Inauguration and Welcome Address
Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands will be providing the Welcome Address and inaugurating the World Literacy Summit. H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands is passionate about empowerment, inter-generational dialogue and social innovation.
She is an expert on literacy and sustainability. In 2004 she founded the Reading & Writing Foundation, which has since developed into a 100-strong team working to prevent and reduce illiteracy in the Netherlands and Europe-wide.
The Princess is UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, and in 2012 served as Chair of the EU High-Level Group of Experts on Literacy, appointed by the European Commissioner for Education. On behalf of the European Commission, they delivered a groundbreaking report. She strongly believes literacy and basic skills serve as a precondition for success in other areas like employment, poverty, social protection, labour markets, citizenship but also prevention of radicalisation.
Tony Cree, CEO of Aboriginal Literacy Foundation
Tony Cree has been Chair of the World Literacy Council since 2010 also, Founder and CEO of the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation has been involved in Aboriginal Literacy for more than 20 years. He received the UN Volunteer Medal for Education in 2003 and the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Tony has held a range of administrative and lecturer positions over the last thirty years at a number of local and international universities. Tony studied at Oxford University UK and Monash University in Australia.
In 2000, Tony was awarded the United Nations Volunteer Medal (for education) and in 2003, he was awarded membership of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his outstanding work with the Victoria Day Council, and the advancement of Victoria.
Noella Coursaris Musunka, Founder of Malaika
Philanthropist and international model Noella Coursaris Musunka is the Founder of Malaika, a grassroots nonprofit that works to educate and empower girls and communities in her native country of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a Champion for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Noella will be presenting on her organisation, Malaika in Democratic Republic of Congo and its importance to girls’ empowerment, education and literacy.
Nadia Naviwala, Advisor, The Citizens Foundation
Nadia is an advisor to The Citizens Foundation and a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center. She serves on the board of a governmental education foundation that does PPPs and non-formal education in Pakistan. She has written for NYT, Devex, and Foreign Policy. She is a Harvard Kennedy School alumna.
Nadia will be presenting on the “Aagahi Literacy Programme for Women and Out of School Girls” which won UNESCO’s Confucius Prize for Literacy-2017.
Lennart Meijer, Sun Books Uganda
Lennart Meijer is the Director of Sun Books Uganda, an initiative of the World Literacy Foundation. His expertise is in the areas of digital literacy, education and teacher development.
He believes technology will transform the educational landscape and provide new opportunities for millions of children and youth left behind in the 21st Century.
Lennart will be presenting the work of Sun Books in Uganda as an innovative approach to closing the literacy gap in the 21st Century.
Alicia Levi, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental
Alicia Levi currently serves as President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. Throughout her career, Alicia has worked to transform the lives of children through smart strategies to improve academic outcomes. You can read about her vision for RIF in this personal letter.
Prior to joining RIF in 2016, Alicia served as Vice President, Education for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and oversaw all of PBS’ educational efforts in developing digital education services for PBS, local public television stations, students and teachers nationwide. Before joining PBS, Alicia served as Vice President, Educational Publishing at Discovery Education. Prior to her time at Discovery, she managed the University of Maryland College Park’s Educational Access Channel out of the College of Education.
Jade Jacobsohn, Director of Nal’ibali
Jade Jacobsohn is a seasoned anthropologist and the managing director of Nal’ibali – South Africa’s national reading-for-enjoyment campaign.
Jade has managed various educational projects, specifically focused on early childhood development and environmental education within economically deprived areas, and has worked closely with Anglo American, Takalani Sesame and Food for Development.
Her academic qualifications include an Honours in Social Science from Rhodes University and a Masters in Science from University College London.
Hassina Sherjan, Founder and CEO of Aid Afghanistan for Education
Hassina Sherjan, a consummated professional with over twenty years of thorough knowledge and experience in education, business, communication and journalism, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aid Afghanistan for Education, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Boumi Group of Company.
Boumi Production is an internationally recognized woman-owned home accessory business and the only Afghan company with US Trademark. Coauthor of “Toughing It Out in Afghanistan”, published Feb 2011.
She has published various op-eds in NY Times, Washington Post, Guardian, USA Today and more. Hassina is a Global Ambassador for The International Alliance for Women (TIAW). She received The International Alliance for Women World of Difference Award 2012. She is an Ambassador for Women Entrepreneurship Day representing Afghanistan and Global Ambassador for NGO World Day.
Shamim Jawad, Founder of Ayenda Foundation
Shamim Jawad is the founder of Ayenda Foundation, a non-profit organization, dedicated to enhancing the education, health, shelter and safety of Afghan children, especially girls.
She is a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Afghanistan. She is also a member of the International Women Forum (IWF UK), and the recipient of the Liberty Award from Dialogue on Diversity for her efforts to defend women’s rights and advocate social welfare for women in Afghanistan.
Since 2003, Mrs Jawad has dedicated her focus and energy towards providing quality education for children and promoting women empowerment.