Speakers and panels

Below, you will find information about the keynote speakers, panels and panelists of the African Education Festival in Accra, Ghana.

Keynote speakers

Dr Patrick Awuah

President of Ashesi University

Patrick Awah

Speaker Bio:

Patrick Awuah is the founder and president of Ashesi University, a private, not-for-profit institution that has quickly gained a reputation as one of Ghana’s finest institutions of higher learning. Patrick left Ghana in 1985 when Swarthmore accepted him on a near-full scholarship. In 2001, after living in America for almost two decades, Patrick Awuah returned to Ghana.

Before founding Ashesi University, Patrick worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft where, among other things, he spearheaded the development of dial-up internet working technologies and gained a reputation for bringing difficult projects to completion.

He holds bachelor degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College; an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business; and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College and Babson College.

In recognition of his service to Ghana,Patrick was awarded Membership of the Order of the Volta by His Excellency, President J.A. Kufuor in July 2007. The Order of the Volta is one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country.

He has won many prestigious international awards including the MacArthur Fellowship and the McNulty Prize. In 2015, Patrick was named one the 50 greatest leaders in the world by Fortune Magazine. He has also twice been recognized by a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of Ghanaian CEOs as one of the ten most respected CEOs in Ghana. In December 2015, Patrick was recognized by Africa Leadership Initiative — West Africa (ALIWA) as a “Genius Fellow” an honour reserved for only 20 people around the world.

He is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Global Leadership Network; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society for excellence in engineering.

Dr Conrad Hughes

Campus and Secondary Principal at the International School of Geneva

Conrad Hughes

Speaker Bio:

Dr Conrad Hughes is Campus and Secondary Principal at the International School of Geneva, La Grande Boissiere, the oldest international school in the world. He has been school principal, Director of Education, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator and teacher in schools in Switzerland, France, India and the Netherlands. He teaches philosophy. His PhD is in English literature.

He is currently undertaking doctoral research at Durham University on the relationship between prejudice and education with specific focus on how education can reduce prejudice. His research interests also include 21st Century Education, Critical Thinking, International Education and Assessment He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and as Director of Education at the International School of Geneva he led the publication of Guiding Principles for Learning in the 21st Century with UNESCO.

His latest book, Understanding Prejudice and Education: The Challenge for Future Generations, was published in 2016 by Routledge.


Panels and speakers

Read more about the panels and speakers below and see here for information on the conference schedule.


Panel 1: Being an international school -  Promoting intercultural awareness and international mindedness in your institution

The International Schools Consultancy (ISC) estimates that there will be over 1500 international schools in Africa by 2025. The ISC defines international schools as a school which “delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country. If the school is in a country where English is an official language, it “offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum and the school is international in its orientation”. What makes a school international? How does a school create an environment that fosters and promotes respect and understanding for other perspectives, cultures and languages or even the ability to see oneself as a responsible member of the community? 


Panel 2: How to meaningfully integrate technology in your school

The Ed-tech industry has grown substantially to accommodate the increasing need of schools to integrate technology in their institutions. We live in world that is intertwined with technology. However, successful technology integration is a challenge that schools grapple with. Working with digital natives and the growth of technological pursuits requires that schools and learners are efficient and successful at weaving technology in key facets of school life. In what ways can schools adapt technology in a sustainable manner? How does a school develop a successful digital strategy by assessing, creating and implementing a strong model which involves teacher training and participation and student/parent support? How can this impact positively on teaching and learning outcomes and a school’s digital footprint/culture?


Panel 3: The Learner Profile - Developing globally competent students

The IB Learner profile provides a set of attributes that guides the work of schools to develop students who can successfully navigate the 21st century. The attributes encompass the development of skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and other career and life skills. Countries like Australia, Rwanda and Singapore have developed similar frameworks to help develop students with competencies that incorporate both academic and life skills. The desired outcome of the LP is to develop the whole person and create life-long learners. What are the attributes of the Learner Profile? What are the skills needed for the 21st century? How does a school train its students to exhibit these attributes to be globally competitive?


Panel 4: Creating excellent schools - Running a school that promotes transformational education

What does an excellent school look like? How does one create institutional excellence that promotes transformational education? Does it depend on the school leader or does it require a cultural shift in the school environment? Is it created by a curriculum? Experienced educators and supportive parents? What are the ingredients of an excellent school and does that really exist?


Panel 5: Developing a balanced curriculum: STEM Vs STEAM

Proponents of STEM argue that a country’s development is inextricably linked to training the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians to spearhead the scientific revolution and the technology of the future. However, art enthusiasts argue that the “A” in STEAM is as essential. Where would the world be without the arts? And does science imitate art or vice versa? Should curricular focus on one or the other or provide a hybrid? What examples exist of hybrid approaches and how does a school incorporate all if any of these approaches? What are some of the ways in which a school can create a balanced curriculum?


Panel 6: Developing and sustaining professional learning communities

Professional learning communities (PLCs) are a way of organizing educational staff so that they can engage in purposeful, collegial learning with the aim of improving staff effectiveness so that all students learn successfully to high standards (Hord, 2008). What are the key components of creating a highly effective professional learning community? What are the benefits, if any, of promoting increased collaboration among teachers? How do school leaders create an environment that develops a highly effective and professional learning community?


Panel 7: Circular economies and service learning - Innovation

The circular economy framework, developed by EMF, sets out a model for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. This new initiative aims to provide teachers and students with classroom resources, linking circular economy thinking to students’ curriculum learning. Providing learners with the opportunity to engage in the world outside the classroom lends itself to thinking creatively and innovatively about solving the world’s problems. How can a school promote service learning? How can this be an academic pursuit? What are the ways schools have incorporated service learning in their curriculum? Why is it important for young people to understand the complexity of the world we live in? 


Panel 8: Leadership seminar - Catherine Ige