The International Conference on Learning will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured-a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

  • Graça Machel

  • Mrs. Graça Machel is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. As Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique (1975-1989) she was responsible for overseeing an increase in primary school enrolment from 40 per cent of children in 1975 to over 90 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls by 1989.

    Graça Machel is President of the Foundation for Community Development, a not for profit organisation she founded in 1994. FDC makes grants to civil society organisations to strengthen communities, facilitate social and economic justice and assist in the reconstruction and development of post war Mozambique.

    In 1994, the Secretary General of the United Nations appointed her as an independent expert to carry out an assessment of the impact of armed conflict on children. Her groundbreaking report was presented in 1996 and established a new and innovative agenda for the comprehensive protection of children caught up in war, changing the policy and practice of governments, UN agencies, and international and national civil society.

    Over the years, Mrs. Machel has gained international recognition for her achievements. Her many awards include the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project in 1992 and the Nansen Medal in recognition of her contribution to the welfare of refugee children in 1995. She has received the Inter Press Service’s (IPS) International Achievement Award for her work on behalf of children internationally, the Africare Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe, amongst others.

    Graça Machel’s first husband, Samora Machel, inaugural President of Mozambique, was killed in a plane crash in 1986. She wed former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1998.

    Graça Machel has served on the boards of numerous international organisations, including the UN Foundation, the Forum of African Women Educationalists, the African Leadership Forum and the International Crisis Group. Amongst her many current commitments, she is Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, South Africa and Panel Member of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

  • Suresh Canagarajah

  • Suresh Canagarajah teaches postcolonial literature, Great Works in Literature, ESL, and composition at the City University of New York. His research interests span bilingualism, discourse analysis, academic writing, and critical pedagogy. His research articles have appeared in the professional journals TESOL Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, Language in Society, Written Communication, World Englishes, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, and Multilingua. His book 'Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching' (Oxford University Press; 1999) won the Mina P. Shaughnessy Award (2000) by the Modern Language Association for the best "research publication in the field of teaching English language, literature, rhetoric, and composition." His subsequent book 'Geopolitics of Academic Literacy and Knowledge Construction' (University of Pittsburgh Press; 2002) won the 2003 Gary Olson Award by the Association of the Teachers of Advanced Composition for the best book in social and rhetorical theory. 'Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Students' (University of Michigan Press; 2002) critiques dominant practices in academic literacy and argues for a place for alternative discourses. He has most recently edited a collection of articles by international scholars on responses to globalization in 'Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice' (Erlbaum; 2005).

    Suresh has won research grants from the National Endowment for Humanities (for research into the sociolinguistic challenges for immigrant communities) and the National Council of Teachers of English (for ethnographic research on the classroom culture of minority students). He won the Feliks Gross Endowment Award (1999) for the outstanding junior faculty in the CUNY system. He won the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship in 2004. He is currently editing the flagship journal of the international association for applied linguists, TESOL Quarterly.

    Suresh hails from the Tamil-speaking northern region of Sri Lanka, and has taught in the University of Jaffna there from 1984 to 1994. He contributes to the literary and cultural activities of South Asian expatriate groups in North America and Europe. Suresh has worked as a volunteer for inner-city community service organizations in the South Bronx, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

  • Hilary Janks

    Professor Hilary Janks completed degrees in Literature and Applied Linguistics at the University of the Witwatersrand and her doctoral degree in Linguistics at Lancaster University in the UK. The focus of her research for the last 20 years has been the relationship between language literacy and power. The Critical Language Awareness Series of workbooks that she edited set out to teach students how texts work to position readers and to give them skills for critical discourse analysis. She has been at Wits since 1977 and was instrumental in the establishment of Applied English Language Studies, now in the Wits School of Education. She also has an adjunct professorship at the University of South Australia. Her collaboration with colleagues in Johannesburg and Adelaide has led to the establishment of an international research network of teachers and academics working in poor schools in the fields of new literacy studies and critical literacy. Her own work is based at a primary school in Atteridgeville where she has focused on literacy education, whole school transformation and school leadership. She has also researched the school’s SEED garden project and its use in environmental education and food sustainablity. As part of this international network, newly qualified teachers from Nottingham University, UK, spend at least two weeks a year working with teachers in the school. Having begun working with critical literacy for deconstruction and resistance in apartheid South Africa, she has since the first democratic elections in 1994, turned her attention to theorising critical literacy for reconstruction and social transformation. To this end she is part of projects on Reconciliation Pedagogies and Postgraduate research education. She is currently writing a book on Literacy and Power to be published by Taylor and Francis.

  • Crain Soudien

    Crain Soudien is a Professor in, and currently the Director of, the School of Education at the University of Cape Town and teaches in the fields of Sociology and History of Education.

    He has published over eighty articles, reviews, and book chapters in the areas of race, culture, educational policy, comparative education, educational change, public history and popular culture. He is also the co-editor of two books on District Six, Cape Town and another on comparative education. His book Schooling, Culture and the Making of Youth Identity in Contemporary South Africa will be released in March 2007.

    He was educated at the Universities of Cape Town, South Africa and holds a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is involved in a number of local, national and international social and cultural organisations.

  • Jonathan D. Jansen

    Jonathan D. Jansen serves as Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria and as Vice President of the Academy of Science of South Africa. His doctoral studies on the state and curriculum in Zimbabwe was completed at Stanford (1991) and his MS in science education at Cornell University (1987). His latest (co-edited) book is on comparative education policy and law in South Africa and the USA, and his most recent publications on the leadership of transition (in journals such as Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Educational Change, Leadership and Policy in Schools). He recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from University of Edinburgh and several national awards for research and research capacity building.

  • Dr Mary Kalantzis

    Dr Mary Kalantzis is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinios Urbana Campaign, USA. She also is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, attached to the Globalism Institute and Research Director of the Knowledge Design Forum. She was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia from 1997-2003, the President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education from 2000-2004 and an inaugural member of the Australian National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership 2004–2005. She has also been a Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee and a member of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Board. Her academic research and writing, crosses a number of disciplines, including history, linguistics, education and sociology; and examines themes as varied as Australian immigration, leadership and workplace change, professional learning, pedagogy and literacy learning. With Bill Cope, she is co-author of a number of books, including: 'The Powers of Literacy', Falmer Press, London, 1993, 'Productive Diversity', Pluto Press, Sydney, 1997; 'A Place in the Sun: Re-Creating the Australian Way of Life', Harper Collins, Sydney, 2000; 'Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures', Routledge, London, 2000; and 'Learning by Design', Victorian Schools Innovation Commission, Melbourne, 2005.

  • Bill Cope

    Bill Cope is a Research Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA and Director of Common Ground Publishing. His current research interests include theories and practices of pedagogy, cultural and linguistic diversity, and new technologies of representation and communication.

  • Lizanne DeStefano

    Lizanne DeStefano holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, which she obtained in 1986. Dr. DeStefano is a former special education teacher. She also practiced as a clinical and school psychologist. Currently, she is Professor of Educational Psychology, Associate Dean for Research, and Director of the Bureau of Educational Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. DeStefano's research interests include the evaluation and sustainability of innovative programs, multi-site initiatives, and programs serving special populations such as students with disabilities or those at risk for academic failure. Her work has been funded by numerous agencies and foundations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Joyce Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Illinois State Board of Education. She has conducted many large-scale evaluations of programs serving children and youth, including evaluations of the implementation of IDEA, Illinois Learning Standards and early literacy professional development initiatives such as the Reading Excellence Act in Illinois, Reading First, Early Reading First, and the Advanced Reading Development Demonstration Project.

  • Gunther Kress, Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

    In the past Dr Kress has served as Dean of Communication and Cultural Studies (South Australian College of Advanced Education), Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and social Studies (New South Wales Institute of Technology, Sydney), and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (University of Technology, Sydney). Currently he is Head of Culture, Communications & Societies, London Institute of Education, University of London.

    Dr Kress is the author of over twenty-one books and numerous articles. His books have been translated to both Spanish and Italian. Among his best known works are Social Semiotics, Polity Press/Cornell University Press, 1988 (with Robert Hodge), Reading Images: A Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, 1996 (with Theo van Leeuwen), and most recently Before Writing: Rethinking Paths into Literacy, Routledge, 1996. Professor Kress has concentrated his efforts on the question of postmodern literacy. He is especially concerned with the way children make meaning in the media environment of today.

    His current interests include The English curriculum; pedagogy; subjectivity; social semiotics; visual semiotics, semiotics of materiality/multimodality; representation and communication, i.e., "Literacy"; Media and Cultural Studies.

  • Emilia Potenza

    Emilia Potenza is a Curator and Education Manager at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. In this role, she is responsible for the ongoing expansion of the permanent exhibition, as well as temporary exhibitions as a regular feature of the museum’s public programme.

    Prior to this, Emilia worked as a high school teacher, curriculum specialist, teacher trainer and author of educational materials. She was involved in creating new textbooks for the post-apartheid era, including History, English language and Life Skills series, and has published textbooks for all 12 grades of the school system.

    Previously, Emilia was a member of the Ministerial Committee that reviewed the national curriculum framework for South African schools in 2000 and was involved in helping shape the current Social Sciences (History and Geography) curriculum. She is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to understand South Africa’s history, and to draw on the crucial lessons that this offers. Emilia holds a B.A. and a Diploma in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand.

  • Three Continents English Research Team

    This team presentation reports on the findings of an international collaboration of researchers across three cities and three continents. The project is investigating the policy-practice nexus in the construction of English as a school subject in state high schools in Delhi, Johannesburg and London. Focusing on the textual cycle- the selection of texts and the pedagogic processes and practices within which texts are embedded and through which they are realized by individual teachers – our case studies show local inflections of what teachers are able to do within the policy-practice nexus in their sites of practice. The comparative perspective offered by this study also illuminates, in vivid ways, how English as a subject is realized in post-colonial sites in an era of globalization. The research team consists of Rimli Bhattacharya (University of Delhi), Snehlata Gupta (Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Surajmal Vihar, Delhi), Carey Jewitt (Institute of Education, University of London), Denise Newfield (University of the Witwatersrand), Yvonne Reed (University of the Witwatersrand) and Pippa Stein (University of the Witwatersrand).

  • Salim Vally

    Salim Vally is a Senior Researcher/Lecturer at the Education Policy Unit, School of Education, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He had\s studied at the universities of York and the Witwatersrand. He was employed at the Wits Education Policy Unit in 1995. Vally was a founding member of the South African Students Movement until its banning in 1977. In 1979 he left South Africa as a result of fierce repression by the erstwhile apartheid regime. He returned to South Africa to teach in township schools and spent eight years as a trade unionist in the then newly formed independent trade unions being a founding member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

    He is the spokesperson of the Anti-War Coalition and the Palestine Solidarity Committee He serves on the boards of various non-governmental and professional organisations and is an active member of various social movements. Vally is also the co-ordinator of the Education Rights Project which works with communities in many townships and informal settlements around the country. He has published extensively in journals and books and is a regular commentator in the mass media. His research interests include the impact of globalisation on education, school violence, resistance and reproduction, curriculum developments, social movements and the academy and the nexus between poverty, social justice and education. Salim is also the recipient of the Visiting Scholar Award from the Institute for Social and Economic Research from the School of International and Public Affairs, University of Columbia. He belongs to a number of professional associations and editorial boards including the Editorial Advisory Board, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, University College, Northampton, the Centre for Civil Society, School of Development Studies, University of Kwazulu-Natal and the Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape. He will be taking up a visiting professorship at his alma mater, York University, in September 2007.

  • Susan H. Perry

    Susan H. Perry, a sinologist and specialist in international human rights law, holds degrees from Brown and Yale universities and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (University of Paris). She is the current Chair of the Department of International and Comparative Politics at The American University of Paris.

    Both a scholar and an activist, Professor Perry is the co-founder and organizer of the French Senate Conference series on "Women, Culture and Development Practices", and has been invited to present her research on women rights at the JFK School of Government at Harvard, Berkeley, UCLA, Indiana University, the OECD and UNESCO. Publications include Eye to Eye: Women Practicing Development Across Cultures (ZED Books, 2001), as well as a special issue on "Women's New Development Paradigms" for Signs, the flagship journal on women's studies in the United States (University of Chicago Press, 2004). Dr. Perry has worked extensively in China and in Africa as a women’s rights consultant for the US State Department's Guest Speakers program.

    Professor Perry has just completed a Masters in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University. Her substantial experience in education and activism has led to the development of a Masters degree in International Affairs at the American University of Paris that focuses on conflict resolution and human rights.