FOUNDER & PRESIDENT/CEO

Leslee-2LESLEE UDWIN

FOUNDER & President

Leslee was voted by the NY Times the No 2 Most Impactful Woman of 2015 (second to Hillary Clinton), and has been awarded the prestigious Swedish Anna Lindh Human Rights Prize (previously won by Madeleine Albright). She has also been named Safe’s Global Hero of 2015, Global Thinker by Foreign Policy. A BAFTA and multi-award winning filmmaker and Human Rights Campaigner, Leslee’s documentary “India’s Daughter”, has been critically acclaimed around the globe, won 32 awards (including the Peabody Award and the Amnesty International Media Award for Best Documentary 2016) and sparked a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The searing insights yielded by the 2½ journey making “India’s Daughter”, led Leslee to found UK-and-US-based Not for Profit global education initiative “Think Equal”.

NATALIE HOGG

CEO

Natalie has an MSc in Development Management and over 15 years of working in international humanitarian response and development with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Save the Children, and Merlin.  Natalie has worked as a Country Director in countries such as the occupied Palestinian Territory, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.  Natalie came to the education field in 2007 when she played a foundational role as Head of Strategy at Save the Children for the newly established Global Education Cluster, the forum that brings together NGOs, the UN, academics and other actors to ensure the provision of education for populations affected by humanitarian crises.  Natalie went on to work on Save the Children’s global education strategy that incorporates a wide-range educational objectives including Early Childhood Care and Development.

PATRONS

 

 

SIR KEN ROBINSON Phd

Sir Ken received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth  II  for  services to  the arts. He is Professor Emeritus and was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and holds honorary degrees from Rhode Island School of Design, the Open University; the Central School of Speech & Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. Sir Ken was awarded the Athena Award for services to the arts and education; Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States; the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award, Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education; and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Royal Society of Arts. Sir Ken is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education, and in business.  Listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and ranked among the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders. Sir Ken works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, in Los Angeles, and was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.

 

Hon. Minister UNITY DOW

Unity Dow is Minister of Education and Skills Development in Botswana, a pan-African Human Rights Champion, novelist, and Botswana’s first female High Court judge, awarded Legion d’Honneur de France by President Sarkozy. Unity studied law at the University of Botswana and Swaziland, and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She co-founded the private Baobab Primary School in Gaborone, and the first AIDS-specific NGO in the country. Unity earned acclaim as a lawyer particularly through her stances on women’s rights, and has changed laws in Botswana for women (notably Attorney General of Botswana vs Unity Dow, 1992). Since 2005, she has been a member of a UN mission to Sierra Leone to review the domestic application of international women’s human rights norms and has been a Member of Special Mission of the UN and the Rwandan Government to review Rwanda’s preparedness to take over the hearing of the 1994 genocide cases. Unity is the visiting professor of Law at the School of Law, Columbia University, NY, Washington, Lee, Lexington, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

MB-NEW

Dr. MARC BRACKETT

Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Brackett’s research focuses on the role of emotional intelligence in relationships, mental health, decision making, both academic and workplace performance, as well as the impact of emotional intelligence training. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins Award for his research on social and emotional learning. He is the co-creator of RULER, an evidence-based approach to teaching social and emotional learning that has been adopted by more than 1000 public and private schools reaching nearly one million students, educators and families. Dr. Brackett serves on a wide-range of Advisory Boards, including Born This Way Foundation and CASEL.

 

 

RV-NEWLord RUMI VERJEE

Lord Rumi Verjee is a highly successful multiple entrepreneur. He studied Law at University of Cambridge where he is now an Honorary Fellow.  He founded The Rumi Foundation, the goal of which is humanitarian work through education, knowledge building and innovation. Amongst other projects, the Foundation is working with the Clinton Foundation to provide new schools in rural Uganda for thousands of children. He is Chairman of Free the Children UK and co-chairman of their signature event We Day UK. He is a Member of the World Presidents’ Organization, the Global Leadership Foundation, and was a member of the Advisory Board of the British Olympic Association. In 2009 he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for charitable services and was appointed by HM The Queen to the UK House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat Peer in 2013.

 

MS2

MERYL STREEP

A long-time environmentalist and advocate for gender and human rights issues, Meryl has championed women’s rights and the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), and campaigned to end trafficking and violence against women. She is also an Oscar-winning actress, and one of the most highly regarded artists of her generation. Meryl has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 times, and has won 3 times. She has received 29 Golden Globe nominations, and won 8. She is also the recipient of 2 Emmy Awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, 5 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 2 BAFTA awards, 5 Grammy Award nominations, and the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, amongst others. She has been named a Commandeur de L’Ordre Des Arts et des Lettres, a Kennedy Center Honoree, and received the National Medal of Arts. In 2015 President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

 

JB-NEWPresident JOYCE BANDA

Joyce Banda is Malawi’s first female president (until 2014), and second on the African continent. She served as minster of gender, child welfare, and community services (2004–06) and as minister of foreign affairs (2006–09). In her various ministerial capacities, she designed the Zero Tolerance Campaign Against Child Abuse and established relations with mainland China. She has been popular in Malawi because of her tough stance against government corruption and her strong campaigns for grassroots development and gender parity.  Throughout her career Banda received awards and accolades, including the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1997 and being named Africa’s third most powerful woman by Forbes magazine in 2011.

 

 

DL-NEWDEBORAH LINDHOLM

Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Women (FFW), a non-profit NGO dedicated to eliminating global poverty. Microfinance programs have been created and funded in San Diego County, India, Zambia, South Africa, Niger and Liberia. Deborah has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for outstanding work in the non-profit sector. She has served on numerous boards, including the Women’s Leadership Board, at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  She is a member of Women Moving Millions, a 20-year member of Rotary, having served in several board capacities, and a founding member of the global Rotarian Action Group for Microfinance and Community Development.

 

 

NADEEM HUSSAIN

Founder, CEO and President of Tameer Micro Finance Bank, Nadeem Hussain champions the causes of financial empowerment, access to healthcare,environmental sustainability, affordable housing and provision of alternate energy to all Pakistanis. A pioneer in mobile and branchless banking in Pakistan Nadeem’s bank serves over 4 million people making 7 million transactions per month. Nadeem is globally recognized for this work and dedication to the economically marginalized which has impacted over 10 million people. He chaired the United Nation’s MDG Session on Financial Inclusion in New York in 2010, and was awarded the Global leader award in 2011 by C5 in Geneva.

 

 

 

JACK SIM

Jack is a social entrepreneur and change-maker at a systems level. He created the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001 as a global network and service platform for toilet associations, academia, government, UN agencies and toilet stakeholders to learn from one another and leverage media and corporate support that in turn influenced governments to promote sound sanitation and public health policies. Amongst many honours, Jack is an Ashoka Global Fellow; was awarded as Time Magazine Hero of the Environment; Asian Development Bank’s Water Champion Channel News Asia Asian of the Year; Reader’s Digest Asian of the Year and Council Member to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Water Security.

 

 

INDRANI GORADI

Founder at indrani’s Light Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRATIBHA SACHDEV

Co-Founder, GMSP Foundation.

 

 

 

 

ADVISORS TO THE COMMITTEE

 

 

SIR KEN ROBINSON Phd

Sir Ken received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth  II  for  services  to the arts. He is Professor Emeritus and was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and holds honorary degrees from Rhode Island School of Design, the Open University; the Central School of Speech & Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. Sir Ken was awarded the Athena Award for services to the arts and education; Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States; the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award, Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education; and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Royal Society of Arts. Sir Ken is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education, and in business.  Listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and ranked among the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders. Sir Ken works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, in Los Angeles, and was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.

Hon. Minister UNITY DOW

Unity Dow is Minister of Education and Skills Development in Botswana, a pan-African Human Rights Champion, novelist, and Botswana’s first female High Court judge, awarded Legion d’Honneur de France by President Sarkozy. Unity studied law at the University of Botswana and Swaziland, and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She co-founded the private Baobab Primary School in Gaborone, and the first AIDS-specific NGO in the country. Unity earned acclaim as a lawyer particularly through her stances on women’s rights, and has changed laws in Botswana for women (notably Attorney General of Botswana vs Unity Dow, 1992). Since 2005, she has been a member of a UN mission to Sierra Leone to review the domestic application of international women’s human rights norms and has been a Member of Special Mission of the UN and the Rwandan Government to review Rwanda’s preparedness to take over the hearing of the 1994 genocide cases. Unity is the visiting professor of Law at the School of Law, Columbia University, NY, Washington, Lee, Lexington, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

BI-NEWBARBARA ISAACS

Barbara completed an Adv.Mont.Dip, BA, and MA degree in Early Years Education under the guidance of Tina Bruce. Barbara is the Chief Education Officer for the Montessori St Nicholas Charity and Montessori Centre International, UK, where she has also served as Director of National Strategies. She trained with Montessori St. Nicholas in the early 1980’s and continued to study in the fields of Montessori education and early years. She is the author of Bringing Montessori into Your Early Years Setting and Understanding the Montessori Approach. Over the past 25 years, Barbara has trained and supported the training of Montessori teachers in her capacity as a lecturer both at Montessori St. Nicholas, London Montessori Centre and Montessori Centre International. In her current role she has been involved with course development and the promotion of Montessori education within the UK and internationally.

US-NEWDr. URVASHI SAHNI

Urvashi is a non-resident fellow of Brookings Institution, a member of Hillary Clinton’s CHARGE commitment and Founder of the Study Hall Educational Foundation. She is a social entrepreneur, and educationist of over 30 years standing and a leading expert in curriculum reform, school governance, and teacher training in collaboration with national and state governments and NGOs in India. Urvashi holds a masters and PhD from the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. She was the first graduate from the Graduate School of Education, Berkeley to be awarded the prestigious International HAAS award for her contributions to Education in her home country. Her Schools reach out to over 6000 students in rural and urban areas, more than half of these come from extremely poor and challenging backgrounds. She was awarded The Ashoka Fellowship for her work with Digital Study Hall, a program that uses technology to reach out to thousands of teachers, teacher-trainees and students from underserved areas.

 

BL-NEWVALERIE LOVEGREEN

Valerie holds a BA in Elementary Education (Rhode Island College), an MA in Communicative Disorders (University of Central Florida), and is presently working on a Doctoral Degree in Psychology (Northcentral University). She has been a Speech and Language Pathologist for more than 25 years. She is a Certified Trainer for the Feuerstein Institute, training both Instrumental Enrichment Standard and Basic levels. Her areas of expertise are in improving reading, auditory processing, discipline and behaviour, and social skills. She has started a small private school for students with varied learning abilities, has worked in a multidisciplinary clinic, and has served as a clinical director, principal and guidance counsellor, in a K -12 school and full therapy clinic. Valerie trains adults in Instrumental Enrichment and does clinical work with learners, ages 2 through adult.  She provides consulting services for a Montessori school, working with students and providing guidance and training for teachers and parents. She trains, mentors, and provides therapy to improve critical thinking, communication, & collaboration.

 

TB-NEWTANYA BARRON

Tanya is the Chief Executive of Plan UK. She was formerly a special needs teacher, and a lecturer in Politics and Philosophy. Tanya joined international development charity VSO, becoming their Head of Programmes for Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries. After three years with the European Children’s Trust, she was appointed as the first CEO of Home-Start International. During this period she was seconded part-time to Brussels to manage a grant-making facility for the European Commission. Tanya was Chair of a UNICEF NGO Committee in Geneva, and International Director at Leonard Cheshire Disability. She co-authored various papers and edited two LCD books, ‘Disability and Inclusive Development’ and ‘Poverty and Disability’.  Tanya holds various trusteeships and is currently a Board Member of the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Disability and Development. She was given the European Woman of Achievement (Humanitarian) award.

 

dSW2Dr. SHEILA WAMAHIU

PhD in Education (Kenyatta University, Nairobi) and MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad). An international Education, Gender and Development Consultant, her career has spanned over 30 years working as an academic, researcher, development worker, teacher, trainer and journalist. She has been Education Programme Officer in NYHQ, Head of Development Studies and Senior Lecturer (Kenyatta University, Kenya), External Examiner for the Department of Women Studies, (Makerere University, Uganda), and Chief of Education in Uganda. Sheila is the Founding Chair, Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK). She was nominated to be a member of FAWE at the global level in recognition of her contribution to girls’ education in the region. She has also served on the Advisory Board of UWEZO Kenya and the Girls’ Education Movement (GEM) in Uganda, Currently she is leading a national study on Value-Based Education in Kenya.

 

YX-NEWYUWEI XU

PhD in cross-cultural study on Gender and Teaching in early childhood settings (University of Glasgow). Yuwei taught Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Jingu College, Tianjin Normal University. Yuwei specializes in qualitative research methodology, statistical research, and quantitative method tools. His teaching experiences vary from early childhood sectors, primary and secondary schools, and higher education to adult education and continuing teacher training in China, England and Scotland. He was a lecturer on the BA (Honours) Early Childhood Studies Program at the Department of Children, Young People and Families (Leeds Trinity University).

 

RS-NEW

Dr ROBIN STERN

Robin Stern, Ph.D., is the associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. A licensed psychoanalyst, educator, and author, she holds a doctorate in applied psychology from New York University and a postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalytic group psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. Robin is a co-developer of RULER, and co-creator and lead facilitator for Yale’s Institutes. In collaboration with Facebook, she created a reporting process for cyber bullying incidents and a help center for bullied children. She is a member of the Emotionally Intelligence Consortium and was a fellow in the Public Voices Fellowship.

 

BoM-NEWBRÍAN Ó MAOILEOIN

Brían has a Master’s Degree in Educational Management from the University of Sheffield, and studied at the National University of Ireland in Limerick, specializing in Primary Education and the Irish Language.  He is the Primary School Principal at United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA), Singapore, and has served on the College’s Board of Governors. UWCSEA is part of the United World Colleges movement, which was founded in 1962 with the aim of bringing together young people from areas of post-war conflict to act as champions of peace through an education based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding. Brían sits on the Advisory Board of the Common Ground Collaborative and advised on the design of its Global Citizen component.

 

 

HELEN GARNETT

Helen holds a B-Ed Honours degree from St Mary’s University, Strawberry Hill. Having taught at primary level for many years, Helen co-founded a preschool in West Sussex, running it between 2005 and 2014. Having discovered a passion for Early Years teaching, Helen became an Early Years Consultant for Riverston Group Ltd, where she has developed the Riverston Early Years curriculum with Jackie Harland, a curriculum that focuses on early intervention and inclusion. The curriculum is now being rolled out in the UK and overseas. Helen is writing a book on empathetic practice in the Early Years, highlighting the nature, impact and influence of empathy in Early Years settings, and how to develop this vital skill in young children.  Helen also writes guest blogs for the Early Years Teacher Organisation and various parenting blogs, such as Wondermama.com.

 

 

 

TRUSTEES

 

 

FRANCINE BATES O.B.E

Francine is an honorary Fellow, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; and holds a BA Hons in History (University of North London); an Honorary Doctorate, (Middlesex University); Post-graduate Diploma in Public Relations (University of Stirling);  and is currently CEO of the Lullaby Trust. Francine has been Special Policy Adviser to the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, UK Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. She was CEO of Contact a Family, and Deputy  CEO of Carers Association UK. She is Vice-Chair of AbleChild Africa and was non-executive Director of the Royal Marsden  Hospital NHS  Foundation Trust. Francine was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2006.

 

 

ARITHA WICKRAMASINGHE

Aritha is a lawyer at K&L Gates LLP, prior to which he was a lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP. He holds an LLM from the London School of Economics and a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Birmingham. Aritha has worked at the Chambers of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, assists the Human Dignity Trust in their actions against countries that criminalise homosexuality and advises Non-Gendered in their campaign for recognition of non-gendered identity in the UK. He was ranked No.1 by the Financial Times in its Outstanding List of Top 30 Future Global LGBT Leaders.

 

 

SHIREEN IRANI

LLM in International Economic Law / Law in Development (University of Warwick); Socrates Scholar – International Relations (University of Amsterdam); BA (Honours) International Relations with Development Studies (University of  Sussex). Shireen is the Founder and Executive Director of the CSO iProbono, and a member Attorney General of the Pro Bono Committee. She is also a solicitor at the International law firm Fieldfisher. Shireen was previously CSR Executive at HSBC Group, Mumbai, and Legal Researcher at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, NYC. She is the Winner of UK Government’s Prime Minister’s Big Society Award; the Law Society’s Pro Bono Award, and  Asian Women of  Achievement  Award.

 

 

 

THINK EQUAL TEAM

 

 

CLAIRE REICHENBACH

Chief Operating Officer

Claire has 15 years experience of working for international development and human rights, in particular at Amnesty International where she undertook a variety of roles in fundraising, project and programme management, including Senior Advisor for Learning and Impact and the Senior Lead on Strategy and Evaluation.She has also spent time volunteering in Ghana and in the UK with children with a disability or life-threatening condition. Having grown-up in Switzerland and lived or worked in countries across Africa and Asia, Claire speaks French and Spanish.

 

CAIT ROBERTSON

Education Officer

Cait has recently completed her MSc in International Relations, at University College London (UCL). She also holds a BA in American Politics from the University of Nottingham. As an Education Officer at Think Equal, Cait currently heads the creation of all original books for the Early Years Program.

 

 

MYRA GARCES-BASCAL

Director of Reading Resources

Myra Garces-Bacsal is an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is the Programme Leader of the Masters of Education (MEd) Program in High Ability Studies. Recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award in 2012 and Service Commendation Award in 2013, she is a sought-after speaker among local and international institutions. She was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich as one of their International Fellows in 2016 and 2017. She serves as Chair of the Programme Committee of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content held annually in Singapore. Myra shares her passion for reading and book hunting in her website gatheringbooks.org followed by book lovers from over 200 countries.

 

 

Saarah Ahmed

Programme Officer

Saarah is a graduate of The School of Oriental & African Studies in London, UK, where she earned a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies. She has valuable background working with international NGOs such as the Centre for Disabilities Concern and the World Fair-trade Organisation and, on a local level, co-founded and acted as president of Food For Luca in London. Working in various countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the UK, Saarah pulls from her past experiences to advise her work with THINK EQUAL on an international level. She now heads the implementation and progress of THINK EQUAL’s pilot programmes.

 

 

Amber Paulson

Programme Rollout Intern

Amber has been working in education for the past ten years. She is trained in Social Emotional Learning techniques and has a teaching credential, which includes Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development authorisation. She also has experience teaching with an NGO in Vietnam. After teaching primary school in the United States for five years, Amber pursued a career shift and gained an MA in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education at University College London. She now advises and works as an intern with THINK EQUAL, helping to guide curricular and pedagogical developments.

 

 

Vanessa Di Matteo

Research and Admin Officer

Vanessa recently completed her MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She holds a BSc in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and has valuable experience in working for international organisations (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) and think tanks, having also worked and studied in various countries (Italy, Sweden, Fiji, New Zealand, the UK). She is currently in charge of research and handles partnerships and administration of the Think Equal headquarters in London.

 

 

*Website is under construction.

 THINK EQUAL is a registered charity no. 1174610 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales no. 10166996