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ITEP | Global Education Forum

Global Education Forum

Dr. Jesus Cisneros, Dr. Johanna Schuster-Craig, Suzana Valesco, Dr. Chengzhi Yin

Jeff Watts, GEF Fall 2016









About the Global Education Forum 

The Global Education Forum (GEF) has two aims. First, we focus on identifying the most pressing issues in education globally, as reported by renowned experts from academia, public policy, government and the non-profit sector across the globe. Second, we examine whether and how undergraduate and graduate student education and training should change in order to prepare students to address these issues.

  1. What do you think is the most pressing issue or challenge in education globally? and
  1. What do universities need to do to prepare graduates to better address this issue or challenge?

The GEF defines education broadly-including formal, informal, and experiential settings in schools and outside the classroom. We focus on traditional educational topics such as access, equity, and achievement, and also on education as it relates to such global concerns as public health, extremism, and the environment.

Each semester, the GEF hosts a panel discussion of 4-5 renowned experts in the field of education, broadly defined. The panelists are asked to share their expertise and opinions each in response to two questions:

Over time, the GEF aims to become a place where conventions are challenged and innovations are born.

Fall 2017 Panelists: Combatting Hate Crimes on Campus

Iman Abou Atta

Iman Abou Atta

Iman is currently the Director of Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), where she has been instrumental in the development of the programme and currently focuses on research development and advocacy. Iman is also the Deputy Director and Head of Middle East and North Africa Programmes at Faith Matters; where she leads inter-faith, inter-cultural, conflict resolution and anti-extremism and discrimination programme in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the UK.

Iman has dedicated the past 15 years to building bridges between European and Middle Eastern communities through her work with medical, community and charitable organisations in the Euro-Mediterranean region. She is committed to the empowerment of women and youth and has founded two not-for-profit organisations to provide education and opportunities to women and youth across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Iman is particularly committed to building the skills and capacity of individuals and organisations globally. In addition to developing a conflict resolution training workshop for young community activists in Pakistan; she has given interfaith lectures in countries as diverse as the UK, Taiwan and the Netherlands; and has facilitated capacity building training programmes for civil society leaders in countries including Palestine, Jordan and India, to name a few.


Maureen Costello

Maureen Costello

Maureen Costello leads the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project, one of the nation's leading providers of anti-bias education resources. She oversees all aspects of the project, including the award-winning Teaching Tolerance magazine, the development of multimedia teaching kits, professional development resources and special projects. Before joining the SPLC, she oversaw development of the 2010 Census in Schools program for Scholastic Inc. in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. For eight years, she directed Newsweek's education program, which was dedicated to engaging high school and college students in public issues. She served as academic dean at Notre Dame Academy High School in Staten Island, N.Y., where she also taught history and economics. As a teacher, she worked with both the Advanced Placement Program and the New York State Regents on assessment-related projects. She is a graduate of the New School University and the New York University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.


Terri Johnson

Terri Johnson

A Chicago native, Terri A. Johnson has worked for racial and social justice for over two decades. This work has been done in different sectors including higher education, philanthropy, social services, youth services, public health and advocacy. She is a diversity and inclusion strategist, serving non-profits, corporations, universities, social service agencies and arts & cultural organizations.

Presently, she is the Executive Director of the Center for New Community. The Center for New Community (CNC), founded in 1995, is a national research and advocacy organization. At the forefront of efforts to defeat anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate, CNC monitors organized racism in the United States and equips national and grassroots activists and partners to mobilize a powerful force for justice, fairness, and opportunity.

CNC’s vision is the creation of a fair, equitable and just society that values the dignity of all.

Ms. Johnson is the founder of C-Change Strategies, a social enterprise working with organizations on cultural change designed to transform communities. Johnson is a graduate of Northwestern University.


Yolanda Savage-Narva

Yolanda Savage-Narva

Yolanda brings with her years of social justice experience leading national and local public health programs focusing on health equity, health disparities and social determinants of health. This experience goes to the heart of OUDC’s mission which is to combat racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, while building an African-American and Jewish youth community that values respect, understanding and cooperation between themselves and the broader community.

As Director of Health Equity at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and through other positions, Yolanda has developed curricula and evaluation tools, partnered with local, national and tribal leaders to promote health equity and social justice initiatives across education, transportation, housing and other areas. “I am thrilled to be joining such an accomplished organization like OUDC as its next executive director,” says Yolanda Savage-Narva. “As an African American Jewish woman, I have had, over the course of my career, the opportunity to work across many sectors. I realize the significance and importance of engaging with young people to assist in making meaningful change that will advance equity and justice.”


Edit Schlaffer

Edit Schlaffer

Edit Schlaffer is a social scientist, writer, activist and holds a PhD from the University of Vienna. In 2002 she founded Women without Borders, an international research-based NGO, encouraging women to take the lead in their personal and public lives. Her research and activities focus on women as agents of change and as driving forces to stabilize an insecure world. In 2008 she launched SAVE - Sisters Against Violent Extremism, the world’s first female counter-terrorism platform.

Schlaffer has received numerous accolades for her work promoting women in the security arena: Hillary Clinton has twice highlighted SAVE’s contributions to the field; in 2010 she was named as one of Women’s eNews “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” and in 2011 one of Newsweek’s “150 Movers and Shakers” and she has received many national prizes including the Käthe Leichter Austrian State Prize for Gender Equity and Research, the Theodor Körner Prize for Outstanding Research and the Donauland Book Prize for Excellency in Non-Fiction Writing.

She is a regular speaker in diverse settings: from the TED talks, the Omega Institute, Hedayah, the Global Center on Cooperative Security, the Europe-wide Radicalisation Awareness Network to the OSCE and various United Nations branches.


Oren Segal

Oren Segal

Oren Segal is Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which combats extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the real world and online. Recognized as the foremost authority on extremism, the Center provides resources, expertise and training which enables law enforcement, public officials, community leaders and internet and technology companies to identify and counter emerging threats.


Much of Mr. Segal's 18 years with ADL has been devoted to evaluating the activity and tactics of extremist groups and movements, training law enforcement officers and publishing reports and articles on a wide range of extremist topics. Mr. Segal has briefed members of Congress, is regularly interviewed by national and international media outlets and provides his expertise at conferences around the world on issues of terrorism, anti-Semitism and extremism.

In February 2015, Mr. Segal participated in a landmark White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). He focused his remarks on the nature of violent extremist movements in the United States, as well as how Americans of all religions, races and backgrounds are being reached and recruited by extremist organizations online. He also discussed the partners with whom ADL cooperates to combat these threats, including law enforcement, the tech industry and various community groups, highlighting the importance of a multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenge of violent extremism.

In 2006, Mr. Segal was recognized by the FBI for his exceptional service in the public interest. A graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Mr. Segal, a native New Yorker, has previously worked for The New York Times.


You are invited to attend the Global Education Forum on Thursday, September 7, 2017, 5-7pm on American University's main campus, in McDowell Formal Lounge. The topic will be Combating Hate Crimes on Campus.  Panelists' bios coming soon.



Watch Videos of Past Forums

If you missed an event or want to recapture what a speaker explained please review any of our previous Global Education Forums

Conflict, Justice and Education

From post-conflict societies for which education plays an important role in transitional justice to debates about justice for victims of sexual assault on university campuses, justice underpins education across the globe. The Spring 2017 Global Education Forum brings together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners who will speak to the myriad of forms and meanings of justice in education. Drawing from their varied experiences and work in the United States and abroad, they will explore some of the most pressing educational issues today for which justice is paramount. View video on Conflict, Justice, and Education, February 13, 2017.

Migration and Education

Millions of people experience voluntary and involuntary migration within and between countries each year for reasons that range from the search for economic opportunities to the flight from warfare and violence. The educational needs of migrants-- and of the communities they move to-- represent one of the most pressing global challenges for education. We need strategies to ensure educational continuity in refugee camps, to equip schools whose sizes are rapidly growing from internal migration and urbanization, to provide adequate resources for teachers' dual language classrooms, and to create public education initiatives that could help reduce conflicts between host societies and arriving migrants. See video of the Fall 2016 GEF on Migration and Education, October 17, 2016.

Race and Education in the Global Context

Whether on campus or in the K-12 classroom, racial inequality remains one of the most pressing educational issues in the US and around the world. How do racial and ethnic disparities persist in educational access and outcomes? What strategies have proven effective at closing achievement gaps? What variations exist globally? View the video of an esteemed panel of experts for the Spring 2016 Global Education Forum on Race and Education in the Global Context from February 23, 2016.

Internationalization of Higher Education

The Fall 2015 Forum presented an interactive panel discussion featuring renowned experts on internationalization and higher education. Panelists who work and conduct research comparing global aspects of higher education systems in Germany, the United States, and Canada will discuss pressing educational challenges related to the global impact of internationalization on higher education. They will respond to two questions: What do you believe is the most pressing issue or challenge related to this topic on a local, national or global scale? and what do universities need to do to prepare graduates to address this challenge? See the video on the global impact of internationalization of higher education, October 27, 2015.

Education and Extremism

The Spring 2015 Forum presented an interactive panel discussion featuring renowned experts on education and its role in confronting violent extremist groups and movements. Panelists who work and conduct research on extremist movements and developments in Greece, Germany, the United States, Sierra Leone and Liberia will discuss pressing educational challenges related to ideological and religious extremism. See the video focused on Educational challenges in confronting extremist groups and movements, March 19, 2015.

Gender, Violence and Education

Gendered violence remains a persistent problem in educational settings throughout the world. View the Fall 2014 Global Education Forum video where an expert panel will discuss a range of settings where gendered violence persists and help strategize ways that we might all address these challenges, October 6, 2014.

Global Education Community

The Inaugural Global Education Forum focused on traditional educational topics, such as access, equity, and achievement, and also on education as it relates to such global concerns as public health, extremism, and the environment, April 22, 2014.


Please contact:

Ms. Ophira Bansal
Program Coordinator
International Training and Education Program (ITEP)
School of Education