Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers

The Prime Minister in Norway Erna Solberg will in her keynote be focusing on learning throughout life, and the vital role that lifelong learning plays for the competitiveness of the individual and society. Her government has started to implement a lifelong learning competence reform, aiming for an inclusive work life where more employees will be able to work longer.

Iarla Flynn is the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google in Northern Europe. Prior to joining Google in 2007 he spent 12 years in senior government and industry roles including in Ireland’s telecommunications sector, where he was a leading advocate for the benefits of competition and digitisation. Flynn will talk about how new tech – machine learning, robotics and virtual reality – are re-shaping how we work and live. What will the future world of work look like? Read more>>

Haldis Holst is Deputy General Secretary of Education International (EI) which represents organisations of teachers and other education employees across the globe and is the world’s largest federation of unions. Ms Holst is also currently Chair of the Governing Board of The European Wergeland Centre (EWC). The EWC is a resource centre based in Oslo for education professionals, researchers, civil society, policymakers, parents and students across Europe. In addition Ms Holst serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and on the Board of the Global Campaign Against child Labour. Read more>>

President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Asha Singh Kanwar is one of the world’s leading advocates of learning for development. Before joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa. In her keynote, she will address lifelong learning and strategies for quality education world-wide in the light of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Read more>>

Teemu Roos is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Prof Roos’s research interests include the theory and applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. His Elements of AI online course has a pivotal role in Finland’s unique, inclusive AI strategy. The course is a public-private initiative towards lifelong learning, and it has become a global phenomenon with over 130 000 participants to date.

Chair, Dr. Neil Fassina is President at Athabasca University. On August 17, 2016, Dr. Neil Fassina became Athabasca University’s (AU) eighth President. Shortly thereafter, and on behalf of the university community, Neil introduced Imagine: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities, a 5-year strategic plan to transform AU into a world-leading, digital-first university. Imagine is a strategy which builds on AU’s rich history as an innovator and disruptor of higher education and positions it to take on the challenges of the 21st Century’s learners. Read more>>

Bo Dahlbom is a professor of information systems at the University of Gothenburg and research director at Sustainable Innovation. In his opening keynote, he will address the future of work and lifelong learning. More rapid evolution and diffusion of technology will change job tasks and increase the need for lifelong learning. The digital revolution will take us from factories to platforms, from well-defined, closed organizations to open networking. After having spent a century learning from the automotive industry (Ford and Toyota), the digital giants will now become role models for how to organize work. Digital platforms will provide new work tasks and all competence will include digital competence. With digital platforms learning will become like music, a dimension of everyday life and work. Read more>>

Glenn Ruud is Global Learning and Development Director at Wilhelmsen. He has spent most of his career in education and competence development in the private sector, first with educational projects in NGOs and the United Nations, followed by more than a decade in the business education industry. Before joining Wilhelmsen he spent more than 5 years in DNV GL as the Global Head of Competence and Learning. His main interests are 70:20:10 competence implementation for enhanced business impact, exploration of new technologies to engage employees, building a culture of lifelong learning and enhancing return on investment in learning and development.

Diana Laurillard is Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education. Her research includes large-scale online communities of teacher-designers, and the use of specialised digital course design tools to enable teachers to create and share new pedagogies for using learning technology. She is currently running two MOOCs on teacher development in digital course design.

David Atchoarena is the Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. He was appointed in April 2018. Before that, he was Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO, with oversight of education policies, higher education, adult and vocational education and training, and ICT in education. Read more>>

Knut Henrik Aas is CEO of EON Reality Norway As. The company is a global leader in software production of Virtual and Augmented Reality applications for education and industrial knowledge transfer. He has been the manager of the company since the establishment  in Norway in 2017. Mr Aas has his background from 20 years with the Norwegian Armed Forces. Between 1998-2004 he worked at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment with future soldier systems. Furthermore, he is educated at the Inland University of applied science, before he worked 8 years with business development.


Panel speakers

Joel Cohen is a regular convener and chair of debates at Europe’s premier ideas festival, the Battle of Ideas, covering a range of issues across civic life, education, politics and international affairs. He has extensive experience of the charities sector and joined the External Affairs team at Sport England in September 2018. Prior to this he managed campaigns and communications for the philanthropy group, BeyondMe, and co-ordinated volunteer judges and projects for the UK’s toughest schools’ debating competition, Debating Matters. Joel holds a BA in politics from SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Gro Tjore obtained a Master Degree in Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen (Norway). She was an exchange student within the framework of EUs Erasmus programme for education and youth in Paris (France) in 1994. Tjore gained extensive international experience working as a Programme Officer with the UN World Food Program in Benin, Italy, Ethiopia and USA from 1997 to 2006. After returning to Norway, she started her career at SIU (SIU – Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation in Education) in 2006. She held the positions of Senior Adviser, Head of Section, Head of Department and Deputy Director General at SIU. Since 2018, she works as a Deputy Director General at Diku (Diku – Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education).

June Mariann Breivik is the head of the Department of Arts, Culture and Education at Kulturtanken – Arts for Young Audiences Norway. She comes from the position as development manager for e-learning at BI Norwegian Business School, and has previously worked as a project manager for Digital school in upper secondary education, principal in primary and secondary education. She is a sociologist, writes the blog Tanker, and is the author of the book Learning in a digital age.

Hróbjartur Árnason is an Assistant Professor for Adult and Continuing Education in the School of Education at the University of Iceland. His research and practical projects include the use of ICT in adult education, democratic and creative learning methods, teacher training, education for senior citizens and evaluation of adult education projects both locally and for development cooperation. Hróbjartur has extensive experience in educating and training adult educators, both in informal settings as well as part of the Master’s Program on innovation and adult learning which he leads at the University of Iceland. His current research interests lie in the area of theories on adult learning and their connection to research and theories of creativity.

Kimberly Lein-Mathisen is a CEO and board member who loves the challenge of lifting an organization to new heights – helping a company find new sources of energy, growth, and momentum. Today the GM of Microsoft Norway, she has 20+ years of experience in both traditional industries including Branded Consumer Goods and Pharmaceuticals and technology-driven sectors including Media, Software, and AI, and has deep experience leading across many geographies North America, Europe and Asia. Kimberly is a passionate, insightful leader and voice for how technology can lift Norway and how the cloud is a Cloud for the Global Good, and she regularly engages in public speaking on diversity, cultural and digital transformation. Read more>>

Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo is the Head of the Education Unit of the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa since January 2015. The Office is covering nine countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Prior to her assignment in Southern Africa,   she was the Deputy Director at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UNESCO Category I Institute) in Hamburg, Germany. During her 22 years stint at the Institute, she worked on areas of gender, youth and skills development, literacy and non-formal education, HIV preventive education in non-formal settings and citizenship education. Read more>>

Dennis Hayes is Professor of Education at the University of Derby. He is the founder and director of the campaign group Academics For Academic Freedom (AFAF). He is the author and editor of many books including The McDonaldization of Higher Education and a follow-up work Beyond McDonaldization: Visions of Higher Education. In 2008, he co-authored with Kathryn Ecclestone the controversial and bestselling book, The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education which has been described as ‘one of the most important books to have been written in at least the last twenty years in that crucial area where philosophy, policy and practice coincide’. It will be re-issued in February 2019 in the Routledge Education Classic Editions series with a new introduction. His latest book: The Death of Academic Freedom? Free speech and censorship on campus will also be published by Routledge in 2020.

Darco Jansen is programme manager at the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU). He is responsible for development of different long term themes for EADTU on Online Education, MOOCs and OER, Employability, Lifelong Learning and Virtual Mobility. He worked for over 20 years at the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands in different management positions. Since 2012 he coordinated and participated in over 10 European projects. During recent years his focus was to stimulate and demonstrate a strong MOOC uptake in Europe. In this context, Darco is the coordinator of the first pan European MOOC initiative OpenupEd, coordinator and partner of several European MOOC projects. His latest focus is on stackable short degrees / short learning programs with a focus on cross-institutional offering and recognition.

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