2014 Keynotes & Distinguished Speakers

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. H

On the broader horizon, Dr. Dajani has developed a community-based model and philosophy “We love reading (WLR)” to encourage children to read for pleasure which received the Synergos award for Arab world social innovators 2009, a membership to the Clinton Global Initiative 2010, and a place in the book “Innovation in education”, funded by Qatar foundation 2012. WLR has spread throughout Jordan, the Arab world and internationally reaching Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, Uganda and Azerbaijan. Most recently she was selected as one of CEO Middle East magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2014. She was ranked number 13 in the list. She was also selected as one of the 100 most powerful Arabs in the World in the category “geniuses” by Arabian Business magazine 2014. Dr. Dajani in the media: Huffington post, USA Today, Washington post, Al Jazeera, VOA, Chronicles of higher education, the Guardian, The Economist and Reuters.

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.

Daniel Edelson
Vice President for Education

Daniel Edelson is an accomplished curriculum designer, software developer and educational researcher who dedicated his career to improving young people’s understanding of the world they live in. As vice president for education at the National Geographic Society, he oversees the Society’s outreach to educators and its efforts to improve education about our world in the United States and abroad. This work includes the creation of educational materials for learners of all ages, the delivery of professional development for educators, the implementation of public awareness programs, advocacy for improving geographic education and grant-making to support geographic literacy initiatives throughout the United States and Canada. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University and his B.S. in engineering sciences from Yale University.

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.

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.

Thomas Röhlinger
Founder & Editor in Chief

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.

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

Jennifer Vollmann
Executive Director

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.

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