as Associate Project Director at the Center for Children and Technology, EDC, Inc.. She has conducted research and evaluation examining science, technology, engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum initiatives, including analysis of Urban Systemic Reform Initiatives, international, federal, and state education policy, professional development and teacher education programs. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Masters in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Kern Kelley

Starting his career as an elementary teacher at the Parawai School in New Zealand, Kern is presently the Educational Technologist at Regional School Unit #19 in central Maine. He has provided support to educators for over a decade and has conducted professional development around the world. He has always loved working with students with a special focus on having them teach others. He advises student presenters in a weekly live tech support show broadcast on www.techsherpas.org. ACTEM’s 2013 Educator of the Year, he has brought his student presenters to numerous conferences such as Maine's ACTEM conference, Alan November's Building Learning Communities and the Google Teacher Academy.

Students as Tech Support
Few schools have the amount of technical support that they need and one of the most overlooked resources schools have is their students! If you have staff who are reluctant with technology, students can be great liaisons to change while empowering the student at the same time. The student learns by teaching and the teacher learns by listening. In this session, we will cover a variety of examples of how this is accomplished.

Jennifer D. Klein
Global Educational Consultant

Jennifer D. Klein holds a BA from Bard College and an MA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, both in Literature and Creative Writing. A product of experiential project-based education herself, she taught college and high school English for 19 years, including five years in Central America and 11 years in all-girls education. She holds a principal's license and has a broad background in global program planning and evaluation, student-driven curricular strategies, single-sex education, student service travel, and experiential, inquiry-driven learning. In 2010, Jennifer left teaching to begin PRINCIPLED Learning Strategies, a consulting business dedicated to enriching global educational approaches in schools through curriculum development, professional development, and the use of e-technologies.

Jennifer is Professional Development Director for World Leadership School, coaching teachers in global integration, supporting the development of collaborative online curriculum, and facilitating projects between American classrooms and schools outside the U.S. She is also Professional Development and Outreach Coordinator for TakingITGlobal, an international online learning community for educators and students interested in global issues, where she designs and delivers accredited online e-courses for teachers across the world. Further, Jennifer is the Director of Educational Development for the Research Journalism Initiative, an educational non-profit that facilitates creative expression among Palestinian young people and the use of their media projects in American classrooms. Finally, Jennifer is a National Faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education, giving workshops on Project-Based Learning and Global PBL.

Meeting in the Middle: Avoiding the Exploitative Pitfalls of Global Learning
As global education increases in popularity and importance in schools across the world, it becomes increasingly urgent that educators make intentional and thoughtful choices in order to avoid paradigms of exploitation and self interest which do more to hurt global relationships than help. What does it mean to develop an international experience for students that avoids the imperialistic “saving the world” mentality which so often dominates service learning experiences? How can we be more conscientious about the educational needs and curricular demands on both sides of our global partnerships, so that we can develop mutually beneficial experiences for our students? And, above all, how do we ensure that students see themselves as partners in global change who know their voices matter but don’t see themselves as the solution? This session will explore the dangers and pitfalls of exploitative global learning paradigms, and will offer specific strategies for building truly collaborative learning partnerships and service travel experiences.

Maureen McLaughlin
Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Director of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Education

Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Director of International Affairs U.S. Department of Education, Maureen McLaughlin leads the U.S. Department of Education's international activities, including the development of the Department’s first international strategy, bringing three decades of experience working on education policy and management issues in the United States and internationally. In 2002-2010, Maureen worked at the World Bank as Lead Education Specialist and Education Sector Manager on education issues in the Europe and Central Asia region. Prior to joining the World Bank, Maureen was a Ian Axford Public Fellow in New Zealand. Between 1988 and 2002, Maureen held several senior positions at the U.S. Department of Education including Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the beginning of two new administrations (1993 and 2001) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation after 1993. Maureen joined the U.S. Senior Executive Service in 1990 and was awarded the highest awards for government service, the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award (1998) and Meritorious Presidential Rank Award (1996). From 1979-1988, Maureen was an analyst at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Maureen holds a Master of Public Policy from University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College, majoring in Economics and graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

John Mergendoller
Executive Director, Buck Institute for Education

John is the Executive Director of the Buck Institute for Education. He channels Yoda in providing strategic leadership and fiscal management. Joining BIE in 1989 as Research Director, he was responsible for conducting research on the impact of BIE’s Project Based Economics Units. His publications span educational technology, science education, middle grades reform, and (naturally) Project Based Learning. Before joining BIE, he was a Senior Program Director at the Far West Laboratory (now WestEd), a federally-funded regional educational laboratory. At Far West, he also established and managed the At-Risk Student Program and the Secondary School Improvement Program.

From Packets to Gold Standard Project Based Learning
It's hardly news to point out that schools are not meeting the learning needs of many students. Gold Standard Project Based Learning changes that and creates opportunities for students to think, produce and engage in their own learning. This session will present for discussion and critique a framework for Gold Standard PBL derived from research and classroom best practices. Session participants will be expected to comment on the framework, and discuss whether it is a useful way to frame what needs to be present to make PBL maximally effective.

Tonya Muro
Director of School Outreach and Educational Partnerships

As AFS-USA’s Director of School Outreach and Educational Partnerships, Dr. Tonya Muro works to establish AFS-USA - an intercultural learning organization - as a thought leader in international education, global competency and 21st century educational skills. Tonya cultivates partnerships with like-minded organizations and develops relevant, intercultural learning resources for secondary school educators and their classrooms. Prior to joining AFS-USA, Tonya was the Program Director at Global Nomads Group, an NGO that fosters dialogue and understanding amongst the world’s youth. Tonya holds an Ed.D. and M.A. in international educational development from Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she was a U.S. Fulbright scholar in Tanzania. She received her B.A. in primary education and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). However, her most important achievement is being a mother of twin daughters, to whom her efforts to advance global citizenship are dedicated.

Omashani Naidoo
SchoolNet South Africa

Ms. Omashani Naidoo was born in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, matriculated at Stanmore Secondary School and then studied to become a Mathematics and Computer Studies teacher at Springfield College of Education. She now holds an Honours Degree in Education, Training and Development from the University of Johannesburg. Whilst her teaching career only lasted a few years, her passion for education has remained steadfast. She joined the subject matter experts’ team at Mindset network, developed their Information Technology materials for print, video and computer based multimedia and presented Mathematics lessons on the Mindset Learn channel. In 2007, she started working at SchoolNet South Africa, and has grown into the role of Operations Manager whose responsibilities include coordination and conceptualisation of national training projects, managing stakeholder relationships with Provincial and National Departments of Education officials, administering budgets as well as monitoring and evaluating training and consultant trainers across the country.

Alaine Newland
Communications Lead, OpenIDEO


We will explore our process, rooted in design thinking methodologies, and provide insight into how educators can use our platform to create global connections on big social issues. We will also give a brief overview on how to dive into our current challenges, as well as sharing some case studies and impact stories.

Toni Olivieri-Barton
IB Coordinator & Teacher Librarian, Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School

Toni Olivieri-Barton has been teaching 21st Century Skills to adults and children for over 18 years. She has worked in the education field for the last 7 years. She currently is a librarian/media specialist and IB Coordinator at Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School in Colorado Springs. She facilitated all 2nd through 5th graders to have an opportunity to flatten their learning by connecting with students from around the world. Previously, she worked in Shanghai, China as technology coordinator at Shanghai Community International School at the lower school. She has also taught high school students and during the past 10 years has assisted three school districts with staff development. In 2011 she won an ISTE Award in On-Line Learning. Toni holds a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Mathematics from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana. As a Flat Classroom Certified Teacher, Toni has brought global collaboration projects to her new school. She has also maintains a blog about 21st Century Skills. She will continue to bring her global collaboration experience to wherever her future takes her. In her spare time, Toni likes to hike, read, quilt and practice yoga.

Our Global Friendships
A group of educators from around the world will talk about how they began their relationship. Monthly skype calls, global projects, connecting other educators, and learning about new tools are all a part of our global friendships. Learn how we work it out. Learn how to start a group of your own.

Lisa Parisi
Teacher, Herricks UFSD

Award winning Elementary teacher, author, Google Certified Teacher, DEN LC, Smart Exemplary Educator, Glogster, Fablevision, and Voki ambassador, Blogger

Our Global Friendships
A group of educators from around the world will talk about how they began their relationship. Monthly skype calls, global projects, connecting other educators, and learning about new tools are all a part of our global friendships. Learn how we work it out. Learn how to start a group of your own.

Leslie Paynter
Elementary Principal, Voyager Academy Elem.

Leslie is the Elementary Principal at Voyager Academy, a K – 12 charter school, in Durham, NC. Eight years ago, she was a founding board member of Voyager Academy and helped build the school into one of the leading charter schools in NC with a Project Based Learning focus. She received a BA in elementary education (K-6) and a M.Ed. in special education (K-12) from UNC-Charlotte and an Education Administration and Supervision add-on license from North Carolina Central University. In her 24 years as an educator, she has been a regular classroom teacher, a special education teacher, an EC facilitator, a founding board member of a charter school, and an administrator. Leslie is passionate about providing a curriculum that will create nurturing, respectful classrooms full of learning, where children care about the world around them, embrace and value diversity, and inspire curiosity beyond the school day. She is proud that Voyager Academy Elementary was the first Ashoka Changemaker School in the southeast.

Changemakers School Network

Rohit K. Pothukuchi
Founder, Verdentum

Rohit is the Founder of Verdentum, a non-profit social network aimed at connecting students around the world with policy makers to discuss and work towards solving serious global issues. Rohit has been a speaker at the UNESCO World Summit on the Information Society. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law and is an Affiliate Student Research Fellow, Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession. He works with a global law firm in NYC.

Rohit will speak about building Verdentum--a non-profit social network he established and its current progress. He will also speak about the potential of of using social networks to improve education and connect students globally with policy makers to address serious global issues, such as climate change and human rights, in ways that were not possible before.

Thomas Röhlinger
Founder & Editor in Chief, Radijojo World Childrens Radio & Media Network

Founder & Editor of Radijojo World Children's Media Network that is connecting children in 100+ countries via non-commercial, educative, participative media; awarded by UNICEF, UNESCO, EU, German Federal Government, World Summit Youth Award et.al. Winner of Communication for Sustainable Social Change Award of University of Massachusetts Amherst. Global Expert of UN Alliance of Civilizations. Member of World Association of Community Radios (AMARC), Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) and other advocacy networks for civil society media and children's rights. Trainer, lecturer, consultant for non-profit organisations, schools, unis working for and with children and youth. Holds MBA in Media Management, German diploma university degree in sociology and the diploma of Berlin Journalism school.

Donna Román
EdTech Instructional Specialist, Chicago Public Schools

Long time educator and professional learning enthusiast committed to making learning relevant at all levels. Focused on individualized professional learning, developing leadership, fostering collaborative environments, educational technology, and global collaboration.

Our Global Friendships
A group of educators from around the world will talk about how they began their relationship. Monthly skype calls, global projects, connecting other educators, and learning about new tools are all a part of our global friendships. Learn how we work it out. Learn how to start a group of your own.

Emily Roth
ES Technology Integration Specialist, International School of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

Google Education Trainer, COETAIL graduate, Apple Foundations Trainer, CommonSense Digital Citizenship Certified Educator, International Educator. While these terms all describe Emily Roth, her most favorite (and tiring!) job is being a mom to three little girls. Emily originates from St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the last 12 years teaching abroad in places like Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Guatemala, and Trinidad. Emily is passionate about using technology purposefully to deepen student learning. One way she enjoys taking technology to a transformative level is through collaborative global projects.

Our Global Friendships
A group of educators from around the world will talk about how they began their relationship. Monthly skype calls, global projects, connecting other educators, and learning about new tools are all a part of our global friendships. Learn how we work it out. Learn how to start a group of your own.

George Saltsman
Professor, Lamar University

Dr. George Saltsman is an Associate Research Professor in the Center for Doctoral Studies in Global Educational Leadership at Lamar University. George is an Apple Distinguished Educator, mobile learning policy advisor to UNESCO, and winner of multiple awards, including Campus Technology Innovator of the Year, Blackboard Catalyst award, and the New Media Consortium’s Center of Excellence award. As a higher education consultant to numerous technology corporations and over 50 educational institutions, George routinely works to advance the effectiveness of technology in education.

Dr. Saltsman has overseen 42 empirical investigations into digital learning and educational leadership, working with partners that include Cambridge University Press and Bell Labs. As a author, George co-wrote An Administrators Guide to Online Education and multiple other works focused on the integration of technology in education. With more than 250 presentations in 13 countries, Dr. Saltsman is established as one of the leading speakers on the integration of technology in education.

Preparing Leaders for Global Education
Globalization has led to profound changes in the way people interact throughout the world, as well as in Education. The need to develop and equip education leaders has never been greater. By bringing together USNECO delegates from 36 countries, a multilingual study established, by consensus, the most essential competencies for developing the next generation leaders in global education. This presentation provides not just what competencies are important, but what we as educators can to best maximize the opportunity of a truly global classroom.

Kathleen Schwille
Vice President, Curriculum, Education and Children’s Media, and Executive Director, National Geographic Education Foundation

Kathleen Schwille, Vice President, Curriculum, Education and Children’s Media, and Executive Director, National Geographic Education Foundation, leads National Geographic’s efforts in the formal education arena, including online and in-person teacher communities, stewardship of the grant-making work of the National Geographic Education Foundation and oversight of National Geographic’s relationship with its formal education partner, Cengage Learning. She also oversees the Society’s work of aligning all of its products and experiences to a learning framework that teaches the attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary for active citizenship in our rapidly changing global society.

Before coming to the National Geographic Society, Kathleen researched professional development programs for science teachers to increase student learning and change teachers’ classroom behavior. Kathleen has also developed extensive curricular materials for teachers and students of all ages, including a full year high school environmental science program. Kathleen is a certified science teacher, and taught high school chemistry in rural Tanzania with the Peace Corps. Kathleen has a bachelors degree in Chemistry Education and a masters degree in Learning Sciences, both from Northwestern University.

Amy Shaffer
Creative Director, Kidnected World

How do we work across disciplines and industries to co-create a better world? This question has driven my career. After a decade working with some of the world's largest brands and technology start-ups, I recognized how important (and how underused) the co-creative experience was in every aspect of our society, from marketing to social good to education. With that conviction, I joined the non-profit organization Kidnected World and conceptualized the Wonderment, an app and digital ecosystem which invites kids across the globe to connect through creative collaboration—and use their participation as a currency backed by brands/donors to support social good projects they care about.

I believe in kids' ability and desire to change their world and I believe in the guides and helpers (librarians and teachers) who hold the space for them to do it.

The Library: Global Clubhouse for Creative Good
The library is a hub in schools and communities all over the world— and it's evolving to support kids' curiosity and exploration in amazing new ways. Join us to explore the unique opportunities and role libraries have in supporting a future of creative good, where impactful creative experiences connect kids to each other across the globe to make a better world; and how we can help kids become change agents through the power of their imaginations. We'll also discuss how this process can create a powerful new sense of global belonging, why our non-profit organization is building free tools to help support it and how you can get started.

Homa Tavangar
Author & Consultant

Homa Sabet Tavangar is the author of Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World (Random House, 2009), co-author of just-released The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners (Sage/Corwin, 2014), and contributor to Mastering Global Literacy, by Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, ed. (Solution Tree, Nov. 2013). Growing Up Global has been hailed by national education and business leaders and media ranging from Dr. Jane Goodall to the BBC, NPR, NBC, ABC, Washington Post.com, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, Boston Globe, PBS, Scholastic, Parents Magazine, Rodale, and many more.

Her work is sparking initiatives to help audiences from CEOs to Kindergartners learn and thrive in a global context – and have fun along the way. She serves as Consultant to NBC Sprout TV on original programming, as Education Advisor to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting; has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, a contributor to the Huffington Post, PBS, Momsrising, GOOD, Ashoka’s Start Empathy initiative and Edutopia, among other media, and is a sought-after speaker and trainer around global citizenship, parenting, globalizing curriculum, empathy, diversity and inclusion.

Homa spent 20 years working in global competitiveness, organizational, business and international development with hundreds of businesses, non-profit agencies, governments and international organizations, before turning her attention to global education. She has lived on three continents, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She speaks four languages and her religious heritage includes four of the world’s major faiths. Passionate around issues of opportunity and equality for women and girls, she has worked on these issues for private companies and the World Bank, and served on various non-profit Boards, including, currently on the Board and Executive Committee of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national leader protecting immigrant women and girls fleeing violence. She is married and the mother of three daughters, ages 20, 18, 10.

Beyond Food, Fun, Festivals: Global Education Tools for Meaningful Learning & Connection

Robyn Thiessen
Educator, Surrey School District #36

I have been an educator in Surrey, B.C., Canada for the past 25 years. I am a passionate educator who actively engages students in authentic, inquiry driven learning opportunities. In recent years I have flattened the walls of my classroom and participated in many global learning initiatives with my students. We have used technology to interact with other students, educators and scientists on a variety of projects. My students and I recently partnered with Project Purus to provide water filters to the students andtheir families of SAV School in Nepal.

Our Global Friendships
A group of educators from around the world will talk about how they began their relationship. Monthly skype calls, global projects, connecting other educators, and learning about new tools are all a part of our global friendships. Learn how we work it out. Learn how to start a group of your own.

Christie Vilsack
Senior Advisor for International Education, USAID

Christie Vilsack joined the U.S. Agency for International Development as the Senior Advisor for International Education in March 2013. Christie supports USAID’s Education Strategy goals to improve children’s reading skills, strengthen workforce development, and provide equitable access to education in crisis and conflict settings. In her current role at USAID, Christie works with education sector partners and education leaders worldwide to build understanding of and support for international education solutions. She travels the world visiting and learning about USAID programs so she can tell the story of USAID Education to anyone she meets from Main Street to the halls of Congress.

Christie has committed her life to education and public service. For 25 years, she taught secondary and college English and journalism. Her experience inside the classroom led to a focus on education as Iowa’s First Lady, as a candidate for Congress and now as the spokesperson for USAID Education. Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Christie is a graduate of Kirkland College in Clinton, New York. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from The University of Iowa. She and husband Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have two married sons and two grandchildren. They have enjoyed a lifetime of public service together.

Jennifer Vollmann
Executive Director, New Global Citizens

Jennifer Vollmann is the Executive Director for New Global Citizens. New Global Citizens activates and prepares youth in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools across the country to become engaged global citizens. New Global Citizens’ afterschool programs, classroom curriculum, and professional development develop students’ skills in global competence, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and digital literacy. As Executive Director, Jennifer is responsible for overseeing the New Global Citizens program, international partnerships, and expanding the New Global Citizens program across the country.

Before joining New Global Citizens, Jennifer started and managed an education focused NGO Kenya – The Mvlue Foundation. She has traveled and volunteered extensively through Africa, Central America, South and Southeast Asia. Jennifer graduated from Santa Clara University with a double degree in Political Science and Religious Studies.

Rebecca Winthrop
Senior Fellow and Director at the Center for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution

Rebecca Winthrop, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, is an international expert on global education, particularly in contexts of armed conflict. Her work focuses on education quality and equity, humanitarian assistance, children’s well-being, forced migration and state fragility. Dr. Winthrop works to promote equitable learning issues for young people in developing countries. She advises governments, international institutions, foundations, and corporations on education and development issues, and provides guidance to a number of important education policy actors. Prior to joining Brookings in June 2009, Dr. Winthrop spent 15 years working in the field of education for displaced and migrant communities, most recently as the head of education for the International Rescue Committee. There she was responsible for the organizations’ education work in over 20 conflict-affected countries. She has been actively involved in developing global policy for the education in emergencies field, especially around the development of global minimum standards for education in emergencies, the United Nations humanitarian reform process for education, and the evidence base for understanding education’s role in fomenting or mitigating conflict.

She serves on the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Education project Steering Committee and the World Economic Form Global Agenda Council, UN secretary-general’s Technical Advisory Committee for his global education initiative, Secretariat for the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) co-convened with UNESCO, advisor for the Council for Development of Analysis for Development policies of France (CAPD),on the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Working Group on Education and Fragility, the MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Learning Advisory Committee, the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Education Cluster Advisory Committee, Track Advisor for the Education & Workforce Development Track at the Clinton Global Initiative and the 10x10 Girls Education Advisory Committee. She has field experience in a wide variety of contexts, including Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Croatia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda.

Jim Wynn
CEO, Imagine Education and EFF

Originally a maths teacher and then Principal of two secondary schools in the UK moved into education consultancy in the corporate world with Microsoft, Cisco and Promethean. Now CEO of Imagine Education through which runs Education Fast Forward a global movement that seeks to accelerate the pace of education change.

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