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Further contributors to the 2014 Summit can be viewed on our Contributors page. The following speakers have been arranged by topic.


Ceremonial Speakers

Princess Laurentien

Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Founder and Honorary Chair of Stichting Lezen & Schrijven (Reading & Writing Foundation)

Princess Laurentien works on issues concerning the development of individuals and their impact on society. In particular, she is active in the fields of literacy and sustainability. In 2004 she founded Stichting Lezen & Schrijven (Reading & Writing Foundation), which works both in the Netherlands and internationally to prevent illiteracy among children and to reduce it among adults. The Princess is UNESCO’s Special Envoy on Literacy and Development, and served as Chair of the EU High Level Group of experts on Literacy, which presented its findings in 2012. Princess Laurentien has also been professionally engaged on sustainability and wildlife preservation for over a decade. She is Founder and Director of the Missing Chapter Foundation (MCF), which brings together children and (corporate) leaders to engage in dialogue aimed at changing mind-sets of both the adults and children. Princess Laurentien is also the initiator and author of the Mr Finney series of children’s books.


Mrs Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani (UK), The Arab International Women’s Forum, Founder Chairman

Mrs Al Kaylani holds senior roles in several organisations in the UK and internationally as well as seats on the boards of cultural and educational institutions and NGO’s. She is Vice President International of The Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University. Mrs Al Kaylani serves as Advisory Board Member of London Middle East Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Advisory Board Member, Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese American University, Beirut, and in April 2012, became the first Honorary Member of the Euro Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development. Mrs Al Kaylani is a Board Director of the EastWest Institute; a Board Member of the MENA – OECD Business Council and serves as a Freeman and Liveryman of the City of London. In 2006, Haifa Al Kaylani received recognition as one of 21 Leaders for the 21 Century by Women’s eNews in New York. In February 2007 Haifa Al Kaylani was named as one of The Muslim Power 100 Leaders in the United Kingdom, in 2009 ranked one of the 20 leading Muslim women in the UK on the Muslim Women Power List 2009 by The Equality and Human Rights Commission and in 2011, 2012 and 2013 Mrs Al Kaylani was named one of the hundred most powerful women in the Arab World on the Power 100 List, compiled by Arabian Business Monitor. Mrs Al Kaylani is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 Education Excellence Award, the 2008 World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award presented by The International Alliance for Women and most recently in 2013 Mrs Al Kaylani was presented with the Muslim Woman of the Year UK Award and the Global Inspirational Leadership Award. In 2013, Mrs Al Kaylani was also honoured for her achievements as a role model and having made contributions worthy of acknowledgement towards the role of women in Emerging Economies by the Georgia General Assembly and inducted by Centre of Economic Leadership & Development into The Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame as a distinguished achiever and symbol of female achievement globally.



Dr Dirk Van Damme (Paris), OECD

Dr Dirk Van Damme currently is Head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division (IMEP) in the Directorate for Education at the OECD in Paris. He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and is also professor of educational sciences in the same university (since 1995). He also was part-time professor in comparative education at the Free University of Brussels (1997-2000) and visiting professor of comparative education at Seton Hall University, NJ, USA (2001-2008). He was general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference, the main advisory body for higher education policy in the Flemish part of Belgium between 2000 and 2003. He has been professionally involved in educational policy development between 1992 and 2008, and served as deputy chief of staff for various Flemish education ministers, and as chief of staff of Mr Frank Vandenbroucke, Flemish minister of education between 2004 and 2008. His current interests are evidence-based innovation in education, comparative analyses of educational systems, statistical indicators in education, new developments in the learning sciences and knowledge management in education. At the OECD he is responsible for the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, leading both the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and the Indicators of Educational Systems (INES) programmes.

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Kaari Kelvin Mutugi (Kenya), 2012 World Literacy Summit Youth Ambassador

Kaari Kelvin Mutagi is a student at the prestigious Trinity College located in Hartford Connecticut. He is a 2013 alumnus of the highly acclaimed African Leadership Academy, a pan-African Institution located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kelvin has been involved in education work since his teenage years where he took the role of a community activist in sensitizing his local leadership on a need for a community library and its paramount importance. He took the role of Inaugural World Literacy Summit Youth Ambassador in 2012. He is also part of the Global Changemakers and Learners Voice Networks and has collaborated with his peers in conversations around Education and Literacy. Kelvin has participated in Major education conferences such the World Innovation Summit for Education. Pursuing a major in Public Policy and Law and a Minor in French, Kelvin is eager to serve in education policy making in Africa.


lindaLinda Bakkum, 2014 World Literacy Summit Youth Ambassador

Linda is a doctoral student at the University of Oxford with whose work and interests extend into a number of areas of educational research. Her DPhil investigates citizenship education policy for secondary schools in England, including a focus on civic and political literacy. Besides her own studies she’s been involved with a project investigating bilingual education in Brunei, and has co-authored a number of papers on school improvement and effectiveness. Before coming to Oxford she completed a double degree at universities in England and the Netherlands, obtaining a BA in Education studies and English literature as well as qualifying as an English language teacher. She’s taught English in The Netherlands, England, Bulgaria, and rural Nepal, giving her a highly international perspective on education. Upon completion of her DPhil she is keen to keep working in education and social policy, dedicating her efforts to developing and strengthening policies aimed at improving social and civic literacy as a means to combating inequality and to achieve social justice.


Professor Sally Mapstone, University of Oxford

Sally Mapstone is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education in the University of Oxford. Her portfolio covers all aspects of education in the University, from admissions, through teaching and learning, to employability, at undergraduate and graduate levels. She is also chair of the board of the University’s Department for Continuing Education. Professor Mapstone is Professor of Older Scots Literature in the University’s Faculty of English, and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College Oxford. Before taking up her present portfolio she was Pro-Vice Chancellor for Personnel and Equality in the University, and retains a particular interest in equality issues.


New Technology and Literacy

Bretislav Beranek

Dr Bretislav Beranek Ph.D. (Czech Republic), BMI, Marketing Director

Dr. Beranek graduated from the Technical University of Brno. He successfully finished his doctorate studies in the field of artificial intelligence also on Technical University of Brno. He worked for several years on Technical University of Brno as a project manager heading research team concerned with artificial intelligence for robots. After moving to Canada he worked for National Research Council of Canada and consequently for a private company and was a head of the research and development department, responsible for development and design of laser based cameras, optimization of welding processes, design of laser camera hardware and software, interfaced with variety of robotic arms etc. He was coordinating major projects for Caterpillar, IBM, Lockheed, NASA, European space program Arian etc. After seven years of working for a private company he established his own consulting company specialized in the field of optimization of various industrial processes. Since 2002 he has worked for company B&M InterNets s.r.o. Czech Republic. Under his leadership, BMI has developed proprietary methodology enabling visualization and analysis of the multidimensional models (nDAnalysis). This methodology enables finding of various interdependencies among a multitude of different parameters. He is expert and has practical experience in wide field of optimization and modeling. He leads several research and development projects in the field of statistical modeling of the industrial and social processes including in EU funded projects.

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Dr Christina Clark (UK), National Literacy Trust, Head of Research

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr Susie Formby ): Technology in the Literacy Livers of 3-16 year olds

Dr Christina Clark is Head of Research at the National Literacy Trust. A trained forensic psychologist with a PhD in socio-political psychology, she has over 15 years experience of designing, conducting, analysing and reporting social research projects in a variety of social policy areas both in an academic and a charity context. Christina joined the National Literacy Trust in 2004. Since then she has been instrumental in devising a series of influential large-scale surveys that explore young people’s attitudes towards a variety of literacy issues. To date over 100,000 pupils have participated in our surveys and have provided their views on reading, writing, speaking and listening, resulting in over 30 research reports.


Mark CondonMark Condon (USA), Unite for Literacy, Vice President for Languages

Presentation Topic: Picture Book Abundance. For Everyone. For Free. Forever.

Mark Condon has worked in literacy education for 43 years – 3 years in High School teaching, 31 in the professorate and lots in consultation around digital publication for children. Mark Condon is part owner in two technology companies. The first being RealeStudios that built RealeWriter, the picture book software and the RealeLibrary system. The second being Unite for Literacy, a company dedicated to creating world-wide book abundance through leveraging technology.

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Janet CondyProfessor Janet Condy (South Africa), Reading Association of South Africa (RASA), Founding Member

Presentation Topic: Paradoxes of Social Inclusion Reflected in a Digital Story-telling Project

Professor Janet Condy is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Science at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology based in Cape Town, South Africa. Janet taught in mainstream and special schools for 19 years and then went onto work at a teacher training college, which has subsequently become the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She obtained her PhD at the University of Cape Town in 2006 and has been involved in teacher education training since 1997. She specializes in Inclusive Education at both undergraduate and Honour’s level. At the undergraduate level she also teaches on the Professional Studies programme, which includes modules on a small research project, Philosophy for Children (she has published widely on these experiences) as well as more recently using Digital Stories where the students explore why they have become teachers. Her experiences with using Digital Storytelling as a pedagogical tool in her teaching and learning have encouraged her to take sabbatical and write on book. Janet teaches Research Methods and Academic Literacy at the Honours level and is currently supervising Masters and Doctoral students in literacy, Inclusive Education. Janet has been very involved with the International Reading Association. From 2010 – 2012 she was the International Development Countries chairperson for Africa. In 2003 she started the Reading Association of South Africa and this has grown over the years to include four branches around South Africa. In October our Reading and Writing Journal was accredited (www.rw.org.za) and our website can be found at wwwreadingassociation.org.za

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Other material (video) –  You might get uncomfortable | Digital Voice


12b6e61Jennifer Estrada (USA), LitWorld, Programme Developer

Presentation Topic: LitWorld’s Story21 Model – Bridging the Digital Divide for Lifelong Literacy

Jennifer Estrada is a career literacy advocate and educator who has worked with children and youth in communities throughout North America, Europe and Africa. She has worked with LitWorld, a literacy empowerment and advocacy non-profit organization, since its founding in 2007 in program development, implementation and evaluation. She spearheaded the development of the organization’s central youth programming, which combines literacy and social-emotional learning best practices and is running successfully in 15 countries. She has worked alongside dedicated community-based organizations worldwide, deepening these partner relationships to create a global network of learning. She has also conducted independent research supported by Oxford University to develop innovative methods of monitoring and evaluation. Jennifer led a keynote presentation with LitWorld’s Founder and Executive Director, Pam Allyn, at the November 2013 Global Education Conference. Jennifer received her MSc in International Education from Oxford University (2012) and her BA in Child Psychology from Amherst College (2008).

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Dr Susie Formby (UK), National Literacy Trust, Research Psychologist

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr Christina Clark): Technology in the Literacy Livers of 3-16 year olds

Susie Formby is a research psychologist working at the National Literacy Trust. In addition to her work on literacy in the early years and the impact of touch screen technology on children’s language and communication skills, she has investigated the cognitive abilities of children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders in her PhD. She has a background in research methods in psychology and an interest in how young children’s language and communication skills can be supported at home and in early years settings.


Tony HarrisTony Harris (Australia), Wombat Stories, Founder

Presentation Topic: Writing for Children in a Multi-Platform, Connected World to Increase Literacy and Accelerate Learning

As a Mechanical Engineer and Software Specialist, Tony has authored 7 books on computer games, software development and database design. For 20 years he has conducted engineering and computer courses for corporates, universities and special interest groups in Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, USA, Asia, India and Africa. As the founding Director of Wombat Stories Pty Ltd and ThinkSoft Digital Publishing, Tony has written over 20 children’s stories. His work has featured on Australian radio and television programs, in corporate magazines and newspapers. Tony’s first illustrated children’s book is a “double best seller” with over 10,000 copies sold in Australia, while his more recent books are available in 32 countries. Tony regularly conducts courses for the Australian Society of Authors, recently running workshops at Canberra University on using software to collate and compile thesis papers. His multi-platform integrated work featured at the Book Expo America in New York and has been used to assist stroke recovery and cancer patients and by speech pathologists, special needs teachers and neurology specialists. Tony has taught in mud huts and thatched buildings in Kenya, Samoa and PNG, teaching children the basics with no tools; and in ultra-modern Universities with all the gadgets. He is passionate about literacy as the key to education for everyone providing the power to change a person, a community: a world.

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hellen inyegaDr Hellen Inyega (Kenya), University of Nairobi, Assistant Professor

Presentation Topic: Transforming Early Childhood Teacher Education in Kenya – Early Grade Reading Curriculum (EGRIC)

Dr. Hellen Inyega is Language and Literacy Education Senior lecturer, Department of Educational Communication and Technology – University of Nairobi. She holds a PhD in Reading Education from the University of Georgia, USA. Apart from implementing USAID’s All Children Reading Early Grade Reading Instruction Curriculum at the University of Nairobi, Dr. Inyega also evaluates and provides technical support across Africa on: (1) Literacy project design, development, implementation, M&E (on relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact measures); (2) communications advocacy strategy; and (3) writing of technical and financial reports. She also develops print and electronic early grade reading instructional materials and assessments. She is well published in peer-reviewed journals and a member of International Reading Association and Multi-Lingual Education Network. She is President, Association of Reading of Kenya. Dr. Inyega remains a dedicated teacher educator, coach and mentor committed to providing direction on reading education development in Africa.


Melissa Alma R. Orencia

Melissa Alma R. Orencia (Philippines), Reading Association of the Philippines, President

Presentation Topic: Implementation of Online Learning in the Philippines – Challenges and Insights

Melissa Alma R. Orencia is a faculty member of the College of Teacher Development at the Philippine Normal University in Manila, Philippines. She completed a Master of Arts in Education degree with Reading specialization in the same university. She obtained her Bachelor of Science major in Psychology degree at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. She has been involved in teacher education in the last 15 years. She was formerly a classroom teacher in the early grades for three years. She served as Director of the Center for Educational Technology and Distance Education at the Philippine Normal University from 2007-2011. She was trained in several Intel Teach Program courses since 2003. She is a member of the International Reading Association and its International Development in Asia Committee. She currently serves as the President of the Reading Association of the Philippines.

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Other material:  Pilot Implemenation of Online Learning in the Phillipines: Challenges and Insights


tim powerTim Power (Australia), World Education Games and 3P Learning, Managing Director

Presentation Topic: New Technology and Literacy – World Literacy Day

Tim has played a central role in helping to create original technologies for learning including the World Education Games, Mathletics, Spellodrome, Into Science, ClickView, and more recently working with Blake ELearning to bring Reading Eggs to schools. 3P Learning has its research and development headquarters in Sydney, and education operations in 13 countries. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Sydney.

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Frank SchulenburgFrank Schulenburg (USA), Wiki Education Foundation, Executive Director

Presentation Topic: Wikipedia Zero

Frank Schulenburg is the Executive Director of the Wiki Education Foundation. He oversees Wikipedia Zero and the Global Education program, two of the Foundation’s flagship initiatives aimed at expanding the reach of the Wikimedia projects and the population of new contributors. In 2013, he started the Wikimedia movement’s first initiative on systematically evaluating the effectiveness and impact of different programs across countries. Since arriving at the Foundation in 2008 he has focused on broadening participation and developing the public understanding of Wikipedia, especially among subject matter experts. Frank has spoken globally about efforts to increase the relevance of Wikipedia in academia. In 2006, he founded Wikipedia Academy, an event aimed at cultivating dialogue between Wikipedia contributors and academics. In 2009, he initiated the Bookshelf Project, which created the first educational materials for new Wikipedia contributors. In 2010 he designed and implemented the Global Education Program, an initiative to encourage professors to assign their students to write Wikipedia articles for class. He has been involved with Wikipedia since 2005, both as an author and as a photographer. Many of his texts and images have achieved “featured article” and “featured picture” status, ranking them among the encyclopedia’s finest content. Throughout his career, Schulenburg has been passionate about providing free, understandable, high quality educational content for everyone.

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Henry SmithHenry Smith (UK), LendMeYourLiteracy.com, Founder

Presentation Topic: LendMeYourLiteracy – The Power of Giving Young Writers a Worldwide Audience

Henry is an experienced literacy leader and Year 6 teacher with a passion for children’s writing. He has been teaching for 15 years and has an outstanding record for helping children to make excellent, accelerated progress. His passion for children’s writing has led him to create LendMeYourLiteracy.com and he now shares his time travelling around schools delivering LMYL creative-writing workshops, teaching and leading in his own school in Leeds and publishing children’s writing on LMYL. Henry’s aim is to make LendMeYourLiteracy a prominent, supporting feature in many country’s curriculums around the world and inspire as many children as possible. He would be honoured and delighted to share this thoroughly exciting initiative that is impacting so spectacularly on young writers’ attainment and enjoyment, at such an exciting, prestigious event.

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Barriers to Learning

khalifehDr Khalifeh M. Abu-Ashour (Jordan), Yarmouk University, Associate Professor

Presentation topic: Why Don’t Children in Jordan Read?

An associate professor of educational administration, previous chair of the educational administration and foundations department, Yarmouk University, teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses at the college of education, received a doctorate of education from the State University of Oklahoma, USA. Dr. Abu-Ashour, lived and worked at the USA, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, participated in many educational programs in improving children and adults education, his research focuses on teachers preparation and educational development.

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kishorKishor Bhamre (India), Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children, Director

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Farida Lambay): The Right to Education of Vulnerable Children in India

Kishor joined Pratham in 2003 and has close to 10 years of field experience in the Development Sector. As Director of The Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children, Pratham’s dedicated Child Rights Programme, he is responsible for strategy planning, donor management and overall execution of all Pratham interventions falling under the purview of Child Rights Protection in India. He also plays a major role in advocacy efforts and works closely with State and Central Governments on key issues pertaining to Child Labour and Child Rights in India and currently serves on various State and National Government committees on Child Labour and Child Protection.

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ianDr Ian Cheffy (UK), SIL International, Literacy and Language Development Consultant

Presentation Topic: “It Doesn’t Put Food on the Table” and Other Good reasons why a Literate World is a Distant Hope

Ian Cheffy is a Literacy and Language Development Consultant with SIL International. After 10 years working in local language literacy and development programmes in Cameroon, he returned to the UK where he was involved in training SIL staff for work in minority language communities. Latterly, he was responsible for the MA Literacy Programme Development offered by SIL and validated by the University of Middlesex. His current work primarily concerns international advocacy and networking. He is a member of the British Association for Literacy in Development. His PhD (Lancaster University, 2008) explored the conceptions of literacy held by people in a local language area of northern Cameroon. His research has been published in Compare: a Journal of Comparative and International Education Vol 41:2 (2011).

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Fathi El-AshryDr Fathi El-Ashry (Egypt), Creative Associates International, Senior Associate for Literacy Instruction

Presentation Topic: Challenges and Approaches in Early Grade Reading in Arabic: A Yemen Case Study

Fathi El-Ashry, Ph.D. is a Senior Associate for Literacy Instruction with Creative Associates International. He has experience in teaching Arabic language instruction at the pre-service level in the Egyptian universities. He provided technical support to the Early Grade Reading Programs in MENA region in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen. He also presented in the policy dialogue workshops about Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) results in both Jordan and Iraq. He also provided teacher professional development support in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and United Arab Emirates.

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nastaranNastaran Jafari (Australia), Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction in Education Consultant

Presentation Topic: Innovation and Sharing Practices on Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction in Education

Nastaran Jafari is an independent consultant and technical advisor for Education in Emergencies (EiE), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education, humanitarian and development work. Nastaran’s work in EiE and DRR in education includes research and analysis, advocacy, training, capacity building and preparedness of Education Clusters (Ministries of Education, NDMO’s, NGO’s and UN) at country and regional level, DRR in education, stockpiling, evaluations, advisory to the UN Pacific and the Pacific Education Cluster and the development of education clusters, work plans, budgets and education sector analysis in the Asia Pacific region. Nastaran is a trained UN Global Education Cluster Coordinator and possess a teaching background for children and junior youth within Australia and overseas.

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Farida Lambay (India), Pratham Mumbai Education Initiative, Founder Trustee & Executive Secretary

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Kishor Bhamre): The Right to Education of Vulnerable Children in India

Farida has 25 years of experience as an education and social activist. She co-founded Pratham in 1994 and is responsible for the direct programs in Mumbai and Gujarat, as well as the Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children across India. In addition to her work at Pratham, she is former Vice Principal, Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai. She has been responsible for many progressive National policy changes in education and in child labour. She currently serves on the Government of India Committee on Child Labour & on Research in Education and was recently nominated a member of the National Advisory Committee, under the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986. She was also recently appointed member of the Maharashtra State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.

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Sara Elena Mendoza Ortega (Mexico), National Institute for Adult Education, Deputy Director

Presentation Topic: Indigenous Literacy in Mexico – Constructing Learning for Transformation

Professor of elementary education and Mexican social psychologist with graduate studies in social sciences, gender and human sexuality as well as literacy and adult education. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the field of education, public service, teaching, curriculum design and development of educational materials in different types and population issues. She has participated as a speaker at various national and international seminars and conferences, and has published articles in journals and collective works. Since 1997 she is Deputy Director in the Academic area of the National Institute for Adult Education (INEA) in Mexico.

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julieDr Julie Ruel (Canada), Pavillon du Parc, Interdisciplinary Chair in Literacy and Inclusion

Presentation Topic: Adult Literacy Competencies Development

Julie Ruel is associate researcher at Pavillon du Parc, rehabilitation center for people with intellectual disabilities or autistic spectrum disorders, in the province of Québec, Canada. She is chair-holder of the Interdisciplinary Chair in Literacy and Inclusion attached to Université du Québec en Outaouais where she is also Associate professor. The Chair promotes an inclusive perspective of literacy by calling communities and public services to share this responsibility and take into account the literacy levels of the populations they serve. Research targets the development, in various contexts, of strategies to enhance inclusion of segments of populations with low literacy in order to increase citizens’ participation, voice citizens’ opinions, and, doing so, to support inclusive communities.

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rachelDr Hanna Sauerborn (Germany), University of Education, Lecturer

Presentation Topic: Reading and Writing Acquisition for Children with Illiterate Parents

Dr Hanna Sauerborn-Ruhnau works as a primary school teacher as well as a lecturer at the university of education in Freiburg, Germany. Her research is mainly focused on the reading and writing acquistion, e.g. her phD thesis was about a longitudinal study exploring the correlation of several aspects of early literacy and the reading and writing abilities at the end of first grade. Working at a school in a deprived area, she teaches children from many different social and cultural backgrounds. She is a mother of three boys.

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wendyWendy Smith (USA), World Vision International, Senior Advisor, Child Learning

Presentation Topic: Child Friendly Spaces in Emergencies – Developing the Evidence Base through Rigorous Outcome and Impact Evaluations

Wendy Smith, M.A., is the Senior Advisor, Child Learning, at World Vision International. She has over 15 years of experience working on education and child protection programmes in conflict and disaster affected countries. Wendy has worked for many international organizations strengthening education programming, providing technical support, conducting research and shaping policy development. Wendy comes to education programming from a practitioner and academic background having taught research methods, education programming and sociology of education at several universities. Wendy began her career as a language teacher for inner-city special needs children in a bi-lingual education department. She holds dual French/American nationality and attended Colombia University Teachers’ College for her graduate studies.

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Innovative Programmes & Initiatives

BanihaniDr Mohammed Banihani (Jordan), Assistant Professor, Educational Administration and Foundations, Yarmouk University

Presentation Topic: Literacy Education in Jordan – a Continuous Educational Reform

Dr Mohammed Banihani is an Assistant Professor of Educational Administration and Foundations at the Yarmouk University in Jordan. Prior to teaching in Jordan, he taught at Minneapolis Public Schools in Minnesota, and particularly was involved in literacy programs for Somali immigrants. He has a PhD in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota in 2006. His research interest includes global education and educational reform in the Arab World. Dr. Banihani attends the WLS conference on behalf of the Association of the Arab Universities (AAU).

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Margaret-Chen-B&W-(1)Ms Margaret Chen (Australia), Reading in Colour, Creator

Presentation topic: Transforming Language and Literacy Exponentially

Margaret Chen is the Inventor/Originator of Reading in Colour, a colour-coded reading and writing system. She is an expert at generating reading success through Reading in Colour. Ms Chen is a fully qualified teacher of English as an Additional Language with 25 years of teaching experience. She holds a BA Degree in Modern Languages from Melbourne University and a Dip. Ed. from Monash University.

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Dr Rachel ChristinaDr Rachel Christina (USA), Education Development Centre, Inc., Senior Literacy Specialist

Presentation topic: Supporting Literacy at Scale in Challenging Contexts

Dr Rachel Christina is Principal International Technical Advisor and Senior Literacy Specialist at Education Development Center, Inc., where she leads EDC’s Basic Education and Literacy technical team and represents EDC’s global education portfolio. Her background includes policy analysis, program design, implementation, and evaluation related to educator professional development; school-community relations; pre-K to Grade 12 quality; early literacy; and institutional advocacy and capacity building, with a particular focus on education reforms in the Middle East and the United States.

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jacksonDr James T Jackson (USA), Independent Research Professional

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr Kellee Jenkins and Dr Katina January-Vance): Using Reader’s Theatre to Promote Fluency in Struggling Readers

James T. Jackson, Ph.D., M.F.A. – Is a former Associate Professor of Special Education at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and the George Washington University. He has also worked as a public school teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland and Memphis, Tennessee. His area of expertise is in preparing teachers to serve students with special needs. He has conducted professional development workshops in a variety of areas for school districts. His research interests include identifying stress and its impact on learning and behavior; classroom ecology and its effect on learning; using the arts as a teaching tool for students; and effective strategies to promote inclusive education. He serves on various boards and has conducted evaluations for the United States Department of Education. He is the former Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Howard University.

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Dr Katina January-Vance (USA), Research Professional

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr Kellee Jenkins and Dr James T Jackson): Using Reader’s Theatre to Promote Fluency in Struggling Readers

Dr Katina January – Vance, Ed.D, M.Ed., has experience in urban PK-12 schools, higher education, policy agencies and the federal government.  She’s held positions as a teacher, administrator, assistant professor, adjunct professor, university interim department chair, director of field placement, grant administrator, supervisor of student teachers, program manager, contractor and consultant. Her research interests include mentoring and urban teacher education and leadership.

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Kellee JenkinsDr Kellee Jenkins (USA), Educator/Research Professional

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr James T. Jackson and Dr Katina January Vance): Using Reader’s Theatre to Promote Fluency in Struggling Readers

Kellee Jenkins, Ph.D. – Earned her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in Literacy, Language, and Culture.  She has over 13 years of teaching and leadership experiences in education. Her various roles include work as an English teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, college professor and consultant.  Her research interests span teacher preparation, adolescent literacy, urban education, and school reform.  She is particularly interested in community development through the use of literacy-focused programming.

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Natalia KissockNatalia Kissock (USA), Edina High School, ESL Teacher

Presentation Topic: Diverse Students + Learning Communities + Multiple Strategies = Academic Success

Natalia Kissock has graduate degrees in Philology, Second Languages and Cultures, and Reading and has taught English as a foreign language in Russia and as a second language in the USA. She has taught in urban, suburban, and rural communities and conducted in-service training for teachers on strategies for developing literacy skills for second language learners. She presented at international (Oman) and state (Minnesota) conferences.

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Joseph O\ReillyJoseph Nhan-O’Reilly (Thailand), Save the Children, Senior Education Adviser

Presentation Topic: First Read: Supporting Families with Young Children Learn Together

Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly has over twenty years’ experience in international development. He is currently a Senior Education Adviser at Save the Children, the world’s largest independent child rights organization. Based in Asia he works with a global team to increase children’s access to quality education. He is passionate about extending the benefits of literacy and has led the development and implementation of numerous literacy related initiatives. He is the founder of First Read which combines innovative approaches to commercial book development, book gifting and parenting education to support the development of pre-school aged children’s critical emergent literacy skills and behaviours.

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lynneDr Lynne Paradis (Canada), University of Alberta, Adjunct Professor

Presentation Topic: Innovations in to Improving Literacy: Optimising Community Involvement for Empowered Local Support

Dr. Paradis  has 34 years of experience in  education and retired in 2012 from the Superintendent of  Learning Services in Red Deer Catholic School Division   where she had responsibilities for all curriculum and technology, professional development of teachers, educational leadership development  and strategic planning.  Between 2008 and 2012 she also had specialized duties in addressing Literacy advancement in schools and implementation of successful Inclusion education practices which involved age appropriate placement of students in all classrooms including the growing population of immigrant and refugee students to schools – most of which were illiterate in English, and in many cases illiterate in their first languages.

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rajiRaji Satyamurthy (India), Every Child Counts Citizens Campaign, Program Director

Presentation Topic: Every Child Counts Citizens’ Campaign for Universal Elementary Education

Ms Raji Satyamurthy is the Program Director for Every Child Counts (ECC) – Citizens’ Campaign at Door Step School, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that works towards the literacy of educationally marginalised children in India. With a Masters in Computer Science and an overall experience of nearly two and a half decades, she has been consulting with Door Step School since September 2010, helping to set up structures for new programs including developing the methodology, processes and measures of impact. She jointly wrote and published a working paper on the ECC Citizens’ Campaign, an innovative program for universal elementary education, for Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS), Mumbai. Her current work is on developing partnerships for expanding the ECC program and developing grass-root level programs addressing barriers to universal enrolment and literacy for migrant communities.

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rudiDr Rudi Venter (South Africa), Oxford University Press, Literacy and Language Publisher

Presentation Topic: Innovative Publishing for Transforming Illiteracy

Dr Rudi MR Venter is a publisher of literacy and language titles at OUPSA and a research fellow in Publishing Studies and Book History at the University of the Free State. Over the last two curriculum reforms he had many successes in publishing literacy and language titles for primary and secondary school level (2009-2013). Before becoming a school book publisher, he trained future publishers at the University of Pretoria and spearheaded pioneering research on the statistical monitoring of the SA publishing industry (2000-2008). He holds a PhD (2006) on the transformation of fiction publishing in the South African publishing system and is a member of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). He delivered several papers at international conferences and published articles in local and international scholarly journals.

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Teaching Methodologies and Professional Development

Temechegn EngidaDr Temechegn Engida (Ethiopia), UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), Programme Officer

Presentation Topic: Capacity Building Pathways to Literate Worlds

Dr Temechegn Engida has been the Programme Officer for ICT Use in Education at the UNESCO-International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) since October 2003. He has been designing and implementing many education and ICT projects for Africa, some of which are the ICT-enhanced Teacher Standards for AfricaICT-enhanced Teacher Development Model, and Contextualizing Science Teacher Education in Africa Using OpenSource Software. Prior to this, he spent about 15 years in the Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Education, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate (MA and PhD) courses as well as researching and advising research works through face-to-face and distance modes. He was the first Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Programs of the Faculty of Education in the AAU. He served as the founding President of the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry and is serving as Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Chemical EducationFind Dr Engida on Facebook | Find Dr Engida on Linked In

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evansDr R. Lynn Evans (USA), Creative Associates International, Senior Associate for Literacy

Presentation Topic: What Makes the Difference in Early Grade Reading?

R. Lynn Evans, Ph.D. is a Senior Associate for Literacy Instruction with Creative Associates International. She is a certified K-12 reading specialist with experience in teaching reading at all levels – preschool, primary, middle school and high school. She worked with the Louisiana Department of Education as a statewide technical assistant with the Special Plan Upgrading Reading (SPUR) school improvement process and with Louisiana State University’s Office of Education Research in the development of the Louisiana Teacher Evaluation System and Teacher Internship Program. Since 1993, Dr. Evans has been involved in international development work in literacy, teacher professional development and program evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and Central America. She is the former director of the Improving Educational Quality II Project.

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Ellen GroteDr Ellen Grote (Australia), Research Consultant

Presentation Topic: Developing Code-Switching Skills

Dr Ellen Grote has a background in applied linguistics and consults for university research centres and various government departments. Her research areas include Aboriginal English and cross-cultural communication in education, vocational education training, legal and justice contexts as well as Aboriginal Education more generally. She has published journal articles and book chapters on Aboriginal English and second language acquisition.

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ColinColin Harrison (UK), University of Nottingham/MESH, Emeritus Professor of Literacy Studies in Education

Presentation Topic: The MESH Spelling Guide

Colin Harrison taught high school English in the UK for seven years, and went on to become an educational researcher and teacher educator. He was a founding editor of the Journal of Research in Reading, has been President of the UK Reading Association, was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the International Citation of Merit of the International Reading Association in 2010. Between 1990 and 2010, he led over 30 funded research projects, mostly in the areas of reading and new technology. He has been Emeritus Professor of Literacy Studies in Education at the University of Nottingham since 2010, and has been Visiting Professor at Virginia Tech (1986) and the University of Texas at Austin (2007). He developed the MESH Spelling Guide for Teachers, an online professional development resource, which in its first two months was accessed by over 1000 users from 49 different countries.

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Craig KissockDr Craig Kissock (USA), Educators Abroad Ltd., Founder and Director

Presentation Topic: Testing a Model for Educating Literacy Educators

Beginning as a teacher educator in 1967 Dr Craig Kissock has taught in the USA, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. Since 1987 he has directed programs providing intercultural personalized professional development experiences in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in 67 countries for over 3,000 pre and in-service educators from 17 countries on four continents, including students from over 160 colleges and universities. He is active in national and international organizations of teacher educators, has co-edited journals representing the viewpoints of teacher educators in several countries, and promotes teaching and teacher education as global professions.

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marilynleaskDr Marilyn Leask (UK), University of Bedfordshire/MESH, Research Professor

Presentation Topic: Reducing the £80 billion annual waste of educational resources through MESH

Dr Marilyn Leask is a specialist in Educational Knowledge Management through the application of digital technologies to support teacher professional learning. She has worked in several UK universities and two national government agencies. She has initiated and project managed a number of innovative projects funded by government and other sources focused on using digital technologies to make the evidence base for educational practice more accessible to all stakeholders: teachers, teacher educators, policy makers, parents and learners themselves. She is co-editor of the main text books used for the training of secondary teachers in the UK.

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fionaFiona Nevola (UK), The Sound Reading System, Programme Developer

Presentation Topic: Teaching the Alphabet Code as analysed by Dr Diane McGuinness

Fiona Nevola is a graduate of the University of Sussex and holds an MSc from Oxford University. She has been a primary and middle school classroom teacher in both the public and independent sectors for over thirty years and was Head of English in two schools. Throughout her teaching career she was made acutely aware of the confusion in the methods used to teach reading and spelling and witnessed how many children struggled. It was only after studying Dr Diane McGuinness, Why Children Can’t Read in 1998 and following training that introduced a new way of teaching that she decided to redirect her career. She turned her energies fully towards the practice and further development of this remarkably logical approach to the teaching of reading, one that is underpinned by radical insights into the English alphabet spelling code. The Sound Reading System is a synthesis of hers and other’s practical teaching experience, based on the original concepts of Diane McGuinness and written with her support. Fiona has recently been nominated as one of the Westbourne 100: the most outstanding campaigns of the past 12 months for changing opinion.

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Dr Deborah O'ConnorDr Deborah O’Connor (USA), National Louis University, Assistant Professor

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Monica Haydee Ramos): Cultural Immersion to Support Racially and Ethnically Diverse Future Teachers

With 30 plus years in the field of education, Dr O’Connor brings rich experience in the area of mathematics and culturally responsive pedagogy. She began her career as a mathematics teacher in an urban Chicago high school, which led to the opportunity to help write math curriculum designed to meet the initial NCTM standards. Later Dr. O’Connor provided professional development for Chicago area private schools in math. The professional development spanned the actual writing of the curriculum as well as direct classroom instructional support for teachers. Her work with culturally responsive pedagogy has been grounded in the realm of teacher preparation, beginning a collaboration between Carperntersville District 300, McHenry County College and National-Louis University. She has continued to focus on working collaboratively with other school districts and building partnerships. Additionally, Dr O’Connor has spent the last 17 years teaching in higher education working with elementary education pre-service teachers at the undergraduate level, redesigning curriculum, serving as grant project manager, and analyzing effective instruction and assessment practices. Her research has focused on identifying and deepening culturally responsive classroom practices.

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Susan OffuttDr Susan Offutt (USA), National Louis University, Executive Director of the McCormick Center

Presentation Topic: Leadership Matters – Supporting Leadership Development in Early Childhood Education

Dr. Susan Offutt is the Executive Director of the McCormick Center and an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at National Louis University. As Executive Director, Sue provides leadership and oversees the day-to-day operations that relate to the orchestration of tasks and establishment of systems to attain the McCormick Center’s vision. Her responsibilities include project and operations management, grantwriting and fundraising, public relations, and board management. Sue has extensive experience in building programs across education, health, and human service arenas. Much of her success in building projects is related to her ability to not only see the vision, but to also know how to operationalise it and get the work done. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota, USA.

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Kathy PerezDr Katherine D. Perez (USA), Saint Mary’s College of California, Professor of Education

Presentation Topic: Transforming School Cultures through Teacher Leadership in Literacy

Dr. Katherine Perez, an award-winning classroom teacher, administrator and author has worked with students from preschoolers to college graduates. Dr. Perez is currently a Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California, Director of Teaching Leadership and Coordinator of Professional Development and Outreach. A dynamic presenter, and “education evangelist,” she has the experience to captivate and motivate her audiences.

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Monica RamosMonica Haydee Ramos (USA), National Louis University, CTPP Student Success Coach

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Dr Deborah O’Connor): Cultural Immersion to Support Racially and Ethnically Diverse Future Teachers

Monica Haydee Ramos is the Chicago Teacher Partnership Program Student Success Coach in the Undergraduate Program at National Louis University. Native from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and first generation student, holds a Bachelors of Arts in Education and Human Development from the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (UNIVA) Guadalajara and a Masters of Arts in Adult Education and Literacy from National Louis University. In her current role, she supports NLU’s undergraduate students by applying a holistic approach to student success; this has lead to a better retention rate and student involvement in several extracurricular activities. Her efforts on retention and unparallel student experience led to the approval of her proposal to the Direction of International Relations in the Secretary of Education in Jalisco. Mrs. Ramos, 10 elementary education students and 3 professors from National Louis University traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico on a Cultural Responsive Pedagogy and Inclusion experience on November 2012.

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Patricia SaulDr Patricia Saul (Barbados), Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Deputy Principal

Presentation Topic: Writing across the genres: A study of syntactic maturity in the written discourse of 11-12 year olds Barbadian Students

Dr Patricia Saul has been a teacher for the past thirty-nine years during which time she has taught at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. She holds a Ph.D in Linguistics, a Master of Arts Degree in the Teaching of English, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature, Linguistics and Education with honours, and a Certificate in Educational Management and Administration with distinction. Dr Saul is a researcher who has investigated reading levels in Barbados and other islands of the Caribbean. She has also conducted seminars and workshops throughout the island on literacy education. In 2007, Dr Saul became coordinator for the National Reading Programme in Barbadian schools. Currently, Dr Saul is the Deputy Principal of Erdiston Teachers’ Training College where she lectures in English. She is also the current Vice President of the Barbados Association of Reading.

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Dr Wolfgang Vollmann (France), Kathmandu University, Visiting Professor

Presentation Topic: Literacy Facilitators or Literacy Teachers?

Dr Wolfgang Vollmann, after initial studies in sociology and social anthropology, obtained in Paris (France) a diploma in oriental languages, and in 1975 a doctorat (PhD) in Southeast Asian anthropology. He worked since 1976 with UNESCO, essentially in the field of education. He was especially responsible for Education for All projects, like the programme on the nine high-population countries. He was, from 2002 to 2006 director of the UNESCO office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he became particularly involved in various literacy projects. His publications refer in the early period to anthropology in Southeast Asia, while in the last 20 years he published several articles on basic education, literacy and TVET. He is since 2007 a visiting professor with the Kathmandu University, and continues to deliver lectures with NGOs and universities, for example AIUB, in Bangladesh.

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A Focus on Africa

Stephen BlundenStephen Blunden (UK), Link Community Development, CEO

Presentation Topic:  Education For All? Case Study: Literacy Standards in Rural Schools in Ethiopia

Stephen Blunden is the CEO of Link Community Development, an NGO working in partnership with Ministry of Education and local government in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda, to improve the quality of education.  Steve has been leading a discussion within Link focused on the extent to which teachers’ command of English, particularly in rural primary schools, is a critical limiting factor where English is the medium of instruction. Steve has been working in international development for 30 years, including 15 years based in South Africa.

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Gareth DartGareth Dart (UK), Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) / University of Worcester

Presentation Topic: Open Pathways to Literate Worlds

Gareth has worked in Botswana for 8 years developing, running and monitoring programmes around special and inclusive education for pre and in-service teachers. He has also carried out major evaluations in that field for the Government of Botswana and the British Council. He is currently a course leader in Education Studies at the University of Worcester, UK, whilst also being involved in developing OER teacher educator materials in Zambia with TESSA and helping to manage projects in Malawi and Zambia aimed at improving educational inclusion for children and young people with albinism. Email: G.dart@worc.ac.ukUniversity of Worcester – Gareth Dart

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Ifeoma EsiriIfeoma Esiri (Nigeria), Zaccheus Onumba Dibiazue Memorial Libraries (ZODML),  Co-founder and Executive Co-chair

Presentation Topic: Barriers to Learning – a Nigerian Perspective

Mrs. Ifeoma Lilian Esiri is a co-founder and Executive Co-chair of Zaccheus Onumba Dibiazue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), an NGO in Nigeria’s education sector. Established in 1998, ZODML’s mission is to provide channels through which people can freely access information and learning tools. ZODML has a community library, libraries in local government primary schools and prisons, and an Internet Learning Centre serving state secondary schools. It runs reading programmes and other extracurricular activities for government school children. Ifeoma Esiri holds L.L.B and LL.M degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a trustee of Child Lifeline, a notary public, a life trustee of the Capital Markets Solicitors’ Association, Nigeria, a non-executive director of StanbicIBTC Bank PLC and StanbicIBTC Asset Management Ltd.

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jean-pierre-ezinDr Jean-Pierre Ezin (Benin), Commissioner for Education,  Science & Culture, ECOWAS

Presentation Topic: Policy-based Pathways to Literate Worlds

Dr Jean-Pierrre Ezin is the Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture for ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) and is an honorary Professor  at Institut de Mathématiques et de Sciences Physiques(IMSP) of Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Bénin. He obtained a Doctorat d’Etat in 1981 at Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille I ,France. His scientific interests are global analysis, Riemannian and pseudo-Riemannian Geometries, and science and technology policy. Professor Ezin’s memberships include Société Mathématique de France, American Mathematical Society, Senior Associate Fellow of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries, Board of International Science and Engineering of USA, National Science Foundation and Swedish International Science Programme. He is Chair of  the French Conseil d’Orientation de l’Agence Inter-établissements de Recherche pour le Développement. Professor Ezin was African Union Commissioner in charge of Education, Youth, Science and Technology from 2008-2013. He is the founder and first director of IMSP, a basic sciences graduate school. Profssor Ezin has been granted a number of awards including Palmes Académiques Françaises, Palmes Académiques du Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES), and Ordre National du Bénin.

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lindaLinda Hiebert (USA), World Vision International, Senior Director, Global Education and Life Skills

Presentation Topic: Partnership for Improved Learning – Impact, Results and Reflections

Linda Hiebert is the Senior Director for Global Education and Life Skills at World Vision International. With over 25 years of experience in international development, Linda’s career began as a volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee in Vietnam. She later worked with several NGOs, including Save the Children, in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia. Since coming to World Vision nine years ago, Linda has served as a program officer, the Senior Director for Asia, and the VP for Asia, Africa, the Middle East/ Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Linda has a Bachelor in Nursing, and a Master’s degree in Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

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susanmSusan Mensah (UK), Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, Director for the Girl Child Initiative

Presentation Topic: The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation

Susan is Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation’s Director for the Girl Child Initiative. She project manages programmes throughout Africa – specifically in Nigeria and Liberia promoting quality education and programmes such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education programmes, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes and Gender Responsive Accelerated Vocational Technical Programmes for adolescent girls (GRAVTP). She is also responsible for spearheading the launch of the Foundation’s Literacy Campaign which focuses on advancing and increasing literacy rates for women and girls in Africa.


markMark Millin (South Africa), University of Stellenbosch, Doctoral Student

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Tracey Millin): Scaffolding Academic Literacy – Narrowing the Literacy Skills Gap in South Africa

Mark Millin is a Doctoral student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in the Department of Economics. His research interests are in the field of The Economics of Education – global public spending on education patterns and literacy development. Mark has been lecturing undergraduate Economics at the University of Natal /KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa since 2002. Given Mark’s interests in Economics and Education, after completing his Masters in Economics in 2003, he went on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and was afforded the opportunity of reading for a Masters in Education at The University of Edinburgh in 2010/2011. Mark Millin is a Doctoral student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in the Department of Economics. His research interests are in the field of The Economics of Education – global public spending on education patterns and literacy development. Mark has been lecturing undergraduate Economics at the University of Natal /KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa since 2002. Given Mark’s interests in Economics and Education, after completing his Masters in Economics in 2003, he went on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and was afforded the opportunity of reading for a Masters in Education at The University of Edinburgh in 2010/2011.

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traceyTracey Millin (South Africa), University of Stellenbosch, Doctoral Student

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Mark Millin): Scaffolding Academic Literacy – Narrowing the Literacy Skills Gap in South AfricaTracey Millin is a full time Doctoral student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in the Department of General Linguistics. She has a special interest in Emancipatory Education and Educational Linguistics and hopes to focus her current research on the effects of specialised literacy interventions in an effort to eradicate educational inequality in South Africa. Tracey has been teaching Academic Literacy; English, and English Language Development since 2010 and hopes to make use of her experience, and research, to develop University Transition/Bridging courses for South African students entering the Tertiary sector. Tracey completed her undergraduate studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and was given the opportunity to read for a Masters degree in Education at The University of Edinburgh in 2010/2011. Tracey Millin is a full time Doctoral student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in the Department of General Linguistics. She has a special interest in Emancipatory Education and Educational Linguistics and hopes to focus her current research on the effects of specialised literacy interventions in an effort to eradicate educational inequality in South Africa. Tracey has been teaching Academic Literacy; English, and English Language Development since 2010 and hopes to make use of her experience, and research, to develop University Transition/Bridging courses for South African students entering the Tertiary sector. Tracey completed her undergraduate studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and was given the opportunity to read for a Masters degree in Education at The University of Edinburgh in 2010/2011.

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Barbara TrudellDr Barbara Trudell (USA), SIL Africa, Director of Research and Advocacy

Presentation Topic: Literacy in Africa – Tool of Global Conformity, or Instrument of Empowerment?

Dr Barbara Trudell is the Director of Research and Advocacy for SIL Africa. A citizen of the USA, Barbara has spent most of her adult life in the two-thirds world. She earned her PhD in international education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her background includes community-level literacy program facilitation, leadership of country-level literacy program initiatives, capacity-building among literacy consultant trainees, and consulting for agencies such as UNESCO, USAID and DfID. Barbara’s research experience has included studies of: language and education choices in Cameroon; language and reading methodology in Kenya; civil society literacy organizations in Senegal; nonformal education alternatives in Burkina Faso; and local-language literacy acquisition processes in Peru. Recent publications have focused on language, literacy and sustainable development; reading and culture; globalization and education in Africa; community processes of language development; the use of African languages in formal education; and language policy formulation and implementation.

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The Bigger Picture: Looking Towards the Future

michaelDr Michael Brooks (Canada), Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030, Summit Curator

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Sam Levin & Susan Opok): A Blueprint for Ethical Learning Michael Brooks is an author, journalist, and broadcaster with a PhD in quantum physics. He is a consultant at New Scientist and writes a weekly column for New Statesman. He is the author of the bestselling 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense and Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science. Combining his passion for education with journalistic scrutiny, he is leading the team charged with assessing promising learning pathways for the decades ahead and reporting recommendations in the Equinox Blueprint.

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Other Material: Equinox Blueprint


Anthony CreeDr Anthony Cree O.A.M. (Australia), Chairman of the World Literacy Summit 2014

Presentation Topic: Indigenous Literacy in Australia

Dr Anthony Cree was the founding Chairman of the 2012 World Literacy Summit and has played an important role in raising awareness of literacy as a critical issue in developing countries and also in inner-city areas in developed countries. He is the Chairman of the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation in Australia and for over 25 years he has been involved with Indigenous education projects in conjunction with governments, universities and schools. Dr Cree has held positions in universities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States and has a particular interest in Educational Philosophy, with special reference to teacher training. At the 2014 Summit, he will speak on the role of ethics in literacy, and the impact that will come from improved literacy rates in both established and developing cultures.


ps_2014_03_20___11_12_14Dr Ann-Lorraine Edwards (USA), SUNY @ Oswego

Presentation Topic: Linking Financial Literacy to World Literacy Efforts

Dr Edwards holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Higher Educational Administration & Policy Studies from the State University of New York/Albany. Appointed to the Business faculty at the State University of New York @ Oswego in 2005, Dr. Edwards teaches introductory and advanced courses in business administration. Her research interests include:  academic-business alliances; cultural heritage and economic development; entrepreneurship in emerging markets, and change management efforts.


Norman GillespieDr Norman Gillespie (Australia), UNICEF Australia, CEO

Presentation Topic: The Power and Promise of Literacy

Dr Norman Gillespie is Chief Executive of UNICEF Australia and a vocal advocate for child rights. He has seen UNICEF’s work on the frontline in many of the world’s most challenging regions. He brings experience from the commercial, arts and philanthropic sectors, having held major public roles as CEO of the Sydney Opera House for five years and CFO and Deputy CEO of Optus, Director of Finance and Planning for BP Exploration in North America, and Head of the Chairman’s Private Office at BP HQ. He is passionate about education as the most effective and sustainable investment to break the cycle of poverty causing such inequity in developing countries, especially the education of girls. Dr Gillespie is a frequent media commentator, speaker and panelist on child rights and international aid. In May 2013 he was appointed to UNICEF’s worldwide Executive Standing Group of National Committees.

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Nathan GrillsDr Nathan Grills (Australia), University of Melbourne/Nossal Institute for Global Health, Public Health Physician (FAFPHM)

Presentation Topic: Bringing Literacy to those with Disabilities

Nathan Grills, a Public Health Physician and NHMRC post doctoral fellow, works largely in India on disability, non-communicable diseases and health curriculum development and training.  He has worked as a Public Health Fellow (Dept. of Health) and prior to that, after completing his MPH and DPhil at Oxford University, he worked with CDC / WHO on HIV and civil society partnerships.   He has international experience in Africa, Fiji, East Timor, PNG, Bangladesh and Nepal. He currently facilitates a Network of programs who work together to help train Community Health Workers to serve the under-served (www.chgnukc.org). He has faculty positions with Melbourne University, the Public Health Foundation of India, the Emmanuel Health Association (India) and is the international coordinator for the Community Health Global Network.


Sam Levin (USA), The Independent Project, Founder

Presentation Topic (co-presenting (co-presenting with Michael Brooks & Susan Opok): A Blueprint for Ethical Learning

Sam Levin is the founder of two innovative, student-centred programs at Monument Mountain High School—Project Sprout and The Independent Project. In its first summer, after digging up a disused football field and acquiring funding, seeds and tools, the community garden at the heart of Project Sprout had provided over 1000 pounds of vegetables to local shelters and people in need. By the time Sam graduated, produce from the expanded garden and orchard was featured in three meals a week in his school’s cafeteria and other schools in the region had embarked on their own similar gardening projects. Sam recognized that in the garden, the kids had control, responsibility and ownership. With that in mind, he and seven other students embarked on the first year of The Independent Project, a student-run school-within-a-school. Sam had created a pathway for students to pursue individual endeavours and explore conventional academic subjects in new, investigative ways. In Fall 2013, Sam took part in Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 and contributed to the Equinox Blueprint’s learning centred vision. He currently studies biology at Oxford University and enjoys writing science fiction and camping.

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Other Material: Equinox Blueprint


RosemaryRosemary McCarney (Canada), Plan Canada, President & CEO

Presentation Topic: Aid – Dead or Live?

Rosemary McCarney is an award-winning humanitarian and business leader, a recognized public speaker and author and an expert on international economic development. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Plan International Canada Inc. (Plan Canada), one of the oldest and largest charities in Canada and a member of the global Plan Federation. Rosemary has had an extensive international career in law, business and the not-for-profit sector, having worked in more than 100 countries. Prior to joining Plan Canada she was the Executive Director of Street Kids International. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours. Rosemary has written for several publications and is a guest writer for Huffington Post. She is asked to appear regularly on national and international radio and television programmes. This spring she is launching a series of children’s books on social and rights issues affecting children in Canada and around the world, with Second Story Press.

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Joseph O\ReillyJoseph Nhan-O’Reilly (Thailand), Save the Children, Senior Education Adviser

Presentation Topic: More Children Reading More and Better Books

See biography above in ‘Innovative Programmes and Initiatives’.


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Other material: Bigger Picture



James OmearaJames O’Meara (USA), International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET), President

Presentation Topic: Catalytic Pathways to Literate Worlds

Professor James O’Meara is based at National Louis University in Chicago. His current academic research examines the contributions of transformational pedagogic content knowledge and catalytic communities to the achievement of the Secretary General’s Global Education First initiative priorities of improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship. Prof. O’Meara serves as the President of the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET), an INGO currently delivering its third consecutive teacher capacity building project in Africa through the support of the UNESCO Participation Program. Prof. O’Meara is also a member of the UNESCO NGO Liaison Committee, where he works to advance collaborations between UNESCO and INGO’s by internationalizing UNESCO educational initiatives. His current cross-sector work includes collaborating with the UNESCO Bangkok regional office, the African Scientific Institute, the Friends of the African Union, and the Education Futures Collaboration (MESH initiative).

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Susan Opok (Uganda), Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS), Uganda Managing Director

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Michael Brooks & Sam Levin): A Blueprint for Ethical Learning

Susan Opok directs the Ugandan operations of PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), an NGO that works to give all African children access to affordable, high-quality secondary education. Now that many African countries try to provide universal primary education, secondary schooling has become the biggest bottleneck in the educational pipeline. Uganda, for example, now gives primary schooling to more than 90% of its children, but few of those can afford to go on to secondary schools. PEAS addresses this problem by building and staffing new private secondary schools in underserved areas and making sure they have the income—from government grants, student fees, and school-based farms and other initiatives—to keep tuition costs low. It’s working: PEAS schools welcome students from disadvantaged families, yet their students often perform better than the national average on government tests. Susan’s goal is not just to provide school facilities, but also to improve the quality of learning. To this end, she and her team have explored how changes to curriculum and teaching methods can help students take a more active role in class—especially girls, who often tend to be passive observers in conventional classrooms. She also works hard to engage parents and the wider community in appreciating the value of secondary education for boys and girls equally.

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Other Material: Equinox Blueprint – pdf


Betina Przybylak (Australia), La Trobe University, Assistant Professor Educational Studies

Presentation Topic: Literacy Standards for a Modern World

Betina Przybylak is a teacher education lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia, and is studying a Doctor of Education at The University of Melbourne.  She teaches into primary and secondary programs in areas related to critical multiliteracies and action based inquiry learning, with a passion for innovative practices that support and develop sustainable and equitable futures.  Her research interests relate to critical multiliteracy pedagogies and issues; pre-service teacher identity, narrative methodologies and academic working life.  She holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Melbourne, and has nearly ten years teaching experience in diverse socio-cultural settings in Australia and New Zealand. Personal Blog: http://teachingtheuniverseandeverything.wordpress.com/ | Follow Betina Przybylak on Twitter

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Ehsanur RahmanDr Ehsanur Rahman (Bangladesh), Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Executive Director

Presentation Topic: Grassroots Pathways to Literate Worlds in Bangladesh

Dr. Ehsanur Rahman is active in the education sector over last twenty years. At the national and international level, he contributed significantly in capacity development of non-formal and adult education personnel including planners, managers, curriculum developers and field level implementers. In development of education resource packages, he closely worked with various national and international teams. As member of UNESCO resource team, his significant contribution in the Asia-Pacific regional scenario of adult literacy is researching on the status of literacy and non-formal education as a tool for empowerment of the poor. At present he is working relentlessly to promote Community Learning Centre approach as strategy to facilitate lifelong learning by poor and marginalized people. Dr. Rahman is currently the Executive Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Syndicate Member of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, and Governing Body member of Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah Teachers Training College, besides engagements in other social organizations. Email: ehsan1155@gmail.comed@ahsaniamission.org.bd | Find Dr Rahman on Facebook  |Dr Ehsanur Rahman on LinkedIn | Skype: ehsan.dhaka

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teresa stoneTeresa Stone, Derrimut Primary School, Principal

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Katherine Wynack): Diversity and Closing the Opportunity Gap in the West

Teresa is the principal of Derrimut PS in Melbourne Australia. As a curriculum leader she has led a number of schools in exploring, developing and embedding inquiry learning and e-learning fluencies. She has led a variety of professional development in Australia and New Zealand for school leaders, developing 21st century pedagogy and curriculum which have involved: developing curriculum in line with Inquiry learning and higher order thinking skills; developing curriculum and professional development for primary and secondary teachers and parent groups; developing student voice and student led conferences; and developing the whole child.

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Isabelle TurmaineIsabelle Turmaine (France), International Association of Universities (IAU), Director, Information Centre and Services

Presentation Topic: Higher Education Pathways to Literate Worlds

Isabelle Turmaine is the Director of the Information Centre and Communication Services of the International Association of Universities (IAU), a UNESCO-based Non-Governmental Organization, located in Paris, France representing higher education institutions and organizations of 120 countries. At IAU, she is responsible for information collection and dissemination; the supervision of different reference publications  (both in print and online); the management of bibliographic and factual databases; the website and e-bulletin. She is also in charge of different projects which revolve around digital literacy, e-accessibility, Open Educational Resources (OER), and Education for All (EFA). Prior to joining IAU, she was in charge of the implementation, in Africa, of e-campuses for the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF). She holds a post-graduate diploma in information technologies.

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Katherine WynackKatherine Wynack (Australia), Derrimut Primary School, Assistant Principal

Presentation Topic (co-presenting with Teresa Stone): Diversity and Closing the Opportunity Gap in the West

Katherine Wynack has been an educator in the Western suburbs of Melbourne for nearly 15 years. She is passionate about working with new and diverse communities. In 2009 she accepted a secondment to the DEECD in the Innovation and Next Practise division, to work on teacher trials of web 2.0 tools and technologies across Victoria which ignited her passion for innovative learning. She has been part of the team that set up and grew Derrimut PS, a unique school setting which challenges traditional pedagogies. More recently she has lectured at Victoria University in the Graduate program, delivering “New Learning” centred around 21st century pedagogies. She has a Masters in Educational Leadership and a passion for connecting with future learners in a way which is meaningful to them and their world. Katherine has presented at a range of conferences including the Victorian Innovation Showcase, the annual VITTA conference and has worked with a range of schools on developing personalised learning and utilising learning technologies.

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