Learn more about the content we put together in our first annual AFS Global Conference, in Budapest.
2018 Speakers and Presenters
Leen Alaerts is lecturer, practitioner and researcher in history, research skills, global citizenship and didactics in the field of secondary school teacher education. She has published on heritage, cultural education, practitioner research and on global citizenship education. She also works at the international office for secondary school teacher education and as a history researcher, she is specialized in labour movements.
Ron Davis Alvarez was named one of the world’s 50 best teachers by the Varkey Foundation, as part of the Global Teacher Prize in 2017. Ron is specialized in training teachers for children and youth orchestras, as well as using music to overcome trauma and foster social integration. He has lectured conferences, master classes and workshops with an emphasis on social change through music, rhythm and harmony all over the world. In 2016, Ron Davis Alvarez created the Dream Orchestra in Sweden with children and teens who had never played an instrument before, refugees from the violence in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Kurdistan, Albania, Angola, Eritrea and Somalia. The objective is to integrate them into Swedish society and the group now has more than 60 members. He has led numerous orchestras with a social integration purpose around the world and continued fostering the renowned Venezuelan musical and social program, known as El Sistema. Ron Davis Alvarez is currently the Artistic Director of El Sistema Sweden.
Allan Askov Christoffersen is the Global Partnerships and Brand Activation director for the travel meta-search site momondo. He is responsible for their global purpose program and for building strategic partnerships that helps achieve business and brand marketing objectives. For Allan the field of purpose marketing is a strong passion point and he believes it is a vital component to succeed in a world where audiences seek meaningful behavior from brands. Together with their strategic partner, CISV, momondo has developed school material for middle school children with the aim to break down barriers and boundaries. The hope is to help create a more tolerant world for the next generations.
Mr. Rajesh Awasthi is Principal of Choithram School, India and has a vast experience of teaching and academic administration spanning 28 years. He is a strong global competence advocate. Under Rajesh’s leadership, Choithram School is the first school in the country with a department of Intercultural Learning, winning it many global awards from the British Council and Teach a Man to Fish, a UK based charity. Rajesh was the guest expert at the Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange (FILE) VI in Italy in 2015 and a speaker at the AFS Asia Pacific International Global Citizenship Education Forum in New Delhi in 2017.
“It is imperative challenging what we are doing in education to rethink and improve societies where intercultural citizenship is the Polar star.”
Dr. Mattia Baiutti is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Udine in Italy, supported by Fondazione Intercultura Onlus. Mattia holds a Ph.D. (Doctor Europaeus) in Humanistic Studies (Educational Sciences) from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” and was a Visiting Researcher at Durham and Newcastle Universities in the UK. He worked as a consultant with the OECD PISA on the Global Competence Assessment. His main interests focus on internationalization of secondary schools, intercultural education and communication, intercultural competence and its assessment, student mobility, intercultural citizenship.
Dr. Mick Vande Berg has held intercultural and international leadership positions at several institutions and organizations, and has been teaching, training, and coaching interculturally for several decades. He has led multiple intercultural research projects and published widely. His current work focuses on helping educators bridge the cultural gap between multicultural and intercultural education. A founding board member of the Forum on Education Abroad, he is a 2012 recipient of the Forum’s Peter A. Wollitzer award.
Monica Bezzegato is a high school teacher and a teacher trainer for the Italian Ministry of Education who has been collaborating with Intercultura (AFS Italy) for several years. She has designed and delivered several courses for teachers on content and language integrated learning (CLIL), class management, English as a foreign language and intercultural competence assessment, both online and in plenary sessions. She is in charge of the European projects and study abroad projects in her school.
“Fostering global awareness and intercultural competence is relevant and crucial to all areas of study and levels of education”
Maureen Blankemeyer, PhD, CFLE is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA. Her research interests include student intercultural competence. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Bowling Green State University, an M.S. in Family Relations and Child Development, and a Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences, both graduate degrees from Oklahoma State University. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and a member of the Ohio Council on Family Relations and the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), including the International, Education and Enrichment, and Family Science sections of NCFR.
Tara Boyce-Hofmann has worked for AFS in a variety of international and US based positions for thirty plus years. Tara is currently the Chief Operating and Organizational Development officer, having joined AFS-USA as a Senior Business Development Strategist in 2009. Before joining AFS-USA, Tara served as the Executive Director of AFS Hong Kong for almost ten years, and was integrally involved in the expansion of AFS in mainland China. Throughout her career at AFS, Tara has worked in international program coordination, organizational development, volunteer development, Board development, training and fundraising. Tara started her professional career in the advertising field in New York City. Tara’s life-long interest and commitment to intercultural learning through student exchange began as a high school and university exchange student to France. She has a degree in Communications and French and a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate.
Elisa Briga is Head of Advocacy at the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), the umbrella of AFS Intercultural Programs in Europe, where she has worked for seven years. In the past she worked as a trainee and staff member at the EU-CoE youth partnership, a co-operation programme between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth. She has been volunteering for CISV International for 18 years and holds a Masters Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy with a thesis on information on youth mobility opportunities.
“A Global University is one in which international experiences and perspectives are fully integrated into the institution’s teaching and learning, research, and discovery, and outreach and engagement mission.”
William I. Brustein, PhD is the Vice President for Global Strategies and International Affairs at West Virginia University and the Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of History. His work at WVU is dedicated to fully integrating international and multicultural experiences into the academic units within the university, and expanding and enhancing its global reach. He previously served as vice provost for global strategies and international affairs at The Ohio State University, President of Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), Chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community and Chair of the Senior International Officers of the Big Ten Academic Alliance and in many other organizations. Dr. Brustein is widely published in the areas of political extremism and ethnic, religious and racial prejudice.
Emelyne Burkhard is the Marketing Manager at Celtic English Academy and Vice Chair of the regional industry group, English UK Wales. She has a key focus on partnerships and programme development which have enabled the organisation to see sustainable growth, alongside diversity of the student demographic – 50 different nationalities study at Celtic annually. She has a linguistic background and identifies with the study abroad experience, having spent an Erasmus year teaching and living in France. Emelyne is a Qualified Facilitator for the Sentio Global Competence Certificate.
Trent Burner is the Vice President of Research at the Society for Human Resource Management, a non-profit that advances the HR practice for 280,000 global members. Previously, Trent spent 15 years at Walmart leading various global HR teams and projects in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Prior to Walmart, Trent spent 4 years as the Assistant Director of EEO at The University of Akron where he also earned his MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
Ana Carolina Cassiano is the Educator & School Relations Consultant at AFS Intercultural Programs, where she coordinates initiatives that help educators and schools deliver effective intercultural learning programs aimed at building global competence. Ana Carolina did her Master’s studies in Political Sociology and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. She started her journey with AFS in 2013 as a staff member of AFS Brazil after participating in a young professionals exchange program in Norway as an assistant researcher.
Lisa Choate is Executive Vice President of American Councils for International Education, overseeing teams responsible for all secondary school programs for international students in the U.S.; U.S. high school students abroad, and educator programs. She also oversees professional programs including the Open World Program. Lisa has been in executive leadership at American Councils for 25 years. Lisa hold a Masters in Education and Second Language Acquisition from Boston University and A.B. from Bryn Mawr College.
Emily Clawson is an Intercultural Competence, Diversity & Inclusion Training Specialist at Peace Corps, with a passion for creating and facilitating transformative educational programming. She previously served as Interreligious Coordinator, and then Assistant Director for Outreach, at Georgetown University Law Center, instructed courses on Civic Leadership & Community Transformation through Northwestern University, and served on the Conflict Transformation team at the Henry Martyn Institute. She has taught middle school, served as an interfaith chaplain, and facilitated international learning programs. She has her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, B.A. in Theology & Religious Studies and Communication Studies from University of San Diego, and multiple teaching credentials from UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Sciences.
James A. Cooney is the Vice Provost for International Affairs, Colorado State University, former Chair of the AFS International Board of Trustees, and lead author of the 2017 report on campus internationalization in the U.S. He is the chairperson of the Confucius Institute Advisory Committee at CSU. Cooney worked at Harvard University for 23 years as Executive Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Dean of International Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Director of the McCloy German Scholars Program. He also held positions at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU); NAFSA: The International Educators Association, and the Aspen Institute in Germany. He taught at numerous universities around the world, authored five books and received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Cooney received his B.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard College and MIT, and he was a Fulbright Scholar to Germany.
Gergely Csaba has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AFS Hungary since 2011, having spent half of his life with AFS wearing several hats both as volunteer and staff. Greg graduated as an economist from the University of Miskolc, with a postgraduate degree in finance from Rouen Business School (ESC) in France. He also holds an International Executive MBA from Central European University (CEU) and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) with finance specialization – graduated with distinction as top of class. Greg set up and has been running the European division of Thai President Foods, one of the largest dry food manufacturer of Thailand as Dream Enabler. Greg is happily married and is the proud father of two cute baby boys.
Dr. Darla K. Deardorff is the Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) at Duke University in the United States. She is a research scholar in the Program in Education at Duke University and has held national leadership positions with NAFSA and with Forum on Education Abroad. Editor of The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence (Sage, 2009), she has published and presented widely on international education and cross-cultural issues. Dr. Deardorff has served on faculty of Harvard University’s Future of Learning Institute, is faculty at the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication and an adjunct or visiting professor at numerous universities around the world. Watch Darla’s webinar on assessing intercultural competence here.
“There is a real urgency for young people to use the knowledge gained from understanding cultural differences to find solutions to world problems.”
Vishakha N. Desai currently 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.
Brechtine Detmar received a MA in Spanish Language and Culture. Currently, she is policy advisor at the International Centre of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She advises management and lecturers on internationalisation issues. She is experienced in building and maintaining international relationships. She is the coordinator of the minor “International teams and Organisations” and gives on a regular basis workshop on intercultural communication.
“When you go to teach at a school, you need to learn first”
Balázs Dezsényi leads the team of Teach For Hungary, an organization working to make all Hungarian children’s perspectives equally bright. He is a public policy graduate of Central European University in Budapest. He is actively involved in informal education, leading seminars on English and debating skills at an after-school academy for Budapest high-schoolers. He has interned with the Foundation for Democratic Youth, an organization aiming to promote youth advancement through youth service, democratic debate and professional development. He also served for five years as co-founder and president of the Debating Society of Hungary.
Jose Diez-Verdejo is a Policy Officer at the Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission. He is in charge of Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange, a new pilot project that fosters intercultural understanding and skills development among young people living in European and Southern Mediterranean countries. He also oversees projects helping the integration of refugees in higher education. Previously he worked in the European Commission’s Spokesperson’s Service, DG Home Affairs and DG Competition. Jose is a journalist and holds a masters degree in European Politics from Université Libre de Bruxelles and an MSc in Public Policy and Administration from the London School of Economics.
Shoko Doherty is the CEO of Celtic English Academy – a British Council accredited English language school in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, with a Junior Summer centre in North Wales. Shoko is one of the board members at English UK which is the national association of accredited English language centres in the United Kingdom. A former international student from Japan to Wales, Shoko truly knows the student’s intercultural journey from the classroom into the workplace. Holding a music degree from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama she has a great interest in Music, Heritage and Culture in Wales and strengthening this link between Wales and other countries through the English language experience.
Erin Dowd is a global education consultant and founder of www.JRNEY.org, a website dedicated to amplifying teacher voices through global stories from the field. As a global educator, Erin is dedicated to helping teachers bring the world to their students in meaningful ways. She is also a board member of the Global Goals Educator Task Force, #TeachSDGs, a 2107 ADCD Emerging Leader, and the Professional Learning Chair for the ISTE Global Collaboration PLN. A former teacher and curriculum director, Erin has spent her career working to provide equitable education for students all over the world.
John Duban is the Chief Marketing and Field Operations Officer at AFS USA, where he is responsible for overseeing the marketing team, as well as the 60+ Field Staff located across the U.S. who work locally with AFS volunteers to ensure the highest quality program delivery to our students, families, schools and communities. A graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, John spent the first 25 years of his career in advertising and media agencies. John began his career in Vienna, Austria as a copywriter and transitioned to global account leadership, working abroad for over 8 years, including with the Coca-Cola Company in support of their sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. John is an alumnus from the AFS year program to Austria (1982 -83).
“Education has the power to connect young people across divides and build a shared sense of responsibility for the world.”
Anantha Duraiappah took the position as the inaugural Director of the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) based in New Delhi, India in 2014. An experienced science-policy pacesetter having over 33 years experience, he now plays a key role in positioning UNESCO MGIEP as a leading research institute on education for peace, sustainable development and global citizenship. Dr. Duraiappah is presently focusing on researching and exploring how the neuro sciences of learning can contribute to developing socio-emotional learning through innovative digital pedagogies.
Read about Anantha’s take on global competence in his interview.
“Educated men and women and girls and boys are in a better position to have a voice in their future, a choice of paths and possibilities. Educated peoples are more likely to choose investment in themselves, their communities and their families and future and less apt to be swayed by demagogues.”
David Edwards, PhD is General Secretary of Education International, a federation of 32 million teachers and other educators affiliated with unions and associations in 173 countries globally. Dr. Edwards previously served as EI’s deputy general secretary directing education policy, advocacy, research and communications. Prior to joining EI, Edwards was an Associate Director at the National Education Association of the United States. He has worked as an Education Specialist at the Organization of American States and began his career as a public high school teacher. His doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership is from the University of Maryland in the U.S.
Pamela Berland Ex (AFS alumna, USA to Brazil, 1975) channeled her high school experience into an international career as a cross-cultural trainer, global career coach and long-time volunteer. She works as a consultant for the U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Institute, Voice of America, Ex & associates International, International Coach Federation, and other. For three decades, Pam has prepared her clients, ranging from students to CEOs and ambassadors, to refine their intercultural competence for career success in multinational corporations, the U.S. federal government, NGOs and universities. Pam speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Cristina Gallegos has 30 years of experience in business, including as an advisor to philanthropists and nonprofits. She is the Founder & CEO of Sky(lark) Strategies, a Triple Bottom Line, a consulting firm aiming to change the global society through smart strategies, nonprofit impact; systems overhaul; and working on grand challenges – from digitization, to inequality, future of work, future of learning, financial sustainability, AI, the environment and democracy. A skilled facilitator and strategist, Cristina is passionate about the SDGs and works with cities, foundations and NGOs to solve problems using common sense and the neuroscience of leadership.
Dr. Marie-Christine Ghanbari is a teacher who aims to increase the self-esteem, motivation, and empathy of her students, using action-oriented learning methods, such as her Sportpatenproject, which supports children’s development with the help of a sports mentor and physical activities. Sportpatenproject is also a lecture at the University. For this program, Marie-Christine, who studied mathematics, sports science and sport psychology at the University of Münster, received several prizes and recognitions, including becoming one of the Global Teacher Prize Top 10 Finalists 2017 for which she received a gold medal. Teaching in Nigeria as well as Germany, her school in Africa had no running water or electricity when she first arrived. Now, thanks to her efforts, there are 25 computers, the Internet and an e-mentor program, in which talented students are supported by digital sponsors.
“Global competence is about focusing on a cooperation-based approach by finding and creating commonalities.”
Thilo Gilsa was a Rotary exchange student in India (2008) and is an AFS alumnus, completing his community service in Paraguay (2011). The early international experience encouraged him to study Sociology, Politics & Economics at Zeppelin University, Germany. His theses entitled “Operationalizing Transcultural Competence“ will be published as a contribution in the book “Transcultural Management”, authored by Prof Dr. Josef Wieland, holder of the Endowed Chair of Institutional Economics at Zeppelin University. Global perspective is also part of his works as a Business Development Manager for the social startup Volunteer Vision. The software company provides a digital mentoring platform to maximize collaborative learning and employee engagement – until now working in 15 countries.
“International dimensions of education are no longer just about moving people, programs, providers, policies, ideas, curriculum, projects, and services across national borders but about access, global competencies and knowledge of pressing world issues.”
Esther E. Gottlieb, PhD, Senior Advisor for International Affairs at The Ohio State University, works on implementing the university-wide internationalization. For a decade, she has facilitated interdisciplinary research on international themes and co-directed a collaboration for educators to internationalize across the curriculum. Her research focuses on assessing students’ global learning and competencies and on universities’ funding of internationalization. Previously she was director of social science research at West Virginia University. She served on the Editorial Advisory Board of ERIC Higher Education Reports and was elected this year to the Executive Board of Comparative & International Education Society. Gottlieb teaches comparative research methods, civic engagement, and values clarification. She holds advanced degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Case Western Reserve University, and a Teaching Diploma from Haifa University.
“The challenge of education in the age automation is to nurture the type of person that machines cannot replicate. Autonomy, playfulness and rigour of thought are each central to this endeavor”
George Greskovits is the Senior Director of Academic Programs and co-founder of Milestone Institute, responsible for all academic activities of the institute as well as teaching history and social sciences. He previously worked as a researcher for historical documentaries and museum exhibits, funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (A.H.R.C.), and taught through seminars as well as private tuition at UCL. He has a BA in sociology and cultural history from the University of East London, MA in Holocaust Studies at Royal Holloway University of London, and is enrolled to the doctoral program at University College London.
Elisabeth Gudenus is the Regional Director of World Youth Alliance Europe, an organization that works with young people around the world to build a culture that supports and nurtures the dignity of each human person. She has worked as a social media consultant and digital marketing manager in New York and Vienna for different NGOs. Elizabeth holds a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the Free University of Bolzano and two diplomas in Project Management and Online Marketing.
Rosario Gutierrez is the Executive Director For AFS Colombia. In the past she worked as a Communication Consultant for the OEI (Iberoamerican Association for Education, Science and Culture), Coordinator of Professional Emphasis of the Faculty of Communication of the Javierana University in Bogota and University Professor of Communication Theories. Rosario holds a degree in Social Communication with a Major on Development and Education.
Péter Halácsy is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Prezi, and co-founder of Budapest School. An engineer and change agent, Peter is always challenging and transforming the status quo. Prior to Prezi, Peter was a lead developer at Origo.hu, Hungary’s largest internet company, a new media lecturer at Budapest University of Technology, and cofounder of Kitchen Budapest, a cross-disciplinary environment where researchers create experimental projects involving technology and urban spaces. Peter champions rapid growth challenges, he is an engineering coach, continually integrating technology, and taking agile product development to the extreme. He is the resident speaker about all things technology and innovation.
“You need to lead the community, and you need to follow the community.”
Kaya Henderson leads the Global Learning Lab for Community Impact at Teach For All. There, she seeks to grow the impact of locally rooted, globally informed leaders, all over the world, who are catalyzing community and system-level change to provide children with the education, support, and opportunity to shape a better future. She has served as Chancellor of DC Public Schools, a Fellow with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Georgetown University, among other positions. Her board memberships include The Aspen Institute, The College Board, Robin Hood NYC, and Teach For America. She chairs the board of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), an organization that she co-founded.
Kea Hoppe is the Director of European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding (EEE-YFU), responsible for positioning YFU as an expert in intercultural education, creating partnerships and advancing the organization strategically. She holds a Master’s Degree of Psychology from University of Goettingen, Germany, and has been with YFU Germany as an employee since 2006.
Larisa Hovannisian is the CEO & Founder of Teach For Armenia, who believes that providing equal educational opportunities for all children in Armenia is at the core of unlocking her nation’s full potential. For her contribution to the advancement of Armenia, Larisa was nationally recognized by the Government in September 2016. Teach For Armenia is the most dynamic and effective educational organization in Armenia, impacting over 5,000 students across the country. Since its launch in 2013, Teach For Armenia has garnered the support of Armenia’s Ministry of Education, principals, parents, students, leading Armenian universities, as well as private sector champions. Larisa studied International Business & Language at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin and received her M.A. in Special Education from Arizona State University.
Bill Hunter is an experiential educator, global competence researcher and international education administrator. His current title is Director, Fellowship Advising & United Nations Programs, and was recently elected to the UN’s NGO Executive Committee. He was the co-designer of the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment, now used by institutions in more than 100 countries. His current research focuses on global workforce development, the reach and effectiveness of the United Nations, and the growing interest among American youth in international community service projects. A Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Bill earned his Ed.D. from Lehigh University in Educational Leadership and holds a master’s degree in International Communications from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and bachelor’s degrees in Secondary Education from Point Park College, and Journalism from Lock Haven University.
Christi Hunter, President of Global Competence Associates, leads global competence research, assessment, and development. Christi is a primary author of the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment (GCAA®), which measures the global competence of students and professionals, and identifies their developmental needs. Her clients span K-20 education, business, government, and nonprofit sectors worldwide. She has worked in global corporations in R&D and HR capacities, namely talent acquisition and global talent development, including Mars, Kraft Heinz, and Cadbury.
“Global competence feels like the absence of fear when encountering someone who is not from my tribe, however that might be defined. It feels like the kind of learning schools must be about in the 21st century.”
Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society’s work in education which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship. Jackson oversees the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, a global platform for collaboratively advancing education for global competence for all, and also co-authored the seminal follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, considered one of the most influential books on middle school reform. Jackson holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Dr Ian Jamison is Head of Education & Training at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Before working for the Institute, Ian gained experience of innovative subject leadership in a number of schools across the UK. He received the Guardian ‘Teacher of the year in a secondary school’ award in 2007. Involved in the Generation Global programme since its inception, Ian was part of the team that initially developed the teaching materials. He has international experience of delivering training on the Pedagogy of Dialogue; working with educators and religious leaders in a number of very challenging situations. Ian is a passionate advocate of the power of dialogue for empowering people to address challenges and transform their societies for the better; giving young people the critical thinking skills and empowering experiences that they need to build effective resilience against extremist narratives.
Károly Jókay, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission. An expert in municipal finance and bankruptcy, Jókay taught municipal finance, public budgeting and public management in the Department of Public Policy at Central European University between 2005 and 2017. Jókay has extensive experience in Central and Eastern European countries, including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, completing projects on municipal bond disclosure standards, public utility transformation and regulation in the municipal services sector, as well as municipal debt regulation. He was born in Chicago to Hungarian refugee parents, earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois. Jókay, who moved to Hungary in 1994, active in several civil society organizations, established a family foundation to support the education of poor, rural children in the High School of the Reformed Church in Pápa.
Dr. Sarah-Louise Jones is Director of Learning and Teaching at the University of Hull, where she works part time, and Director of Core Educators. Her interests centre on the use of digital technologies and how these challenge and transform existing pedagogies, particularly those that enable the development of global competency. She is a peer reviewer on two academic journals and founder and deputy chair of the international charity: The Education Futures Collaboration.
Dr. Andrea Juhos is the Managing Partner of the Hungarian affiliate of Lee Hecht Harrison, the world’s leading career management and leadership development company. She is also the Chair of the Competitive Workforce Taskforce of the American Chamber of Commerce in Budapest, the mission of which is to improve the country’s competitiveness through various educational programs. She is also the President of the Board of Salva Vita Foundation supporting people with disabilities re-enter the labor force. Andrea holds the Certificate of Senior Executive Coaching and Mentoring from CIPD, the world’s largest Chartered HR and development professional body based in London.
Nesrin Kacan is the Education and School Responsible and Regional Coordinator in Izmir region at Turk Kultur Vakfi (AFS Turkey), where she focuses on liaising with schools, educators and students. She is an experienced educator since 1988 in Turkey, passionate about making people aware of and learn how to bridge cultural differences. Since 1982, which was her AFS year in the US, she took part in many intercultural projects at national as well as international levels.
Derya Komitoglu Kaplan is the Director of Turk Kultur Vakfi (AFS Turkey), where she has been working in different roles since 2003. She pioneered most of AFS Turkey’s intercultural education activities such as the Spectrum of Education, an international intercultural conference series and Sisters and Brothers of Turkey Domestic Exchange Program. She continues to lead and to motivate AFS Turkey staff, volunteers, participants and educators on the path to becoming global citizens.
Ankit Kawatra is a social entrepreneur from India with a global vision. He is the Trustee of World Youth Council working towards youth development and Founder of Feeding India working towards zero hunger. For his groundbreaking efforts, he has been recognized as the UN Young Leader for SDGs and Queen’s Young Leader by Her Majesty, the Queen at the Buckingham Palace. Mr. Ankit has also been named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his efforts in development space. Mr. Ankit is global youth leader and is highly passionate about global citizenship, experiential learning and entrepreneurship.
Lia Kelinsky-Jones is the Senior Assistant Director for Intercultural Learning and the Program Director for Mozaiko: A Global Living-Learning Community at Virginia Tech’s Cranwell International Center. She oversees intercultural training, curriculum, and assessment. As the daughter of a diplomat, she grew up in five different countries. She speaks English, French, and Spanish. She holds a B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Agricultural Extension, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education with a focus on international development.
Andrew King has been a State Primary-Middle School Principal for ten years and is a Community of Learning Lead Principal in Tauranga, New Zealand. This is a group of 12 schools representing 7000+ students, with over 50 staff involved in a focus on culturally responsive pedagogy and leadership to raise student achievement. He has a research and strategic background in establishing effective and sustainable intercultural strategies in schools, culturally responsive pedagogy and catering for indigenous cultures. His current school leadership context is an example of a primary school with a thriving intercultural strategy that is recognised locally, nationally and internationally.
Milou Klein is a student at Sophianum High School in the Netherlands. She has been actively involved in the international department at her school for over three years now and has participated in multiple international meetings and projects, where students from all over the world have gathered to work together and to attempt to improve their understanding of other people and cultures. The goal of these projects is not only to improve a student’s language or skill sets, but to gather a deeper understanding of other cultures and to be able to call themselves a global citizen.
Matthew Lawrence is the executive director of the Co-Existence team at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. The team’s work focuses on responses to extremism that first understand the underlying ideology and then address it by disrupting its spread, reducing its appeal and building resilience to its messaging. Matthew has overseen the development of the Institute’s research team, which focuses on understanding and addressing the role of religious ideology in extremism. He speaks regularly on issues relating to extremism and radicalization, and has authored articles and papers on the topic. He leads the Institute’s advocacy and policy work in the field, in particular the role education reform can play in addressing the threat of radicalization. Before becoming director of programmes at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in 2013, Matthew spent 15 years in the investment-banking industry, most recently as a director at Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Cazenove. He has a long involvement with several education, health, and faith-based charities and initiatives. Matthew is a member of the Institute’s Executive Committee and sits on the Board of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund.
“Talking about 21st century competences but refusing to change how we teach seems pretentious and counterproductive”
Dr. Ildikó Lázár is a senior lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University, offering courses on English language teaching methodology, cultural studies and intercultural communication in the BA, MA and PhD programs. She has also worked as a researcher, author and facilitator in many Council of Europe, Comenius, Erasmus and NGO projects, and she has been coordinating a community of practice for teachers’ continuous professional development for happy schools in Budapest. She has published on intercultural language teaching and teacher education with a special focus on ways to bring about change in teachers’ beliefs and practices in the field of intercultural competence development.
“Innovation in education can come from different stakeholders—government and business to NGOs and social entrepreneurs.”
Clive Lee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Yidan Prize Foundation. He is a specialist in social services, and has extensive experience in philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and working with nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations. His contributions to society have earned him numerous awards, leading him to be made Harvard University IMUSE Scholar, Incubatee of Grameen Creative Lab by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Clinton Global Initiative University Scholar and among many others. Mr Lee aspires to bring positive changes to the world through supporting young leaders. In 2010, he was selected as the only Chinese trainer for the Oxfam Youth International Partners Program in India.
Balázs Lévai is an edupreneur, Co-Founder and CEO of Engame Academy, a Budapest based non-formal educational institution. Engame, which supplements the Hungarian formal education system, focuses on skill building, career orientation and usable language skills. It has 200+ students, most of whom continue their studies at some of the best universities woldwide. Apart from the great results of the students, Engame’s achievements have been awarded with the Co-Founders getting on the Forbes 30/30 list in 2014. Balázs holds a Masters degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship from the University of Budapest.
“Global-ready schools help students build critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are required in all professions. We need global-ready schools because they will build our future-ready population.”
Melissa Liles 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.
Vrinda Loiwal is the UNESCO MGIEP Socio-Emotional Learning Skills Co-coordinator, and has more than 6 years of experience in education. She worked as a Gandhi Fellow with Kaivalya Education Foundation for two years in rural Rajasthan. Vrinda spearheaded curriculum design, classroom teaching and action research in social-emotional learning in California at Summit Public Schools, and served as an instructional designer for ClassDojo. She holds a Masters in Human Development Psychology and Education from Harvard.
Ping Bu Loke has been the Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Projects at Rohde & Schwarz, an international electronics, broadcast & media, cybersecurity, and radio company. He has led multiple strategic initiatives across business divisions and global subsidiaries. Ping sponsors international internships and promotes global citizenship. Ping obtained a Bachelors and Masters of Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. During his studies, he obtained practical experience in Germany. Ping worked for the Singapore Economic Development Board and became the Center Director for Germany operations.
Soraia Arroyo Lynch is the MBA Vice President of Marketing, GMMI, Inc. Originally from São Paulo, Brasil, Soraia moved to the U.S. as a teenager and is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish. With over 20 years in the medical cost containment industry and having worked for GMMI in many capacities from Account Management, Product Development, Business Development, to VP of Marketing, she has established herself as an expert in medical cost containment and assistance. Soraia’s hands-on experience is backed by a solid business education: a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from Loras College, and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.
Selda Mansur is an Educational Project Management and Accreditation Consultant, International Baccalaureate Educator, Workshop Leader and Consultant. She previously served as an Expert in Educational Matters for Istanbul Court of Law on intellectual and industrial property right, consultant for education-related projects, school administrator, curriculum coordinator, curriculum writer, teacher trainer, teacher. Selda is an entrepreneur who started her own educational management consultancy company in her late 40s after a 20+ year career as a teacher, curriculum coordinator, school administrator, and teacher trainer. Selda is also an AFS alumna.
Suzan Mansur works as an analyst at an international company. She is an AFS alumna with a bilingual-bicultural family background and international education and work experience. She is a recent Business Administration graduate. She loves setting higher goals, challenging and expressing herself through sports and dancing.
Kathleen M. Martinez is Senior Director of National Strategic Relationships & Initiatives for BP America, leading BP’s U.S. national external affairs initiatives, efforts to advance BP’s diversity and inclusion goals and the company’s commitment to STEM K-12 education and veteran outreach efforts. Martinez’ background includes more than 20 years of experience in public relations, corporate social responsibility, education advocacy, and marketing with a record of demonstrated success in leadership, strategy development, community engagement, relationship building and program execution. In 2018, Martinez was named Corporate Executive of Year by Solo Mujeres Magazine. She serves as a board member and mentor in several organizations.
Peter Mather is Chairman of BP Europe, BP UK and BP Exploration Operating Company. He is accountable for the governance, reputation, and integration of all BP’s European activities. He has worked in trading, refining, shipping, upstream gas, B2B marketing, corporate strategy, and power – in London, New York, Paris and Brussels. He sits on the Boards of Fuels Europe, ICC UK, the Royal Opera House and British Museum Advisory Boards, the CBI President’s Committee, and the BP Pension Fund. Peter has an MA (Oxford), an MBA (INSEAD) and an Honorary Fellowship (King’s London).
Luis Henrique Melo is the Coordinator of the Gira Mundo Program, which promotes diversity and inclusion by sponsoring Brazilian students to participate in intercultural exchanges. Luis is also a professor of biology, graduated from the Federal University of Paraíba and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management and Development. He also studied Education and Vocational Training at the Häme University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
Kira Mendez is Director of Lehigh University’s Iacocca Institute, which creates transformative experiences that challenge and empower the next generation of global leaders. The Institute hosts innovative programs at the high school, university, and young professional levels. Kira joined Lehigh after 30 years in strategy consulting and is a former partner of The Bridgespan Group, where she worked with NGOs, cross-sector partnerships, and large-scale philanthropic initiatives. Prior to Bridgespan, Kira spent 20 years advising owners and investors of privately held companies and new ventures. Kira holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and engineering degrees from Lehigh University (BSEE) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MSEE).
György Mészáros is an associate professor at the Faculty of Education and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. He worked as a secondary school teacher with Roma students for several years, and he is still engaged in different teacher and educator training practices. As a researcher he focuses on critical ethnography, but his research interests include: democratic education, critical citizenship, pedagogical anthropology, autoethnography, and sexuality and gender topics. He is the head of the Anthropology of Education Research Group at his Faculty, and he is member of the Administrative Council of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe.
Simona-Mirela Miculescu has been the Representative of the UN Secretary General, Head of UN Office in Belgrade since 2015. She is the first woman in the history of Romania to be granted the diplomatic rank of ambassador. During her 24 years of diplomatic career, she served as Spokesperson for the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senior Media Advisor to the Minister, Director of the Press Department, Press Secretary of the Romanian Embassy in Washington D.C., Senior. Public Information Officer at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of Romania, Senior Adviser for Public Outreach to the Government of Iraq, as well as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN.
Francesca Romana Minniti is Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at CONCORD Europe – the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development. Representing over 2,600 NGOs in Europe and abroad, CONCORD is the main interlocutor for the European institutions on development policies. Francesca has worked and volunteered in the social and development sectors for various organisations in Italy and Europe, she holds a “Jean Monnet” Master in European Law at the University ‘of Montpellier I- France and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Francesca was responsible for the Civil Society Alliance during the “European Year for Development 2015” and took care of the publication of the study ‘Global citizenship in Europe: how much do we care?’. She currently coordinates the policy and advocacy work of CONCORD members on Global Citizenship Education, People Engagement and Migration.
Chie Misumi received a M.A. in Intercultural Communications from California State University, Fullerton, USA. She is a native speaker of Japanese and has lived in the U.S., Spain, and currently resides in the Netherlands. She is a Senior lecturer in Amsterdam School of International Business at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and is also a corporate trainer who provides seminars/workshops at various international companies on intercultural management and communications.
Matt Mitton is Head of Partnerships for GVI, a volunteer and intern abroad organization. He oversees the delivery of group and individual programs for global partners, offering service learning programs through to individual internship programs. Matt has worked in experiential learning for over 10 years and has travelled extensively on school group expeditions around the world.
Aaron Moniz is the co-founder of Inspire Citizens, a teacher-created collective that empowers students and educators to co-create globally-minded, holistic, and customized project-based learning environments, and Citizens Public Media, which highlights the worth of investigative journalism and podcasting to build seekers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. He served as the Grade 7 team leader and the facilitator at the International School of Beijing Innovative Futures Academy. Through providing effective tools, fostering confidence, and creating sustainable, engaging, and practical actions, he strives to positively impact our world.
Tracy Moxley is the Head of Global Citizenship Education for GEMS Education. She has been involved in global citizenship education for more than twenty years and has developed a mainstream curriculum focused on global education in her career. Tracy has worked in international, US and UK education for twenty years and has been an educational trainer for a number of UK educational organizations. She has extensive experience in UK curricula, the International Baccalaureate and is a published author on these topics. Tracy has a Master’s in Media Education and a Professional Diploma in Teaching and Learning, both from the Institute of Education, UCL. As a curriculum developer she is committed to best practice in interdisciplinary, global citizenship education.
Dr. Maja Nenadović is an experienced monitoring, evaluation and education consultant, debate coach, political consultant, researcher and human rights educator. She is one of the initiators of the Model International Criminal Court Western Balkans (MICC WeB), the educational program that brings together high school students and teachers from all over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia to learn about human rights. Maja regularly implements trainings, seminars and workshops (civic education, human rights education, critical pedagogy, peace education) and also works as facilitator and moderator of conferences, expert meetings, organizational strategy planning sessions. Maja holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam (2012) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) since 2015 and the organization’s Secretary General since 2018.
Kim Niewolny is an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech. Her scholarship centers on the role of power and equity in community education and development. Her work is grounded in cultural and participatory community development; critical pedagogy; action research; and sociocultural, transformative, and social movement frameworks for food systems change. Dr. Niewolny holds research training and experience in qualitative research methods with a special interest in discourse analysis and narrative inquiry.
“Global skills are power skills”
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 94 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.
“Learners need to know their entitlements and educators need to create enabling environments, which is the fundamental basis to their flourishing futures”
Paul Pahil is the founder of Hungry 4 Learning Ltd and has spent over 25 years empowering diverse cultures to flourish. In 2004 Paul set up a highly innovative and research-based consultancy specialising in developing leaders and teams using a holistic strength-based framework, positivity, emotions and interactions. Hungry 4 Learning’s activities are all based on the belief that all people have the right to experience the richness of optimal functioning. Over the last five years Paul initiated the concept of Budapest’s Happiness Week to further promote social interaction and a sense of communities in Budapest.
Aditi Pathak is an Associate Project Officer at UNESCO MGIEP and is leading the implementation of institute’s flagship programme DICE (Digital Intercultural Exchange). She has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Education for Sustainable development and Global Citizenship, Teacher Training, Curriculum Planning and Program Design. Aditi has led programs on education, health and livelihood for governments, PSUs and corporates at local and international level. She has expertise in establishing monitoring and assessment processes, research, managing partnerships, identifying appropriate opportunities for collaboration and creating communication material and strategies.
Eliah Peeters is a volunteer for AFS Belgium Flanders, where she works on changemaking, active citizenship and refugee projects. In 2016 she participated in the European Federation for Intercultural Learning’s (EFIL) study session on “Active citizenship in the refugee crisis” which inspired her to launch the Buddy Project which matches asylum seekers to local volunteers, in collaboration with FEDASIL, the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers. Through regular informal interactions or fun activities, the project creates a safe space to practice the local language, facilitating integration and increasing mutual understanding. As a recent graduate in International Public Law and Human Rights Law, Eliah holds a Master in International Affairs with a thesis exploring the cultural dimension of the right to education.
“Through education we can empower young people to believe they are capable of making a positive impact in their community… and beyond”
Eliza Popper is Co-Founder and Strategic Director of Konnekt, a Hungarian NGO supporting young people in making more conscious decisions about their future. She also works as an Educational Consultant for the Erasmus Student Network and offers training and consultancy services to organizations, institutions and companies worldwide. Her expertise includes educational design, organisational management, inclusive learning, intercultural communication and competence development. She is also an active youth policy advocate and former founder and president of the National Youth Council of Hungary and member of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth.
Aly Rajab is the founder and CEO of Canadian Language Learning College (CLLC) comprised of three campuses across Canada, and CLLC Franchise, Inc., and is uniquely positioned to speak in terms of business development and international language learning. He has extensive international business experience, with 15 years as a manager for ALJ-Toyota Motor Corporation. Following this he committed himself to language learning and international education. Aly has an Executive MBA and a Diploma in Management from Saint Mary’s University, a Bachelor of Engineering degree from King Abdulaziz University, leadership courses from Harvard Business School.
Renu Ramakrishnan is a cross-cultural educator and consultant with 20+ years of global experience in marketing, training and international education. She has served as mentor and facilitator for Ashoka University’s Young India Fellowship, Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute, Aravindam Foundation, GE’s Leadership Program, Hult Prize India and the International Summer School New Delhi. Renu heads SIETAR India’s New Delhi Chapter, was the organizer and facilitator at its 2018 international conference on intercultural competence and was its representative on the steering committee for AFS’s 2017 International Asia-Pacific Regional Education Forum. Renu holds a Master’s degrees from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from Lehigh University.
“Toddlers, with an open heart and mind, are interculturally the most curious beings on earth. Then we send them to school”
Nagesh Rao is Special Advisor of Inclusion & Faculty Affairs at Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University. He is also a teacher, storyteller, dancer, listener, statistician, poet, and a proud father of two daughters. His many marginal experiences—first as a Kannadiga in a Tamil State; as an accountant in an artist’s soul; then, for 20-odd years, a teacher-scholar in Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio, and New Mexico; six years back in India taking care of his ailing parents; and now back in the United States—give him a wealth of stories and theories about discovery of self and others, and engaging with a key challenge – How do we, as educators, keep the openness and curiosity alive and engaged as we navigate school, college and life?
Connie Rensink, World Savvy Programs Administrator, is a global education specialist passionately supporting educators and systems to integrate global perspectives and competencies into the curriculum. She serves as the Global Projects lead for Teach SDGs. Connie was a teacher for 12 years and is an ardent human rights advocate. She serves on the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) and is an active member of the United Nations Association. She has completed graduate course work in China, a Fulbright–Hays Project Abroad to India, and the Global Competence Certificate, a graduate program for teachers through World Savvy, Columbia University, and Asia Society.
Ana María Camargo Reyes is a Psychologist from La Sabana University in Bogotá, Colombia and holds a Masters in Cross-Cultural Communication from Newcastle University in the U.K. She is an AFS Colombia staff member, in charge of organizational development, volunteer management and intercultural learning. Ana Maria is former AFS Colombia volunteer and host family, and has previous experience as a recruiter for a headhunting company, and as the coordinator of volunteers’ activities and events for an alumni association.
“Our education systems must prepare all students to live and thrive in a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world.”
Diane Robinson is Global Special Projects Lead at Teach For All. Diane has spent over 20 years at the forefront of education change in the US and globally to empower more students to achieve their full potential. She fundraises to scale and launch new Teach For All partner programs in Africa and to build global partnerships for the network to help students and educators become globally informed. Diane has held various leadership roles at Teach For America, the KIPP Foundation, has consulted with New Leaders and Global Nomads Group, and is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Read about Diane’s take on global competence in her interview.
Dr. Roberto Ruffino is the Secretary General of the Intercultura Foundation, after 50 years as the head administrator of the Italian AFS Partner organisation. The Intercultura Foundation” promotes research and experimentation in educational exchanges. From 2008 till 2011 he was the Chairman of the Board of EFIL and of the Italian Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research. He also served on the Italian national Council of the United World Colleges. He has written books and articles around pedagogical content of international exchange projects and has done research for the European Union and UNESCO.
Melanie Rutten-Sülz is the Secretary General of Youth For Understanding’s Global Office, responsible for overseeing and coordinating the global membership and related services. Melanie is a mission-driven and results-oriented transformational thinker and leader, and a passionate global citizen. She has a strong background in multi-stakeholder convening, sustainability issues and organizational development. Melanie holds a Master degree in Latin American Studies, Economics and Political Sciences from the University of Cologne, Germany, and the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil.
“If we don’t get global competence right, we are building our education systems on sand.”
Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As a key member of the OECD’s Senior Management team, he supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. In addition to policy and country reviews, he oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Skills Strategy, the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES).
Thomas Shorrock is the Operations Manager at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. After becoming a teacher, he delivered the Award within UK schools. From the UK he moved to the Middle East and taught in a variety of schools in three different countries, teaching Sciences, French, Life Skills and Social Studies. With experience in the industry, teaching and as a former participant, Tom has seen countless pupils, who might struggle with formal education, succeed and thrive when embarking on the Award. This in turn has had an impact on their learning and development in the classroom. Tom is now working on the development of the Award in the United Arab Emirates.
Nandini Chatterjee Singh is a senior National Programme Officer for Socio-Emotional Learning and Difference Learning at UNESCO MGIEP. She is a cognitive neuroscientist and leads the Rethinking Learning program. Nandini is passionate about translating neuroscientific evidence on learning and education from laboratory to classroom. She is currently designing a program for socio-emotional learning in school classrooms using interactive digital technologies. Nandini also leads the Difference Learning project at UNESCO MGIEP towards achieving ‘inclusive’ education.
Rakesh S. Soans is the Treasurer of CCIVS, a global network set up by UNESCO in 1948 to promote International Volunteer Service (IVS) as a peace initiative for youth, through volunteering and intercultural learning. He is also the CEO of EKA People Solutions Pvt. Ltd. which offers internships, and field learning programs to universities and school students. For the last 15 years, he has been leading FSL-India (Field Services and Intercultural Learning) as its President. Rakesh is a corporate philanthropist and an ardent supporter of international volunteerism, intercultural learning and youth. He has been training staff and designing programs for corporate volunteers, universities and schools, to promote social leadership, community development, global competencies through service and engagement by volunteering.
“The culture shift to global competence need not be a daunting task, but an essential vehicle to disciplinary curriculum, student empowerment, and reaching Global Goals.”
Steve Sostak co-founded Inspire Citizens after fifteen years of teaching humanities, citizenship and journalism internationally and in Chicago. He now coaches teachers and empowers diverse students through authentic project-based learning, civic journalism, and wellness activities that reframe unique community mindsets around empathy and an alignment with UN SDG targets and the OECD/PISA Global Competence Framework and Questionnaire. Working out of Beijing, he travels internationally as a student leadership facilitator, keynote speaker, and curriculum developer in the critical endeavor of helping educators link school standards to impactful global and local action.
Victoria Soto is the Board Chair of AFS Costa Rica. She has 30 years of experience in research, systematization and facilitation of community development in natural resources and the environment in the Central American region, with emphasis on indigenous groups and peasants. Victoria as also spent the last 15 years in promoting and facilitating workshops on intercultural education for volunteers, staff, host families, schools, teachers of AFS Costa Rica and the Caribbean region. She is a member of the evaluation group and a trainer for AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program. Her educational background is in Sociology and Education.
Caroline Steyaert is the Executive Director of AFS Belgium Flanders since 2011. She ran for 15 years an educational center specialized in interactive experience-based trainings about social skills and social themes for teenagers. In the past, Caroline served as a Human Resources at the Belgian Police. She also holds a large experience providing relational and sexual education to young people from various cultural backgrounds. Caroline has spent her career to providing access to intercultural experiences for young folks and creating meaningful cooperations with community organizations.
Charlotte Arnø Storebakken started working for The Norwegian Fundraising Association two years ago, after 8 years of fundraising work with the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. Charlotte is the coordinator leading #GivingTuesday in Norway, which was celebrated in 2017 for the first year with the main goal of activating young Norwegians to give, share and engage with various charities.
Linda Stuart is the Education & Training Specialist for Sentio Global Education Network, a subsidiary of AFS Intercultural, Inc. where she manages the Global Competence Certificate, an award-winning tool for developing global competence. She is President of Alma, Inc. and previously was Global Citizens Network’s Executive Director. Linda is a Qualified Administrator of the IDI, GCI, IES and holds an executive coaching certificate from the U of MN. Linda has an MA from the University of Chile and a BA from Augsburg College.
Joshwa Tambo is a 2018 Acumen Fellow, 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, and Founder and Advisor to Kibera Community Empowerment Organization having impact on 71,214 people through literacy, social entrepreneurship and food security programs. Joshwa founded Kshoes, a social enterprise, and he was project officer for National Organization of Peer Educators and Center for Disease Control and works with Venture Space, a social venture accelerator. Joshwa is a computer science graduate and studies economics at Daystar University. Joshwa is passionate about changing his community through harnessing the power of social entrepreneurship.
Biljana Tasetovikj is an EducationUSA Adviser. She has transformed the AC Bitola into a vibrant fixture engaging with academic and community leaders to ensure the highest level of programming. With her extensive work in U.S. education advising, Biljana assists Macedonian students to find the right academic partner and resources. In 2012, she has initiated the launching of the first EducationUSA Competitive College Club in Macedonia and its initial success resulted in developing CCCs in three other advising centers in Macedonia.
Imen Tekaya is a TeachSDGs Ambassador, MIE Fellow, eTwinning Ambassador, computer science teacher in Sfax in south Tunisia, and also serves as an MIE Expert. She is prized for: the national top five Innovative Educators; the best national eTwinning project 2015; and Top 10 laureates in the national Science Fair for her pupil’s creation for people with disabilities. She is really concerned for children and wants to help by creating a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who will think about sustainable development before taking any decision. Furthermore, she wishes to develop a generation of innovators, change-makers, and good global eco-citizens who are armed with empathy and science, while celebrating diversity.
Christina Thatcher is the Chief Operating Officer at Celtic English Academy where she manages the day-to-day running of the organisation. She is a trained secondary school teacher, a Qualified Facilitator for the Sentio Global Competence Certificate and an experienced workshop leader in the community. Alongside her role at Celtic, Christina currently lectures at Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University and is in the final stages of her PhD in Critical and Creative Writing.
Cassandra Tomkin is the President & COO of Pure Nomad, offering meaningful and intensive service experiences for teens and adults through Cross-Cultural Solutions and Squads Abroad. Prior to her 14 years with Pure Nomad, she was in financial services. An avid traveler, Cassandra has visited 80 countries and has volunteered abroad over 15 times, and is passionate about improving opportunities for child education and child health around the world. She is also an Advisory Member on the National Clearinghouse for Disability and Exchange, an Organizing Committee Member for Service Nation, and a Task Force Member at the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy.
Joe Tort has been working in international education for 15 years with experience in study abroad administration, international student advising, international admissions, and intercultural training. In his current role as Assistant Director for Global Professional Practice at Purdue University, he overseas the GEARE program. His work involves building connections between university and industry partners, advising and mentoring students, and teaching intercultural training courses. He is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Sheryl Hilliard Tucker is the Chief External Affairs Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs, where she is responsible for marketing and communications, fundraising and alumni engagement. Prior to joining AFS, Sheryl was the chief editor of three U.S. business and women’s publications and websites, and has edited or co-authored 10 personal money management and health books. Sheryl is currently a trustee emeritus at her undergraduate alma mater, Cornell University.
Panna Ujvári is an expert in crowdfunding and communications. She mentors Hungarian NGOs in online fundraising and works on communications for NIOK Foundation and other NGOs as a consultant. In addition to organizational counseling, Panna does trainings and workshops on both crowdfunding and online communication.
Carla Rey Vasques has a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington. Carla began her career in cross-cultural communication lecturing and tutoring Foundation Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington and the Open Polytechnic. She then worked in the fields of cultural consumer behaviour in Latin America, and gender research in New Zealand, before moving into her programme innovation and educational products manager role at AFS New Zealand in 2013. As part of this role Carla works with schools in New Zealand to support international students, grow mobility programmes and globalise school’ curriculums. She is also in charge of ensuring that AFS New Zealand’s outbound and inbound exchange students, host families, volunteers and staff develop the skills to live, study and work in globally competent ways. She has being seconded to bring her expertise to the AFS International team and manage the AFS Global Competence Readiness Index for schools.
Cecilia Vasquez is the Executive Director of AFS Guatemala. In the past she served as the President of Rotary Club Guatemala and an educator with 10 years of experience as an English teacher. Cecilia was the Educational Director of a Chain of Language Academies with 18,000 students for 10 years. She was also a member of the Consulting Team of Teaching English as a Foreign Language of the Ministry of Education in Guatemala. Cecilia holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership.
Hans Venderbos was trained as a teacher of English and History and has worked as a teacher of English at various institutions such as FE and College for HE and at Sophianum (pre University education) for the last 25 years. In the role of coordinator of International Contacts and Global Perspectives teacher, he has been involved with teaching of Global Competencies and International Skills for a number of years.
Bert Vercamer is the Chief Program Innovation and Educational Products Officer of AFS Intercultural Programs and the founding CEO of Sentio, Global Education Network. He has spent more than 17 years leading efforts promoting global competence with educational institutions, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Experienced in developing, facilitating and managing international education organizations and programs through his work in more than 40 countries, Bert is a respected executive and advocate in the field of global education. A leading voice in the global competence movement, Bert speaks at numerous international industry conferences and symposiums, while his thought leadership and training skills have been tapped by international companies to help build the global competence of executives and staff assigned abroad. A lifetime learner, Bert has a Masters Degree in both Economics from Ghent University (Belgium) and Intercultural Relations from the University of the Pacific (USA).
Jan Verschueren works for the Belgian Development Agency where he is the coordinator of the governmental program on global citizenship education (GCE), called Kleur Bekennen. The program supports, inspires and connects all relevant actors in the formal education sector on GCE. He previously worked for the international department of the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities where he was one of the driving forces in the policy transformation from a ‘North-South’ towards a ‘Global’-approach. Jan studied Social Pedagogy and gained an additional master on Cultures & Development Studies.
Hannelore Verstappen is a master in Geography. She is lecturer geography at the University College Leuven Limburg. She also participates in a variety of UCLL-projects on Wicked Challenges, Design Thinking, Global Citizenship Education, Sustainability.
Pablo Viñas is the Executive Director of AFS Dominican Republic. Since 2006, he has been the Giving Tuesday Global Leader in Dominican Republic, and since 2014 he has been a Board Member of German-Dominican Chamber of Commerce. Prior to his work at AFS, Pablo was a high school teacher of Moral and Civics. He holds a Law degree and an IMBA.
“Quality and inclusive education empowers. It opens doors and enables a life well lived. But education is not only about knowledge – it is about the ability to understand and do, it is about respect for others and for the planet. This kind of education enables positive change in the world.”
Ivana Vrhovski is a policy officer at the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture. She is working on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning and has led the preparation of the European Council Recommendation on Key Competences adopted in May 2018. Her work on Key Competences contributes to the development of European Education Area, where quality education, training and lifelong learning should be provided to all. Ivana also has extensive experience in design and management of the Erasmus+ programme, European Union’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport.
Andy Woods Ballard is a Business Development Specialist at Sentio, Global Education Network. International business development, networking and service learning consultant with environmental and development based experience in the leadership and training of staff and students engaged in scientific research, conservation and sustainable development programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America, working with governmental, non-governmental and voluntary organizations, Universities and international conservation organizations. Andy is also the CEO of Momento, a tech startup. Prior to his engagement with Sentio, Andy was the chair of WYSE and Global Vision International (GVI).
Katherine Yngve, a former Senior International Officer, now co-directs Purdue’s new Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentoring, Assessment and Research (CILMAR). For the last three years, she has led study abroad programs which teach creativity, emotional resilience and teamwork to students in engineering and the sciences. Prior to joining Purdue, she served as founding Director of International Programs at the American University of Beirut, where she concentrated in particular on internationalizing the STEM disciplines, building structures to better support international partnerships, and strategic planning for international student recruitment and retention. Her areas of greatest personal creativity are in curriculum design, intercultural mentoring and garden design. Her MA is from the University of Chicago and her BA from Indiana University.
Read about Katherine’s take on global competence in her interview.
Arusyak Zeynalyan is an English teacher with Teach For Armenia Educational Foundation, working in one of the many socio-economically disadvantaged villages of Armenia. She was started working in Armrakits Village in 2017 as the only English teacher in the school. Arusyak holds an MA degree in International Child Studies from King’s College London with her dissertation developed on empirical study on the development of inclusive education in Armenia. Under Arusyak’s leadership, the abandoned school library turned into an innovative and inspiring community library, youth center, and a local impact hub. After the success of the library became obvious, Arusyak and her teammates established “Gradarak”, a cultural and educational NGO, with its aim to spread the success all across Armenia.
Jennie King is the Director of Education and Culture at British Council Hungary, a portfolio which covers everything from education reform to university links, civil society projects to arts for social change. She was previously the Assistant Director at British Council Egypt, where she helped launch programmes on social enterprise and youth empowerment, and supported the Ministry of Education’s agenda to transform public schools. Before joining the organisation she worked at UN Headquarters in New York, both as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Mission and leading a research taskforce for the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). She specialised in 3rd Committee issues within the G-77, including preparatory resolutions for the Sustainable Development Goals and negotiations at COP-20 (the climate summit which preceded the Paris Agreement). Jennie holds a degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from Cambridge University, plus special courses on Conflict Prevention and Human Development from Occidental College.
Keisha Siriboe is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hong Kong. Her research considers early childhood literacy, parent education, access, and equity issues within Hong Kong. Her academic article “A parental perspective of school and familial curriculum making: a narrative inquiry of early childhood education planning in Hong Kong” received a 2018 Outstanding Publication award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Globally, she works with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to cultivate global student leadership within educational research and policy development.
Haike Jaspers is a student at CDO Noord in Antwerp, Belgium and an AFS alumna. Her education background is in arts and social sciences. Haike participated in an AFS project in Morocco helping to create an irrigation and anti-erosion system in building a new school. This experience helped her combine her education with the desire to discover other cultures and broaden her horizons. She is now an active advocate for intercultural exchanges for youth.
Natalie Foster is a Junior Analyst in the PISA team of the OECD Education and Skills Directorate. Along with her colleague, Mario Piacentini, she works on the innovative domain assessments of PISA, including the PISA 2018 assessment of global competence. Currently, they are developing the PISA 2021 assessment of creative thinking. Prior to joining the PISA team, Natalie worked at the European Commission Directorate-General of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Operations and the OECD Development Centre. She holds a Masters’ Degree in European Studies from the University of Bath.
Sam Robinson is a Research Associate at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a non-profit that advances the HR profession for 300,000 global members. At SHRM, Sam heads the benchmark data service and research series relating to the skills gap, workplace flexibility, and organizational effectiveness through human capital development. Previously, Sam redesigned the consultant training program in the chapter for the Volunteer Program Assessment at George Mason University as their Training and Development Coordinator, where he also earned his MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
István Verses is qualified as a secondary school teacher and he also acquired a bachelor degree in business management. For most of his career he has worked in the implementation of EU funded projects and programmes in various positions in the Hungarian public administration. For the last 6 years he has been active in promoting transnational cooperation for the Hungarian education and training sector as part of the Erasmus+ programme. Currently he is heading the Erasmus+ department at Tempus Public Foundation.
Adel Csernovitz is the the head of School Education and Language Education Unit at the Tempus Public Foundation, where she also manages the EU funded project “European ESL Platform and Support Services”. She has been working with the Tempus Public Foundation since 1999 in various roles, having been responsible for several EU programs in the field of education (Erasmus, Tempus, Erasmus Mundus etc.) and coordinating programs enhancing foreign language education in Hungary (World-Language Programme, European Language Label). She was also involved as expert in the development of a national program for the mobility of VET students and teachers. Ms Csernovitz has a degree in German Language and Literature, with an interest in community learning, collaborative learning and foreign languages.
Eszter Szegedi is a project leader of the Knowledge and Training Centre of the Tempus Public Foundation who has been responsible for the coordination of projects related to Education and Training 2020. Ms Szegedi has 15 years of experience in education as a practitioner: teacher and trainer, she has experience in network building, organizing national dissemination forums for experts, policymakers, and stakeholders for strengthening the crosscutting cooperation and facilitating communication in specific fields of education. Her main research area is educational knowledge management, in which she focuses various topics: early school leaving, improving teachers’ competences, school leadership and digital transformation in education.
Marianna Szucs is a project and training coordinator has been working for the Tempus Public Foundation since 2016 as a member of the Knowledge and Training Centre. She is in charge of development, coordination, marketing and sales of training programs for individual and institutional clients coming from the public, non-governmental sector as well as from small and medium-sized enterprises. She has 10 years of experience in education as a teacher in Budapest, Hungary, and Brunswick, Maine, USA, and has participated in several EU programs and trainings organized for teachers. She holds an MA degree in English Literature and Linguistics, and another one in Hungarian Literature and Linguistics. She also studied Human Resource Management.
Mario Piacentini is an analyst in the PISA team of the OECD Education and Skills Directorate, where he is responsible of extending PISA to new assessment domains. He is the lead author of the framework for the PISA 2018 assessment of Global Competence and is now managing the development of a new PISA assessment of creative thinking. Before joining PISA, he worked for the Public Governance Directorate and the Statistics Directorate of the OECD, the University of Geneva, the World Bank and the Swiss Development Cooperation. Mario led international measurement projects on education, gender, migration and entrepreneurship and authored several peer-reviewed articles and reports, including the first PISA report on the well-being of students. Mario holds a PhD in economics from the University of Geneva.
Csilla Szabo is the presently project manager of the EU funded European ESL Platform and Support Services (ESLplus) project of the Tempus Public Foundation. She was previously responsible for the coordination of several EU programs (Comenius of Life Long Learning, Strategic partnerships of Erasmus+, European Language Label) and non-EU programs (Academy of Central European Schools) for the school education sector. She has an MA degree in International Relations and a BA degree in European Union Studies; she studied as a scholar in the Netherlands and in Italy as well.