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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

© 2014   Created by Lucy Gray.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service