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Keynote Speaker Information


This year's speakers are a diverse group of thought leaders, authors, innovators and advocates in the fields of modern communication, global citizenship and civic leadership. Ideas, challenges and considerations on international trends in educational advancement will intersect with innovative programming and the vast opportunities and complex challenges that leaders face within the international landscape. Don't miss the opportunity to not only hear their Keynotes, but to engage personally in the related sessions and discussion opportunities several of them will be facilitating during the conference as we join colleagues from around the world as Leaders United: Transforming Our World Together!

*Keynote Speakers and Annual Award Recipient Addresses are highlighted on this page, with more information available in the conference program and conference app prior to February. The 2017-18 Superintendent of the Year and 2017-18 Innovative Leader of the Year Recipients will be announced by December 2017. Please check back then for more information on those keynotes.

Monday, 5 February

Opening Welcome General Session: United Nations, NYC

Mike McCarthy: The State of the World

In this eye-opening presentation, the general manager of CNN International will share his unique perspective on this dynamic world that we all share. From Atlanta to Abu Dhabi and Lima to Hong Kong, McCarthy will discuss the current challenges and future opportunities this unique time in human history presents international school leaders and share unique stories and video to illustrate his view on The State of the World.

Homa Tavangar: Up Your Impact As A Global Citizen Leader

You might be living internationally, but does this mean you are leading and learning intentionally as a global citizen? Based on her extensive research and experience in this area, Homa Tavangar will explore three key factors that can help foster authentic global citizenship to learn, thrive, and create leadership impact.

Homa has keynoted or presented at such events as the Learning and the Brain Conference, UPenn Global Education Forum, TEDxNYED (as a speaker, then asked back to host), SXSWi, SXSWEDU, P21, various Fortune 50 events and international schools around the world. Here are a few representative responses:

"‘Growing up Global’ offers fascinating ideas for giving young people opportunities to become truly global citizens. Learning about the customs and culture of others around the globe enriches our lives so much and can only lead to better understanding and cooperation for generations to come." - Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

"Homa Tavangar is one of those rare individuals who both speaks and writes eloquently about what it means to prepare young people to be true world citizens. She has much to offer community and civic leaders, parents, and educators and has my highest recommendation.” - Tony Wagner, Harvard University, author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap

Will Richardson: Learning Unbound - The Opportunities and Challenges of Schooling in a Networked World

Schools around the world are facing a challenging new reality: never in history have learners had more control and more agency over the learning that they do. Learners now dictate the what, the where, the when, and the with whom of learning with more power each day. The implications for schools, which were built for a time when knowledge, information, teachers, and technologies were scarce, are profound. What is the new value of schools in a world of increasingly abundant access? And how are educational leaders creating a path for reimagination for schooling in the modern world?

Tuesday, 6 February

Women's Leadership Breakfast Presentation: Marriott Marquis NYC

Homa Tavangar: Transformative Leadership for Transformative Times

During this interactive Women's Leadership Breakfast talk, Homa Tavangar will have us consider the personal journeys that have gotten us to this point, and how our transformative times call for a new model of leadership -- one which is more global, feminine, inclusive and abundant.

Homa has keynoted or presented at such events as the Learning and the Brain Conference, UPenn Global Education Forum, TEDxNYED (as a speaker, then asked back to host), SXSWi, SXSWEDU, P21, various Fortune 50 events and international schools around the world. Here are a few representative responses:

"‘Growing up Global’ offers fascinating ideas for giving young people opportunities to become truly global citizens. Learning about the customs and culture of others around the globe enriches our lives so much and can only lead to better understanding and cooperation for generations to come." - Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

"Homa Tavangar is one of those rare individuals who both speaks and writes eloquently about what it means to prepare young people to be true world citizens. She has much to offer community and civic leaders, parents, and educators and has my highest recommendation.” - Tony Wagner, Harvard University, author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap

* See biography below

General Session 2: 2017-18 International Innovative Leader of the Year Address - TBA

General Session 3: 2017-18 International Superintendent of the Year Address - TBA

Wednesday, 7 February

​Closing General Session: Global Solutions for International School Leaders

This important and dynamic sharing session features a diverse group of presenters from the working AAIE Solution Sessions that took place both Tuesday and today. A Designee(s) from each group with present a 'Ted-Style' brief summary of their group's work including the key challenges, examples of solutions, highlights of the group's work, recommendations and resources and questions that still remain concerning their topic.

Engage with the Solutions Session group of your choice during the week and then learn from the collective learning of experienced colleagues and experts at the Closing General Session to walk away with countless ideas, leadership hacks and new solutions for the year ahead!

Speaker Biographies

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy is the general manager of CNN International. He is responsible for the global network’s entire output, including schedule development, editorial production, personnel and programming at CNN’s production centers in Atlanta, London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.

In addition, McCarthy oversees the day-to-day operations of The CNN Fredom Project, a multi-platform initiative that aims to expose the horrors of modern-day slavery and push for change. Launced in March 2011, the multi-award winning Freedom Project has generated more than 400 stories of human trafficking from five continents.

Under McCarthy’s leadership CNN International has recently won a number of prestigious awards including the Royal Television Society’s (RTS) ‘Best Breaking News Coverage’ award for Paris attacks (2016), ‘News Channel of the Year’ (2013 and 2014) and ‘Best News Coverage – International’ for it’s coverage of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; the Asian Television Awards ‘Cable & Satellite Channel of the Year’; and a 2015 Peabody Award for the network’s coverage of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. CNNI has also picked up Foreign Press Association Media Awards, Emmys, an Overseas Press Club Award and the Golden Nymph for Best 24 Hour News Programme at the 2014 Monte Carlo Television Festival for the network’s coverage of Ukraine.

McCarthy joined CNN’s London bureau in May 1999, where he was instrumental in creating CNNI’s feature strand as well as re-launching the European morning wheel of programming with integrated news and business coverage, which included Business International.

Prior to joining CNN, worked as the deputy program editor at the London News Network. He started his career in journalism at the National News Press Agency in London.

Will Richardson

Will Richardson has spent the last dozen years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks and education. He was one of a handful of original education bloggers (willrichardson.com) and his work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers, and magazines such as Ed Leadership, District Administration, Education Week, The New York Times and English Journal. He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer, and has worked with educators in over 20 countries to understand the opportunities and challenges of learning in the modern world. In 2017, he was named one of 100 global "Changemakers in Education" by the Finnish site HundrED, and one of the Top 5 Edupreneurs to Follow by Forbes.

Will has authored six books, most recently From Master Teacher to Master Learner (2015, Solution Tree Press). In total, his books have sold over 150,000 copies worldwide.

A former public school educator of 22 years, Will is a co-founder of Modern Learner Media and co-publisher of ModernLearners.com which is a site dedicated to helping educational leaders and policy makers develop new contexts for new conversations around education. Most recently, Will has started Change.School, which is an 8-week exploration for educational leaders into creating relevant, sustainable change in schools using a coaching and community environment.

Over the past 15 years, he has spoken to tens of thousands of educators in over 20 countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth.

Will lives in rural New Jersey with his wife Wendy and his children Tess and Tucker.

Homa Tavangar

Homa Sabet Tavangar is the author of acclaimed Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World (Random House), The Global Education Toolkit, and co-author of the 3-book Take-Action Guide to World Class Learners series with Yong Zhao and an international team of educators. She is Series Consultant for NBC Sprout Channel’s animated children’s program Nina’s World, starring Rita Moreno and Mandy Patinkin, which is based in part on Growing Up Global, and advisor to the Disney Channel for culture and education.

Homa has worked with diverse schools, corporations, non-profits, and children’s media on optimizing learning, empathy, inclusion, women’s empowerment, and global competence. She has served recently as Education Adviser to Barefoot Books, Quiet Revolution, International Schools Services, Lincoln Financial Foundation, the Pulitzer Center and others. Her writing appears on sites like Edutopia, NationalGeographic Edu, PBS, Education Week, and HuffingtonPost, and she is a frequent keynote speaker and teacher trainer. Homa serves as Vice-Chair of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national nonprofit assisting immigrant women and girls fleeing violence.

Born in Iran, she has lived on four continents, and her heritage includes four world religions. A graduate of UCLA and Princeton University, she is married and the mother of three daughters, ages 24, 22, and 14.

2017-18 International Superintendent of the Year Recipient: TBA

2017-18 International Innovative Leader of the Year Recipient: TBA



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