The School Innovation Forum 2021 will feature the following speakers. We are updating the list of speakers as we approach the dates of the event.

 




David Maria Sassoli was born in Florence on 30 May 1956 and is currently the President of the European Parliament. He started working as a journalist at small newspapers and news agencies, before moving to the editorial office of Il Giorno in Rome. In 1992, he began working as a television news reporter and correspondent for TG3. Subsequently he worked on news programmes on Rai Uno and Rai Due, before joining the editorial staff of TG1 in 1999 as a special correspondent. Over the next 10 years, he was responsible for managing prime time news broadcasts, and covering major national and international events. In 2007, he became Deputy Director of TG1 and responsible for in-depth programmes TV7 and TG1 Special. On 7 June 2009, he was elected MEP of the Democratic Party and he was head of the Italian delegation in the EP. In 2014, he was re-elected as an MEP and was elected Vice-President of the EP, with responsibility for Mediterranean Policy, the budget and buildings. He was a member of the ITRE Committee and led on European railway reform and the Single European Sky. In May 2019, he began his third term as an MEP and on 3 July, he was elected President of the European Parliament.

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Thierry Breton is the current European Commissioner for Internal Market. His responsibilities include – among other – the devise of a comprehensive long-term strategy to help European industry lead the green and digital transition while ensuring fair competition, the Enhancement of Europe's technological sovereignty with an emphasis in areas such as data, artificial intelligence, 5G, defence and space technology, and the new Digital Services Act which aims to reinforce the single market for digital services, clarify obligations of online platforms, and give smaller businesses legal clarity and a level playing field. Moreover, Commissioner Breton is responsible for strengthening EU tools to prevent and counter disinformation and fake information online, while preserving freedom of expression, freedom of the press and media pluralism as well as for contributing to an updated Digital Education Action Plan to equip young people and adults with the skills they need for life and work in the digital age. He has previously been a professor at Harvard Business School and a Finance minister of France. In the private sector, he has been vice-chairman and CEO of Groupe Bull, Chairman and CEO of Thomson-RCA (1997–2002), Chairman and CEO of France Télécom (2002–2005). An Honorary Chairman of both Thomson and France Telecom, he has most recently been Chairman and CEO of international information technology services company Atos from 2008 until 2019.

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Prof. Patrizio Bianchi is currently the Minsiter of Education in Italy. He is professor of Economics and Industrial Policy since 1989 at the University of Bologna, since 1998 at the University of Ferrara, where he founded the Faculty of Economics (now the Department of Economics and Management), of which he was President of the Organizing Committee and Dean until 2004. He was Rector of the University of Ferrara from 2004 to 2010 and President of the CRUI Foundation from 2007 to 2010. Since 2010 he has taken on the responsibility of being the Councillor of the Emilia-Romagna Region for the coordination of European policies for development, school, vocational training, university, research and work; in this context he has dealt, among other things, with the reconstruction of schools after the 2012 Emilia Romagna earthquake, the reform of vocational training, the coordination of the Pact for Work, an innovative long-term participatory planning method and the activation of the big data and artificial intelligence technopole in Bologna, headquarters of the European Agency for Weather Forecasting and the European Center for Scientific Supercomputing. He has carried out an intense activity as an expert in economics and industrial policy for national, European and international institutions. He has published over 250 scientific articles and 40 economics books. In 2021, he received the Commander of Merit of the Republic by the Head of State and in 2015 the "Minister of Culture" award for political and social sciences from the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei for his academic activity. He is honorary professor at South China University in Canton (PRC), honorary citizen of the Argentine Republic and the Republic of Cameroon for his activities in those countries. Since 2020 he has been the UNESCO chair on education, growth and equality at the University of Ferrara and scientific director of the International Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Foundation for Human Development. In 2020 he was President of the Committee of Experts of the Ministry of Education for the reopening and relaunch of Italian schools after COVID19.

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Prof. João Costa is currently the Deputy Minister and Secretary of State for Education. He is also Chair of TALIS, the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey, and acted as Secretary of State for Education during the XXI Government. He is a Full Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. He graduated in Linguistics from the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon and completed his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Leiden. During his studies, he was a visiting scholar at MIT. His area of research is formal linguistics, language acquisition and development and educational linguistics. He is the author of several books and over 100 articles and book chapters. Until November 2015, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, at Universidade NOVA, and President of the Scientific Council of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT). He acted as member of the Scientific Council of the National Reading Plan, the National Commission of the International Institute for the Portuguese Language, and the Consulting Council of the Camões Institute. He was also President of the European Association of Linguistic Students (SOLE) and the Portuguese Linguistic Association. Besides his teaching and research activities at his University, he has been a guest lecturer at several universities in Brazil, Macau, Spain and the Netherlands.

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Sabine Verheyen has been a Member of the European Parliament for the German Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2009. In 2019 she got elected as Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Education, after having served as coordinator for the European People`s Party in this committee for five years. Furthermore, she is a member of the special committee on disinformation. As former mayor of Aachen (1999 to 2009), she focuses additionally on issues that are of relevance to the local authorities. Sabine Verheyen studied architecture at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences.

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Wayne Holmes is a Learning Sciences and Innovation researcher who received his PhD from the University of Oxford. Currently, he teaches at University College London, is a consultant on Artificial Intelligence and education for UNESCO and is a member of the Education Programme Committee for IRCAI (the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence). Having been involved in education throughout his life, over the last decade Wayne has focused on AI and education: researching the use of AI to enhance and further understand learning, and its ethical and social implications. He has co-authored four books, including: "Artificial Intelligence in Education. Promise and Implications for Teaching and Learning." (2019) and UNESCO's "Artificial Intelligence and Education: Guidance for Policy-makers." (2021). He has also given invited talks about AI and education to audiences in multiple countries around the world.   

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Jan De Craemer is responsible for co-ordinating the ICT and digital media policies at the Flemish Ministry of Education & Training since 1998. Besides his role in the ICT & digital media policy development, he has been responsible for ICT initiatives such as the ICT-infrastructure program, the Flemish regional expertise network for in-service training and the development of the ICT-curriculum for primary, secondary and adult education. He represents Flanders to the European Commission ET2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA). He is also Vice-chair of the European Schoolnet Steering Committee and member of the Board of Directors of European Schoolnet.

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Prof. Dirk Van Damme (PhD, Ghent University) - Senior Counsellor in the Directorate for Education and Skills at the OECD in Paris, and Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. Before joining the OECD in 2008, he was professor of educational research (Ghent University, Belgium) and comparative education (Free University Brussels, Belgium, visiting professor at Seton Hall University, NJ, USA), was counsellor for several Flemish education ministers (1992-2000), General Director of the Flemish Rectors' Conference VLIR (2000-2003), and chief of staff of minister Frank Vandenbroucke (2004-2008). He published extensively on educational quality assurance and evaluation and was a board member and expert to various quality assurance agencies and international organisations. At the OECD, he is supervising and promoting work on educational technology, the assessment of social and emotional skills, and innovation in education. His current interests are the science of learning, comparative analyses of educational systems, lifelong learning and higher education policy and evaluation. He is also leading work on the assessment of higher education learning outcomes.

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Virginia Dignum is a Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University, Sweden and associated with the TU Delft in the Netherlands. She is the director of WASP-HS, the Wallenberg Program on Humanities and Society for AI, Autonomous Systems and Software, the largest Swedish national research program on fundamental multidisciplinary research on the societal and human impact of AI.She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a Fellow of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EURAI). Her current research focus is on the specification, verification and monitoring of ethical and societal principles for intelligent autonomous systems. She is committed to policy and awareness efforts towards the responsible development and use of AI, as member of the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, the working group on Responsible AI of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), the World Economic Forum's Global Artificial Intelligence Council, lead for UNICEF's guidance for AI and children, the Executive Committee of the IEEE Initiative on Ethically Aligned Design, and as founding member of ALLAI, the Dutch AI Alliance. Her book "Responsible Artificial Intelligence: developing and using AI in a responsible way" was published by Springer-Nature in 2019.

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Professor Fengchun Miao is the Chief of the Unit for Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Education at UNESCO, Education Sector, Headquarters in Paris. He is leading programmes in areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and education, ICT in education policy development, digital skills development for teachers and students, Open Educational Resources (OER), mobile learning, and future e-schools. He is also in charge of UNESCO Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education. Highlights of his achievements include leading the organization of two international conferences on AI and education as well as the development and adoption of the Beijing Consensus – the first international consensus on AI and Education; the  launch and continuous organization of Mobile Learning Week for 10 years; the development and adoption of Qingdao Declaration on leveraging ICT to achieve SDG 4 and Beijing Consensus on AI and Education. He brings with his experiences of supporting more than 60 countries directly for the development of national ICT in education policies and OER policies.  

Before joining UNESCO, Dr. Miao was the Director-General of the National Research Centre for Computer Education, Ministry of Education, China. In that capacity, he was responsible for the development of national ICT in education policies and ICT curriculum standards for students, and managing the National Association for the Use of ICT in K-12 Schools of China.

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As Director of K12 Education EMEA, Microsoft's Worldwide Education organisation, Kati works in EMEA with Ministries of Education, education leaders, policy makers, schools, and education partners to help them realise the teaching and learning potential and help with digital transformation strategies. Kati is a Finnish K-12 educator. She has master's degree in Education and has background working for the Teachers Union of Finland, leading eLearning Service Opit (LMS) at the biggest Education Publisher in Scandinavia and has political experience as a Member of the Board of Education in the capital of Finland Helsinki. Recently she has continued her academic studies and Aalto University and she is certified Prosci practitioner. Kati has worked in Education for over 20 years, teaching, leading Schools and direction large 1:1 Information and Learning Technology Programs. During 2003 – 2008 Kati began working with Microsoft focused on eLearning in Finland and transitioned to the US as the WW Program manager for Microdot's Innovative Schools Program. 2012-2015 Kati returned to Europe as Director of Microsoft Education business in Central- and Eastern Europe, covering 36 countries and all up business from K12 to HE. Currently she is leading Project Constellation in where Education systems explore, co-design and innovate the use of responsible Analytics and AI in k12 education.   

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