Learn more about our speakers of the 2020 AFS Global Conference
2020 Speakers and Presenters
Mohamed Abdel-Kader is Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute. He previously served at the US Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education as responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the cultures of other countries. He led his division’s work in administering grants for overseas studies and research programs. Before joining the US Department of Education, Mohamed served at Georgetown University and managed the university’s advancement strategy in the Middle East, he developed international partnerships and led donor development efforts.
Her Excellency Jameela Al Muhairi was appointed as Minister of State for Public Education in February 2016. Jameela has more than 20 years’ experience in education and has worked in key roles ranging from administrative to leadership positions. Before becoming minister of state, Jameela helped develop a world-class school performance management system for schools in Dubai in her role as Chief of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).From 1995 to 2004, Jameela held key positions at the UAE Ministry of Education and later she served as the Executive Director of Dubai Knowledge Village from 2004 to 2007. She has also been involved in improving private education as the Executive
Martyn Barrett is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Surrey, UK. He obtained his degrees from the Universities of Cambridge and Sussex. His research examines the development of intercultural, democratic and global competence; young people’s political and civic engagement and global citizenship; and the development of young people’s national and ethnic identifications, prejudice, stereotyping and intergroup attitudes. He works as an expert for the Council of Europe and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He led the development of the Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), and contributed to the development of the conceptual framework and assessments of global competence for use in PISA 2018.
Veronica Boix Mansilla is a Principal Investigator and Steering Committee member at Project Zero at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she leads the IdGlobal Project and chairs the Future of Learning Institute. She co-developed the OECD-PISA framework on Global Competence in 2018, which is part of the PISA standardized testing administered to 15-year-olds worldwide. With a background in cognitive science, human development and education, she examines how to prepare our youth for a world of increasing complexity and interdependence. Her research focuses on three main areas: global competence as it develops among learners and teachers in various world regions; quality interdisciplinary research and education among experts, teachers and youth; and quality teaching and learning in disciplines (history, biology, the arts) as lenses through which to understand the world. Veronica serves as an advisor at a variety of institutions including the Asia Society, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Council of Chief State School Officers, the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the International Baccalaureate, World Savvy and Global Kids, among others. She teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has taught the University of Buenos Aires. Veronica holds a doctoral degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education (USA).
Dominic Cardy is Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Mr. Cardy was elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for the constituency of Fredericton West-Hanwell on September 24, 2018 and sworn in as Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development on November 9, 2018. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Dalhousie University. Mr. Cardy worked for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs on the campaign to ban landmines, for the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in increasingly senior managerial roles, living and working in countries across Asia and Africa, and then served as Asia-Pacific Director for the Ottawa-based Forum of Federations. He was leader of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party from 2011-2016 and served as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition from 2017-2018. He is a member of the editorial board of Inroads, a Canadian policy journal and has been a flying instructor since 1994.
Norma Allegra Cerrato Sabillón is currently the Undersecretary for International Cooperation and Promotion of Honduras. She is an outstanding diplomat with more than 23 years of experience in the fields of International Relations, Regional Integration, Human Rights and Education. She graduated as a Lawyer from the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), with Master’s degrees in International Relations from the Central American University (UCA) of Nicaragua and Integration Processes of the Universities of León and Alcalá de Henares in that same country. She has also been a professor at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), of the American University of Nicaragua (UAM) and Coordinator of the Higher Education Level of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH).
Dr. Darla K. Deardorff is the Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) and a research fellow at Duke University in the United States. Author/editor of 8 books and over 50 articles, she has published, presented and consulted widely on international education and cross-cultural issues around the world. Dr. Deardorff has served on faculty of Harvard University’s Global Education Think Tank and Future of Learning Institute, and as faculty at the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication, as well as a visiting professor at numerous universities around the world including in South Africa and China. Founder of ICC Global, she has served as an intercultural expert to UNESCO and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including for the PISA Global Competence test.
Vishakha N. Desai serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of AFS Intercultural Programs. She is Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Senior Research Scholar at its School of International and Public Affairs, where she focuses on innovative approaches to understanding the relationship between culture and foreign policy in Asia. From 1990 through 2012, she served in various capacities at the Asia Society, ranging from being Director of its museum to being the President and CEO of the organization from 2004
Noora Elkenawi is a core team member of the GCED youth network (Global Citizenship Education) which aims to empower youth around the world by fostering their understanding of GCED and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She recently graduated from medical school, during her school years she was a project coordinator for several projects in the areas of education, public and reproductive health. As an internationally certified trainer she has delivered more than 100 hours of training to participants from almost 30 countries on topics like advocacy, innovation in healthcare and project managemen
Nadya Escandon is the Global Education Coordinator and teacher at SEK Guatemala. She is also an Educational Consultant for The Organization of American States and The International Development Bank. She holds a BA in Education from Florida Atlantic University, an International MBA from MCA School of Business and an MA in Project Management from Universidad Isabel I, Spain. She has specialized in Global Citizenship and Intercultural learning throughout the years. Her main goal in education is to globalize her school by reaching out to teachers from around the world and creating intercultural learning opportunities for teachers, students and families.
Mitalene Fletcher is the Director of PreK–12 and International Programs in the Professional Education division at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She co-chairs HGSE’s Think Tank on Global Education, which is designed to advance global competency in K–12 schooling, and she also leads international collaborations such as HGSE’s Middle East Professional Learning Initiative. In her free time, Dr. Fletcher serves on the board of directors for South Africa Partners, an international non-profit organization focused on equitable access to healthcare and education. She earned her B.A.(Hons) and B.Ed. at Queen’s University in Canada and her Ph.D. in International Education and Development at New York University. Dr. Fletcher began her career teaching secondary school in Toronto, Canada.
Monika Froehler is CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and is a passionate change maker, advocate, founder and speaker. She was entrusted to create the Ban Ki-moon Centre after working at the UN, the EU, the Austrian Foreign Ministry and in field missions around the globe. She is passionate about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Throughout her career she managed to support hundreds of women, young people and communities all over the globe e.g. working in Africa and Latin America to ban landmines; working to improve hospital care in rural Central Asia and Africa; assisting in eco-friendly city planning in Asia and bettering the living conditions of women in the Middle East and West-Africa.
Stefania Giannini was appointed UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education in May 2018, becoming the top UN official in the field. In this position, she provides strategic vision and leadership for UNESCO in coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Education 2030 Agenda, encapsulated in Sustainable Development Goal 4. With an academic background in the Humanities, Ms Giannini has served as Rector of the University for Foreigners of Perugia (2004–2012), being one of the first and youngest women to hold this position in Italy. As Senator of the Republic of Italy (2013–2018) and Minister of Education, Universities and Research (2014–2016), she developed and implemented a structural reform of the Italian education system, centered on social inclusion and cultural awareness. She has also been closely involved in an advisory capacity with the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation.
Dr Sarah-Louise Jones is an internationally recognised expert in the field of Digital Technologies for Learning and Teaching. She has worked in the field of online learning communities since the late 1990s, and has extensive experience in the leadership of research projects, consultancy and teaching & learning within local, national and international contexts across Europe, South Africa, Thailand and New Zealand. Her current research centers around the notion of ‘Shifting Pedagogies’ which have enabled her to win external funding for international research projects. Her research investigates the way emerging technologies transform pedagogical practices and educational opportunities in different contexts, locally, nationally and internationally. Her own PhD investigated the notion of pedagogic shift and transformational change in international partnerships.
Sinta Kaniawati is the Secretary General of Indonesia Global Compact Network, which promotes Global Compact and SDGs principles amongst corporations, academics and CSOs. She is also the Chair & Country Director of APAD(Asia Pacific Alliance on Disaster Management) Indonesia as well as Global Partnership Director. Prior to that she was the Sustainability Director and Head of Unilever Indonesia Foundation from 2007-2019. Sinta was an AFS student in Buffalo, New York in 1983 and had been an active volunteer upon her return to the country both at chapter and national board level. Currently, she is the AFS Indonesia / Bina Antarbudaya Board Chair with a mission to promote Young Future Leaders of Indonesia through Intercultural Learning and exchange. Sinta graduated from IPB University in Bogor, Indonesia and also LEAD Fellow.
Lucija Karnelutti has been a Board Member of the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) since 2019. Her areas of activity include global citizenship education, education funding, the environment, migration and the rights of minorities. Prior to this, Lucija was elected President of the Slovenian School Student Organization, where she gained valuable experience representing school students from different backgrounds and their interests, and monitoring youth policy at the national and European level.
Marta Kowalczuk-Waledziak, Ph.D. serves as Vice Dean for International Cooperation for the Faculty of Education of the University of Bialystok, Poland. She is also treasurer for the Administrative Council of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) and visiting scholar at Daugavpils University, Latvia. Marta is an expert in the EU Network on Recognition of outcomes of learning periods abroad in general secondary school. Her research interests include: the policy and practice of teacher education and development; evidence-informed practice in education; as well as the internationalisation of teacher education. She has been driving a number of funded research projects on these topics. Marta has published widely in academic books, conference proceedings and journals, including Educational Research and Teaching Education. Marta has also won several awards for her research and teaching work, including her age category for the prestigious Scholarship for Outstanding Scholars from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland (2016).
Arja Krauchenberg is the President of the LLLP (the Lifelong Learning Platform, a platform of 43 networks active in all fields of education). For years she was actively involved in parents’ representation in the schools attended by her children in different countries. In her home country, Austria, she was engaged in the regional parents’ association and was later elected member of the board of the European Parents’ Association (EPA) where she served as president 2018-19 and is currently engaged as project coordinator. In 2019 she was elected vice-president of the LLLP and became its president in 2020 when she also joined the executive committee of OIDEL (NGO to promote the right to education). Trained as a linguist for romance languages she works as a tourist guide while still pursuing a teacher training course at Vienna University with a special focus on multilingualism, diversity and multiculturalism.
Tommy Lagergren is Deputy Chief Inspector at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. He started as a language teacher at the Swedish upper-secondary school but has for the past 20 years worked in the central school administration. Before starting at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate he worked at the Swedish National Agency for Education as head of the department of school improvement and before that with questions concerning curriculum, standardized testing, evaluation and international comparative studies, like PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS. Tommy is also part of the executive committee of SICI, the Standing International Conference of Inspectorates. SICI has some 40 members from different European countries and organizes with its members workshops, seminars and exchanges.
MelissaLiles is the Executive Director of the AFS Center for Intercultural Learning and Global Competence Education and Chief Global Engagement Officer for AFS Intercultural Programs. Melissa has spent two decades leading efforts to help people and organizations improve how they communicate and connect across differences. As head of global partnerships and thought leadership for AFS Intercultural Programs worldwide, Ms Liles works closely with education authorities, practitioners and academic experts in over 60 countries. Accomplishments include establishing a state-of-the-art global training initiative, The Intercultural Link Learning Program, for 50.000 adult learners worldwide; serving as the first National Director for AFS India; and leading digital marketing campaigns for Global 500 brand clients. Her undergraduate and graduate work is in international relations and communications.
Ashley Lin is a student, entrepreneur, and community builder from Union High School in Vancouver, WA. Ashley is on a mission to reimagine education through edtech and policy, and currently serves as the Founder & CEO of Project Exchange, an international nonprofit that runs online cultural exchange programs for over 250 middle and high school students in 30+ countries. She is working on a book titled “Organize with Intention: How to Cultivate Powerful Digital Communities” which will be published in April 2021 and help young people create online spaces that foster a sense of belonging, build mutual support, and increase capacity to contribute to the common good.
Lucas Martins Carvalho is a student at University of the South and Young Leaders Access Program Mentor at MCW Global. Originally from Brazil, he is also a member of BRASA-Brazilian Student Association. Lucas is engaged to bring people together to talk about politics, social inequalities, and education. Lucas has extensive experience volunteering for several organizations, including The Organization for Cross-Cultural Understanding (OCCU) and AFS Brazil.
Rudy Masís-Siles is the National Project Manager for PISA 2022. He holds degrees from the University of Costa Rica and St. Cloud State University, USA. He works for the Ministry of Public Education and has been part of the national PISA team since Costa Rica first participated in the project in the cycle 2009+. His main concern is to empower the youth to successfully live in an intercultural world facing the challenges of modern society. He is interested in digital technologies for Learning and Teaching without leaving the human interaction aside.
Jon May is the Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation; a campaigner, storyteller, teacher, youth worker, independent diplomat, writer, broadcaster, who has spent his career working with and for young people in the United Kingdom and around the world. He works with senior leaders from business, government, education and civil society to improve the opportunities and aspirations of the next generation. He speaks and writes on leadership, education and responsible business practice, drawing on his experience in the classrooms, youth centres, civic halls and boardrooms of different countries.
Aaron Moniz as the Co-founder of Inspire Citizens, works with schools to link the world’s greatest needs to applied learning and holistic education and move teachers, programs, and schools towards designing impact projects through best practice professional learning and whole school deep implementation approaches. By embedding the tools for global competence, community well-being, and sustainable development into existing curriculum or school programs, Aaron helps any school to become a Global Impact School and strives to help any stakeholders realize that all schools have potential for positive impact in the world. Following 10 years of supporting teachers and students in inclusive education and success strategies for remedial readers and English Language Learners, Aaron brings this frame into his work with administrators, teachers, students, and community members within the three Inspire Citizens’ Impact Frameworks. Aaron’s experience at the innovative Futures Academy at the International School of Beijing also developed his expertise in Project-Based Learning, Inquiry, Design Thinking, and best practice pedagogies for authentic and impactful action.
Tarek Mostafa is a Policy Analyst in the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. Before joining the OECD, Tarek was a Senior Research Associate at University College London. His research spanned education policy, equity and inclusion, the assessment of educational performance and quantitative and survey methods. At the OECD, Tarek carried-out work on teacher job satisfaction and on science teaching strategies using PISA 2015 data and led the development of the PISA 2021 ICT framework and questionnaire Currently, Tarek is the lead analyst working on the 2018 PISA Global Competence report to be published in late 2020.
Daniel Obst is President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs, a nonprofit international education organization that develops global citizens through innovative intercultural programs. Obst oversees and directs strategy for AFS, with operations in 60+ countries, program activity in nearly 100 countries and a global community of 1 million alumni. This creative thinker and collaborator charged with leading a global movement to develop global citizens also serves on the AFS Board of Trustees. Before joining AFS in 2016, Daniel served as Deputy Vice President for International Partnerships at the Institute of International Education (IIE) where he provided strategic leadership for many groundbreaking IIE initiatives. Daniel currently serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.
Monica Ospina is the Director of the Colombian Institute for the Evaluation of Higher Education. Ms. Ospina worked for 13 years as a professor and researcher in the Economics department of EAFIT University (Colombia). She also worked as a Consultant in Education Assessment and Evaluation for the Colombian Ministry of Education, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Development Research Centre, the Medellin Mayor’s Office and for different non-profit organizations. She has been a member of the Icfes Research Advisory Committee before assuming the General Direction of the Institution in March 2020. Her research and academic work are focused on educational policies’ impact evaluation, social development, educational innovation and environmental economics. She holds a Master in Economic Sciences and Environmental Economics from the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia) and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Georgia State University (USA).
Pedro Pires de Miranda is the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Portugal and President of the Board of Directors of Siemens Angola. Responsible for the business development of Siemens Mozambique, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe. Previously was Corporate Vice President of Siemens AG at the Munich Headquarters from 2008 to 2016. Started his career at General Motors Corporation in 1981 as a Production Engineer, and specialized at the automotive components GM Plant in Dayton, Ohio, EUA. Joined Siemens in 1983 holding diverse engineering and manufacturing management positions in Portugal and Germany. Pedro studied Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering at Purdue University and attended Executive Management programs in several institutions, including Harvard Business School, and the Siemens Global Leadership programs in India and Germany.
Luisa Romero is a Colombian social entrepreneur, with a strong commitment to sustainable development and peace building. Her passion is to promote, lead and support initiatives that combine technology, social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism for peace building and the socio-economic development in vulnerable communities affected by armed conflict or social problems. She is an engineer in Electronics and Telecommunications from the University of Cauca in Colombia and holds a Master’s degree in International Tourism Management from the University of Ulster in the United Kingdom. She is the co-founder of Get Up And Go Colombia, a local non-profit organization that promotes sustainable tourism in former war territories through activities and projects that contribute to peace building and the empowerment of the communities most affected by the armed conflict in Colombia.For her work, Luisa has been recognized by different programs, including as the first winner of the AFS Prize for Young Global Citizens.
Winrose Ronois the vice-chairperson of the Technical Committee on Curriculum Reforms at the Institute and is an Assistant Director in the Department of Primary Education. She coordinates the development of curricular and curriculum support materials for Primary Level Education in Kenya. She has participated in the development of an integration Matrix for Global Citizenship Education for Junior and Senior School curriculum. Winrose has a Bachelor’s degree in Education Arts and a Master’s degree in Curriculum Studies both from Moi University, Kenya. Currently she is undertaking a Phd programme in Curriculum studies at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya. Before joining the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, she taught Geography and Religious Education in a high school. Winrose is passionate about Global Citizenship Education.
Roberto Ruffino is the Secretary General of Fondazione Intercultura. His work focuses on the pedagogy of international pupil exchanges . He has encouraged research in this field by cooperating with UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the European Commission. Roberto founded and served as the Chairman of the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), served on the European Board of SIETAR and presided at SIETAR Italy. SIETAR International Congress in Washington awarded him the Senior Interculturalist Award. Roberto is an AFS Alumnus. Roberto holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Turin (Italy) and an honorary doctorate in education science awarded by the University of Padua for being “an entrepreneurial leader in the field of intercultural education, that he has contributed to introduce into Italian schools.”
Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices. He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in education. Before joining the OECD, he was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied Physics in Germany and received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”. He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.
Wong Siew Hoong is the Director-General of Education in the Ministry of Education, Singapore, since 2015. He oversees, with a team of Deputy Director-Generals and divisional directors, all professional issues related to teaching and learning in Singapore schools. These include curriculum planning and development, national examinations, school management and professional development of teachers. Mr Wong studied History at the National University of Singapore and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree. He obtained a Master in Education from Harvard University, USA. Mr Wong taught History and English in a Junior College and a secondary school and was Principal of two secondary schools before his appointment in Ministry of Education Headquarters as Director of Schools, Deputy Director-General of Education (Curriculum) and Director-General of Education.
Ben Sutton leads people and culture for bp’s Innovation & Engineering entity. As a key enabler of business delivery, people and culture aims to create an inclusive culture and collaborative and agile workplace which enables emotionally connected leaders and dynamic teams to work together to help bp achieve its purpose – reimagining energy for people and our planet. Prior to starting his role as senior vice president for people & culture Ben was Head of HR for bp Shipping, he has also held several finance roles at the company. Prior to joining bp, Ben was a management consultant and has also run and owned his own hotel business. Ben lives in the UK and is married to his partner Jim and has one daughter. He holds a combined degree in English Literature, French and History of Art from the University of Leicester, UK.
Veronique Verellen is Senior Vice President for Training & Business Development at Ipsos. Veronique has extensive experience working in a global corporation and studying consumer trends in markets across the globe. Her work provides insights of how today’s generation looks at the corporate world and labor market with an expectation to be treated as global citizens.