Global Education Forum

GEF October 2018

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.

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.

Video: Religion and Education panel from the 2018 Global Education Forum.

2019 Forum

"Hate Comes to Campus"
March 28

Media Contact: Event is by RSVP. Media members are required to RSVP with Rebecca Basu, American University Communications, 202-885-5950,

Register Now

2019 Global Education Forum

Hate comes to campus

The Spring 2019 GEF will have a two-part format in partnership with PEN America, Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), RANTT Media, AU School of Education, and AU Project on Civil Discourse.

Live Stream the event on YouTube. Closed captions are available via simultaneous window.

2019 Schedule

"Free Speech and the Future of Campus Community in the US" with panelists Shannon Gilreath, Ibram X. Kendi, and Lara Schwartz, moderated by Jonathan Friedman. Sponsored by PENAmerica.
Reception co-sponsored by PENAmerica, AU/School of Education, AU/PCD, and CARR
"The Radical Right and Higher Education Globally" with William Allchorn, Matthew Feldman, and Terri E. Givens, moderated by Cynthia Miller-Idriss. Sponsored by PEN America, the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), RANTT Media, the AU Project on Civil Discourse, and the AU School of Education.

Shannon gilreath

Shannon Gilreath is a legal scholar based at Wake Forest University, in North Carolina, where he is tenured in two schools as Professor of Law (School of Law) and Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (College of Arts and Sciences). He specializes in constitutional interpretation and gay rights issues under domestic and international (criminal and constitutional) law. In 2017, Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center called him “one of America’s most influential First Amendment scholars.” His theory of anti-identity speech is reflected in the 9th Circuit’s approach to anti-gay speech in public schools, and his article on the speech implications of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was widely debated in the advent of the statute’s repeal. Professor Gilreath served as an advisor to the Pentagon’s working group to repeal DADT under the Obama administration. ProfessorGilreath’s scholarly books include Sexual Orientation and Identity: Political and Legal Analysis (2016); The End of Straight Supremacy(2011); Sexual Politics (2006); and Sexual Identity and the Law in Context (2007, 2011 (2ed.)). He is widely cited and published in academic journals and the popular press. Professor Gilreath consults on cases and legislation nationally and internationally and maintains an active public lecture schedule.  

ibram x. kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is Professor of History and International Relations, and an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a New York Times Best Seller. At 34 years old, he was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. Stamped from the Beginning was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and it was nominated for a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and a NAACP Image Award. Kendi is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement and he has published essays in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. His next book, How To Be An Antiracist, will be published in August 2019 by One World, an imprint of Random House. 

Headshot Lara Schwartz

lara schwartz

Lara Schwartz specializes in civil discourse and campus speech, constitutional law, civil rights, politics, communications, and policy. Drawing on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and communications strategist in leading civil rights organizations, Lara brings an advocate’s-eye view to her teaching. Prior to joining the SPA faculty, Lara served as Director of Strategic Engagement at the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy. Previously she served as Courts Matter director at Media Matters, Legal Director at the Human Rights Campaign, and Vice President of External Affairs at the American Association of People with Disabilities. Lara worked in litigation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom and Gilbert, Heintz, and Randolph. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Ronald Lee Gilman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Lara has appeared on national and local radio and television programs and written op-eds published in national papers and local papers of record.

William Allchorn

William Allchorn is a specialist on anti-Islamic protest movements and radical right social movements in the UK and Western Europe. His PhD thesis mapped political, policing and local authority responses to the English Defence League in five UK locations. William is now working on his first research monograph under contract with Routledge – looking at policy responses to the EDL and Britain First over the past decade. His previous published work has looked at the dynamics of activism within anti-Islam movements and counter-extremism responses towards such groups. William has taught undergraduate courses and given lectures on the radical right in Western Europe; both at the social movement and party political level. Previous consultancy has included delivering counter narrative engagement sessions in the North East of England and putting together a ‘Countering Radical Right Narratives’ educational pack due for the Department of Education ‘Educate against Hate’ website. As of January 2017, William Allchorn is the Associate Director of CARR.

Matthew Feldman

Professor Matthew Feldman is a specialist on fascist ideology and the far-right in Europe and the USA. He has written widely on these subjects, for both academic and general audiences. He has long researched the interaction between politics and faith in the modern world, and has taught these subjects for some two decades to school, undergraduate and postgraduate students. An Emeritus Professor in the History of Modern Ideas at Teesside University, in 2013 Prof. Feldman led Britain’s first unit dedicated to analysis of radical right extremism, the Centre for Fascist, Anti-fascist and Post-fascist Studies (CFAPS), and prior to that, directed the Radicalism and New Media Group at the University of Northampton. He is a Visiting Professor at Richmond, the American University in London, having previously held fellowships at the universities of Bergen (Norway), Birmingham and Oxford (thrice). He is an editor of Wiley-Blackwell’s online journal, Compass: Modern Ideologies and Faith, and co-edits two academic book series Bloomsbury Publishers, Modernist Archives and Historicizing Modernism.

A key feature of his work is a distinguished record of public engagement and policy-based impact. This has included expert witness testimony in several high-profile terrorist trials relating to radical right extremism – including the first conviction under the UK’s 1996 Chemical Weapons Act. This work has also extended to submitting evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Anti-Semitism, and on Islamophobia, alongside consultation for various UK police constabularies. Professor Feldman has participated in discussions on radical right extremism in House of Lords and House of Commons debates; briefing sessions with Special Branch, DCLG and the Ministry of Justice; as well as in keynote lectures for prosecutors’ and police officers’ associations; the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Council of Europe’s Debates on Democratic Security. Policy engagement also focusses upon Islamoprejudice – notably three of the first empirical reports on anti-Muslim hate crimes for Faith Matters (2013-5) – alongside contributions on post-‘Brexit’ racism and ‘Islamophobia’. He has also appeared in more than 700 radio and television programmes to discuss fascism, the radical right, and far-right extremism.

Professor Feldman is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including three monographs, and more than 40 articles or academic book chapters. Published volumes underpinning his expertise include Clerical Fascism in Interwar Europe (Routledge 2008); A Fascist Century (Palgrave: 2008); and, with Roger Griffin, the five-volume collection Fascism: Critical Concepts (Routledge 2003). More recent volumes include Doublespeak: The Rhetoric of the Far-Right since 1945 (Columbia University Press. 2014); The ‘New Man’ in Radical Right Ideology and Practice, 1919-1945 (Bloomsbury 2017), as well as the journal specials ‘Far-right Populism and Lone Wolf Terrorism in Contemporary Europe’ (Democracy and Security, 2013) and ‘The Ideologies and Ideologues of the Radical Right’ (Patterns of Prejudice, 2016). His most recent monograph, Ezra Pound’s Fascist Propaganda, 1935-1945, appeared with Palgrave in 2013, and his second collection of essays, Politics, Intellectuals and Faith, is due to appear in 2019. Professor Feldman has also contributed several dozen reviews to Times Higher Education, in addition to a wide range of comment texts and opinion pieces for online and print outlets.

Terri E. Givens

Terri E. Givens is a Political Scientist and a consultant to educational technology companies and educational institutions. She was the Provost of Menlo College from July 2015 to June 2018. From the Fall of 2003 until the Spring of 2015 she was a Professor in the Government Department at the University of Texas at Austin where she also served as Vice Provost for International Activities and Undergraduate Curriculum from 2006 to 2009, Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center’s European Union Center of Excellence, and Co-Director of the Longhorn Scholars Program. She directed the Center for European Studies and the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies from 2004-2006. Her faculty appointments included the LBJ School of Public Affairs, European Studies, and she was affiliated with the Center for Women and Gender Studies, Center for African and African-American Studies and was a Fellow in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Law and Security. She was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington from 1999 to 2003. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her B.A. from Stanford University. Her academic interests include radical right parties, immigration politics, and the politics of race in Europe.  She has conducted extensive research in the European Union, particularly in France, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Britain. She is the author/editor of several books on immigration policy, European politics and security, including Voting Radical Right in Western Europe, Immigration Policy and Security and Immigrant Politics: Race and Representation in Western Europe. Her most recent book is Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe (Oxford University Press, May 2014).

A sought-after expert and speaker, she has lectured and served on panels at international and national conferences on topics as diverse as immigration politics, the radical right, minorities, the globalization of public policy and how to manage life in academia. A popular writer, blogger and social media enthusiast, Givens can be found online at, her column at Inside Higher Ed and on Twitter @TerriGivens. She is very active in the community, having been a member of several nonprofit boards and is a fitness enthusiast.

Past Forums

From education centers such as schools and universities, to non-formal settings across the globe, religious issues, tensions, and identities may be fraught with conflict and obstacles. Exploration of these issues and the role of schools and non-formal settings in fostering, suppressing, or mediating students’ and adults’ religious and spiritual lives will guide the discussion of the Fall 2018 Global Education Forum. Bringing together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners who will speak to the intersection of religion and education in the U.S. and overseas settings, our expert panelists will draw from their varied experiences and work in the U.S. and abroad and create a dialogue about some of the contemporary issues facing religion and education around the world.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.
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.
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.