Paul Ainsworth has been the director of Ariel Trust, an educational charity, since 2000. He leads a creative team developing anti-violence resources for schools. Currently over 200 schools use these resources across northwest England. Last year around 21,000 young people engaged in anti-violence education with Ariel Trust.
Paul works closely with the Social Research Unit – Dartington in order to conduct research into best practice in anti-violence education. This research feeds directly into the design and development of new educational resources.
Ariel Trust is keen to build new relationships with European partners in order to develop a network dedicated to best practice in anti-violence education.
Cécile Barbeito is a peace education researcher and trainer at the peace research center Escola de Cultura de Pau (School for a Culture of Peace) at UAB. She holds a degree in Political Science, an MSc in Culture of Peace and an MSc in Mental Health in the context of political violence, and a Master’s degree in Educational Evaluation. She has worked as an evaluator of peace education projects at different levels: learning evaluation, project evaluation, and institutional evaluation.
Together with Marina Caireta, Cécile is currently working on a project to elaborate a map of good practices on conflict management education in Europe, initiated by the Evens Foundation.
Tomas Baum is the director of the Flemish Peace Institute. He studied philosophy, applied ethics and international politics. He studies the common characterizations of peace that comprise democratic, cultural, institutional and cosmopolitan elements. From this perspective he reflects not only on war and peace, but also on the relations between the local and the global, ideals and reality, morality and politics. Tomas also works as a facilitator in conflict transformation processes based on insights from participatory community building and theories of conflict resolution.
Friederike Birkle is a freelance communications consultant and trainer, owning her own business FB Intermediair since 2009. With over 17 years of experience as trainer and facilitator, she mainly focuses on (intercultural) communication, diversity and personal development.
Trained as a youth leader on diversity issues aged 18, she has since then designed and led workshops on European level in the profit and non-profit sector on topics of anti-discrimination, democracy building, non-violent communication and empowerment. In 2005, Friederike encountered the body of work known as Human Dynamics and has since then been an active part in the learning, understanding, translating and implementing what is currently called Inner Diversity, under the guidance of Linda O’Toole and UEF, through Learning for Well-Being.
She holds a Master of Arts in communication and information studies from Utrecht University. Friederike Birkle lives in Rotterdam.
Griet Boddez is a Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach (NBA) certified trainer, coach and counselor at the Institute of NeuroCognitivism in Brussels.
She is also involved with the “Learn to Be at School” project, a “brain-based” education program developed by the Learn to Be association. The aim of the program is to develop attitudes and practices that stimulate an adaptive mind-set that is global, complex and flexible, among both teachers and schoolchildren. This includes enhancing social and emotional skills, as how to cope with stress, how to prevent conflicts, how to boost motivation, commitment and self-confidence, etc. Her work with teachers and education teams is based on constructive, experiential and peer-to-peer learning. The program was evaluated by the University of Namur and the University of Antwerp.
François Bogacz is the co-founder and CEO of Neuroawareness Consulting Services Inc., which delivers consulting and training services in negotiation, conflict prevention, and resolution and leadership development. Using ground-breaking “brain-based” knowledge and techniques, François has helped hundreds of clients in Europe, USA, Australia and Southeast Asia to improve their effectiveness, resilience and well-being in their jobs. In the first part of his professional life, he worked in global companies and start-ups as a marketing and business development executive.
Francois has completed a postgraduate program in the Neuroscience of Leadership, is a graduate of the Harvard Program on Negotiation, an International Mediation Institute Certified Mediator, and a De Bono Thinking Systems Facilitator. He is currently working on a PhD at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences of the University of Geneva.
Dr Tracey Burns is a project leader in the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation of the OECD. She leads the Governing Complex Education Systems project and is also responsible for the OECD work on Trends Shaping Education, which looks at how trends outside of education could have an impact on education in the future. Previous to this she worked on social determinants of health and on education and social inclusion issues at both the OECD and in Vancouver, Canada. Tracey holds a BA from McGill University, Canada and a MA and PhD from Northeastern University, USA.
Marina Caireta is a peace education researcher and trainer at the peace research center Escola de Cultura de Pau at UAB. She has a Master’s in Environmental Education and an MSc in Culture of Peace, and in Expression and Communication in Education. She is also trained in Gestalt Therapy. She is author of “Peace Games. Toolbox to educate for a culture of peace” and “Education for peace and coexistence in the school setting”.
Together with Cecile Barbeito, Marina is currently working on a project elaborating a map that collects good practices on conflict management education in Europe, initiated by the Evens Foundation.
Mohamed Chatouani is a member of the Democratic Dialogue project at Erasmus University College in Brussels, and is specialized in Islam. As a teacher and Dialogue Coach, and through a range of other initiatives, Mohamed shows great understanding of young people’s various beliefs and cultures. His focus is on what these different beliefs and cultures have in common, and on the humane behaviour that is required of all of us regardless of them.
Eef Cornelissen is a lecturer and coach in Democratic Dialogue at Erasmus University College Brussels. She has a Master’s in philosophy. As a trainer with several organizations, she specializes in leading processes of reflection, philosophy with children and the art of socratic questioning.
Dr Hilary Cremin is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. She researches and teaches in the areas of peace education and conflict resolution in schools and communities internationally. Hilary has carried out research projects on restorative justice, peer mediation, violence and conflict resolution in schools. She has a growing interest in arts-based methodologies in educational research, including photovoice, poetry and autoethnography.
In the 12 years before going into the higher education sector, Hilary set up and ran a company specialised in conflict resolution training for adults and children. She has worked in hundreds of schools throughout the UK, as well as in communities and families, as a mediator. She continues to lead knowledge-transfer and user-engagement activities, including evaluations of peace education projects, and to provide teacher trainings on restorative approaches to conflict in schools.
Tom is the organisational lead on evaluation at Leap Confronting Conflict, an award winning youth and conflict charity. He designed and developed Leap’s bespoke tools and processes for measuring the change achieved by young people participating in Leap’s programmes and wrote Leap’s Theory of Change. Tom presents on evaluation, impact and innovation at national conferences and delivers evaluation training to practitioners from a range of backgrounds. Tom also manages delivery of a number of projects including one addressing intimate relationship abuse and another engaging children excluded from school. He recently started a 3-year programme to tackle violence in prisons.
Prior to joining Leap in 2008, Tom managed a mentoring project in two Young Offender Institutions and through the gate, back into their community. He previously worked for 15 years as a freelance training consultant with clients from the corporate, statutory and private sectors.
Cherif El Farri is a member of the Democratic Dialogue project at Erasmus University College in Brussels, and is specialized in Islamic theology and deradicalization. As one of the Dialogue Coaches, he aims to help people of different backgrounds and religious, philosophical and moral convictions by providing them with various techniques that enable them to initiate or restore dialogue.
Jonathan Even-Zohar has been working with history educators associated in EUROCLIO for over 10 years and is currently director. The organisation has provided cross-border professional development for over 12.000 history educators in over 50 countries, whilst building capacities for them to grow as independent associations on national levels, seeking to promote innovative and responsible history education that promotes critical thinking, mutual understanding, peace and democracy.
Jonathan has been mainly engaged with EUROCLIO’s work in south east europe as well as on remembrance and peace and is currently organising the next annual conference of EUROCLIO under the title “Reimagining Remembrance. Dealing with the Legacies of a Violent Past in History and Heritage Education”, 19-24 March in Belfast – all are welcome.
Carrina Gaffney is passionate about helping people realise their full potential. She uses her eighteen years (and counting!) experience in digital, sustainability and communications to design and facilitate innovative approaches to creating social change. This includes working with people to develop responsible and social businesses with a clear purpose. Helping to craft and align sustainability strategies, sustainable digital product development and facilitation of innovation programmes. She also helps people to create compelling engagement and communication programmes that share the important stories to relevant audiences.
Carrina holds an action research based MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath, UK.
A teacher, counselor and certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Marianne Gothlin received her teacher degree in Stockholm in 1988 and started to teach in the Swedish state school system. A turning point in her career happened in 1990, when she discovered NVC through the teachings of Marshall Rosenberg PhD and one of his earliest certified NVC trainers, Towe Widstrand of Stockholm.
Marianne became a certified trainer in NVC in 1998 and started to explore the possibilities of developing schools and kindergartens based on the NVC principles, first as a schoolteacher and part of the pedagogical leadership in a state school in the Stockholm suburbs, and later as a teacher trainer in schools, kindergartens and teacher institutes all over Sweden. In 1998 she co-founded a school (Skarpnäcks Fria Skola) built on NVC principles, an ongoing rewarding experience.
In recent years Marianne has shared NVC internationally, as a trainer on many IITs (International Intensive Trainings) together with Marshall Rosenberg and other trainers from different countries.
Nataša Hauzer has a Master’s degree in Social Pedagogy and is a youth worker at the Youth Aid Center Association (YACA) – a national, non-profit and non-governmental organization that unites professional and voluntary work to protect rights, as well as mental and social development of children and young people. YACA is specialized mostly in developing the social skills of children and young people.
Nataša has over seven years of experience in the youth sector. She works with groups and explores group dynamics in non-formal settings, facilitates team-building in high schools, organizes and facilitates youth exchanges with international partners, etc. For the last five years she has focused on exploring “play” as a method of working with children. She is one of the co-creators of the first and for now the only adventure playground in Slovenia. Her work is also focused on experiential and peer-to-peer learning.
Petra Hilgers is one of the founders of deep:black, a London-based co-operative run by four women with expertise in the arts, mediation and education. They design and facilitate a range of creative workshops, training programmes, arts-based projects and events. Coming from a mediation perspective, deep:black acknowledges without judgement different experiences, and focuses on creating opportunities for deepening understanding, building empathy and strengthening community.
Petra has over 15 years of experience in the fields of community development, team and organizational change, and personal development. She holds a degree in Social Pedagogy, and developed her skills in peace-building, non-violent communication, mediation and creative facilitation when working in communities in Germany, Bosnia, South Africa, Uganda, Sudan, Afghanistan and the UK.
Dr Belinda Hopkins is the founder and director of Transforming Conflict, one of the UK’s leading providers of training and consultancy on restorative approaches in youth settings. She pioneered the application of restorative principles in school settings in the UK in the late 1990s and created the first training course in restorative skills developed specifically for teachers.
Belinda is the most published author in the world in the field of restorative approaches in both schools and care. Her pioneering books Just Schools (JKP 2004), Just Care (JKP 2009), and The Restorative Classroom (Optimus 2011) are internationally acclaimed.
Belinda has been centrally involved in developing National Practice Standards for individuals and quality standards for services and institutions, working closely with the Restorative Justice Council (RJC) and the UK Home Office for over 10 years. She was one of the first people in the UK to become an RJC accredited practitioner (APRJC). She was on the board of directors of the RJC for some years and remains on an advisory group to enhance training standards.
In recent years her most exciting work has been with local authorities, spreading the core values, beliefs and principles of restorative practice with agencies supporting children and families.
Nikolas Katsimpras is a Senior Fellow of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, lecturer at Columbia University’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program, and assistant adjunct professor at the Dispute Resolution program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He designed the Conflict Resolution Lab of the graduate program in Development Practice at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), which he implements every spring.
A former officer of the Hellenic Navy, with extensive international experience, Nikolas has been awarded by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law, and in 2012, he received the Dynamical Systems Fellowship from Columbia University’s Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4), to conduct research on the peace negotiations in Burma. Nikolas has a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and a BS from the Hellenic Naval Academy.
Nikolas is a delegate of NATO Emerging Leaders, the premier leadership program of the Atlantic Council, and a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. He is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. He is also a consultant on organizational culture and cross-functional collaboration, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences such as Velocity.
Marianne Katsina Munis is an organizational and educational consultant, instructor, mediator and freelance facilitator connected with the Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution. She cooperates with Youth Town, Denmark which, among other things, is the Danish national coordinator of UNESCO’s Associated Schools.
For 11 years Marianne was Head of the Experimental School at the National Innovative Center for General Education in Denmark, and was employed by the Danish Ministry of Education (1988-2007). She has taught and trained adults, children and young people in Denmark, Europe, India and South Africa.
She holds a Diploma in Leadership, is certified in conflict resolution and mediation, and is a qualified teacher with specific training in educational innovation and development. She is a mentor, supervisor and coach for individuals and groups and does voluntary conflict counseling in her local community. Marianne is a Deep Democracy practitioner and accredited instructor in Foundation Course.
Dr Olga Klimecki is a neuroscientist and psychologist at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva. In her work, she seeks to understand the neural mechanisms that shape our social emotions in adaptive ways, combining methods from psychology, neuroscience and economy.
In her doctoral research she studied the neural and behavioral substrates of adaptive and maladaptive emotions, focusing particularly on plasticity. In longitudinal studies, she examined how far training social emotions (compassion, empathy) changes affective experience, prosocial behavior and neural function.
She extended her line of research to conflict behavior with a BRIDGE/Marie Curie fellowship at the University of Geneva (2013-2015). She is now joint coordinator, with Prof. David Sander, of research into the role of emotions in conflict resolution.
She is co-author of a number of studies, including Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training (Cerebral Cortex, 2012).
Olga studied psychology at the University of Mainz, Germany and neuroscience at UCL, UK, and holds a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Zurich.
Jeremy Lack is an independent lawyer and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Neutral. He specializes in designing and implementing international dispute prevention and resolution processes, and works in the fields of intellectual property, the life sciences and information technology.
Jeremy handles international negotiations, mediations, conciliations, arbitrations, litigations and mixed ADR hybrid processes in a wide range of fields and countries. He is a Vice-Chair of the Independent Standards Commission of the International Mediation Institute (IMI), the Co-Chair of the Swiss Chamber of Commercial Mediation (Section Romande) and an accredited IMI mediator and mediation advocate.
He teaches at the EPFL in Lausanne and collaborates with the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (CISA) in Geneva. He has an MA degree in Physiological Sciences & Jurisprudence from Lincoln College, Oxford University.
Christelle Lacour is a trainer at L’Université de Paix in Namur, Belgium since 2007. She has specialized in positive conflict management for youngsters and adults, with a particular focus on communication methods, emotional intelligence, assertiveness, aggressivity and counter-manipulation.
She has broad experience in developing educational tools, including a cooperative game called Belfedar, textbooks on peer mediation for youngsters, and a DVD analyzing different attitudes toward conflict. Since 2012, she has coordinated the Business Department of L’Université de Paix, developing tailor-made training for the corporate sector.
A trained psychologist, Christelle also lectures at L’Université de Mons. She facilitates workshops, speaks at conferences and writes articles on topics related to conflict management.
Yarden Leal-Yablonka has been directing the Development and External Relations Department of the Peres Center for Peace since 2010, driving the center’s project development, fundraising and promotional efforts.
She joined the organization in 2004, working on civil society programs and activities. In 2006, she switched over to the IT Peace Projects Department, serving as project manager responsible for coordinating a multitude of initiatives for Palestinian and Israeli youth, focused on the use of virtual tools in the promotion of dialogue and peacebuilding. In 2009, she became manager of the department, and worked closely with a network of Palestinian partners, from NGOs and schools to community leaders in the Palestinian Authority, and in parallel, with a large number of specialists, educators and Israeli school principals.
Yarden holds a BA degree in Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies and a Master’s in Middle Eastern History, both from Tel Aviv University.
Julien Lecomte is a communications officer and trainer in conflict management at L’Université de Paix, in Namur, Belgium (since 2010). From 2013-2014, he also worked as Media Literacy Expert at the Supreme Council for Media Education.
He holds a Master’s degree in Information and Communication and a Teacher’s Certificate in Higher Secondary Education. He is a Visiting Professor at IHECS, where he is teaching Philosophy and Ethics of Communication, in the framework of the Master’s in Media Education. Julien is the author of Media: Influence, Power and Reliability (Harmattan, 2012) and co-author of Media and Information: 40 pedagogical activities for secondary education (De Boeck, 2014).
Co-founder and CEO of Deep Democracy, Myrna Lewis consults internationally and specializes in conflict resolution, interventions and transformation in complex and difficult situations. She also trains, accredits and supervises Deep Democracy Instructors worldwide.
Born out of South Africa’s transformation from apartheid to democracy, in 1995, the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy is a facilitative method that enables voices to be heard, resolves tension and conflict, and assists with decision-making, dialogue, cooperation and leadership. It has been applied successfully in more than 20 countries, in the social, educational and corporate sectors.
Myrna received an Ashoka Fellowship award for her work in education. In 2006, the United Nations recognized Deep Democracy as one of eighty leading African innovations. In 2012 Myrna became involved with the innovation and changes in Swedish political practices, supporting the involvement of citizens in decision-making. In 2014 she began teaching the Lewis Method to the International Labor Organization of the UN.
Myrna has a BA degree in Social Science, a BA Hons degree in Psychology, and an MA degree in Clinical Psychology. She completed further training in Process-Orientated Psychology and Psychosynthesis.
Thomas Misco is Professor of Social Studies Education and Naus Family Endowed Faculty Scholar at Miami University. He has a BA in History and Geography (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and an MA and PhD (University of Iowa). He has conducted a wide variety of research studies on controversial-issue education in China, Guam, Japan, Latvia, Romania, South Korea and Taiwan. He published Preparing to Succeed at U.S. Colleges and Universities: A Guidebook for Chinese Students (2015) and Cross-Cultural Case Studies of Teaching Controversial Issues (2014). Misco is a past recipient of the Miami University Distinguished Scholar Award and a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow.
Ahmed Moallim is a young youth-work practitioner, and has been delivering training in emotional intelligence and conflict resolution to both young people and adults across the UK with non-profit organisation Leap Confronting Conflict since he was 15 years old.
Established in 1987, Leap prevents the escalation of everyday conflict into destructive behaviour and violence by giving young people and the professionals who work with them the skills to understand the causes and consequences of conflict. In 2009, Ahmed won Leap Volunteer of the Year and continues as a young trainer, working with his local council to support young people’s transition into adulthood and facilitating their personal, social and academic development through informal education.
Ahmed is a youth-work student at London Metropolitan University and is employed by the university to work in surrounding schools and colleges with young people to nurture their aspiration for higher education, through mentoring and coaching. He won the Mentor of the Year Award, 2015 as a result of his great work. Ahmed aspires to further his career and passion for creating positive change through motivational and inspirational speeches and hopes to take his transformational work abroad and work with young people in disadvantaged countries.
Dr Esther Oliver is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona, Spain and researcher at CREA (Community of Researchers on Excellence for All). Her research has been focused on analysis of the causes of gender violence affecting girls and on the processes of preventive socialization as a way to overcome it in schools from early childhood.
Esther conducted research for the FP7 IMPACT-EV and the FP6 INCLUD-ED projects from 2006 to 2011. INCLUD-ED, focused on the analysis of successful educational actions, was the only Social Sciences and Humanities project, from a list of 10 success stories, highlighted by the European Commission due to the social and political impact achieved. Esther was also the main researcher of the R+D National Plan The Mirage of Upward Mobility and Socialization of Gender Violence (2010-2013).
Prior to her position at the University of Barcelona, Esther was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Warwick (2006-2008), conducting research on gender violence at universities, and guest professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen (2007). At present, she is Deputy Editor of International Sociology and her work has been published in journals such as Qualitative Inquiry and the British Journal of Sociology of Education, among many others.
Saul Parker is Insight and Strategy Director at Livity. Livity is a UK social enterprise that works collaboratively with young people to develop media campaigns and social initiatives, all designed to positively impact the lives of young people. Its clients are a combination of UK and international government bodies, NGOs and corporates.
For many years Saul has specialised in communications for behaviour and social change, working extensively throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. Prior to his role at Livity, Saul was Senior Strategist with Nike Foundation and DFID’s Girl Hub/Girl Effect partnership, with a responsibility for designing and facilitating research and integrated strategy processes across its Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda programmes. He holds an M.Res in Anthropology from University College London and an MA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Oxford.
Elena Passerini lives in Milan where she studied philosophy and psychodrama. She collaborated with pedagogist Daniele Novara in the Centro Psicopedagogico per l’Educazione e la gestione dei conflitti in Piacenza (Psycho-Pedagogical Institute for Education and Conflict Management), as a teacher trainer and developer of their tools for education, such as the “Interactive exhibition” and “Conflict cards”.
She co-authored with Daniele Novara the book Con gli altri imparo. La classe come gruppo per favorire l’apprendimento (With others I learn. Using the school class as a group that promotes learning), to be published by Erickson in December 2015.
As a parent of two, she refrains from threats, punishments and rewards. She co-authored with former anti-corruption judge Gherardo Colombo a book that discusses the use of rules in Italian schools: Imparare la libertà. Il potere dei genitori come leva di democrazia (Learning freedom. The power of parents as a lever to promote democracy), Salani, 2013.
Luís Manuel Pinto is program manager at UEF; his activity areas are related to cultivating capacities for Learning for Well-being, and partnering with children and young people.
At the start of his professional activity, he was dedicated to training young people about cultural differences, and encouraging intercultural mind-sets. A second stage was dedicated to understanding the workings of identity and prejudice. He worked as an educational advisor, developing training programs tackling all forms of discrimination, with a strong emphasis on diversity of religion, gender and sexual orientation. The more recent stage, embedded in his work for UEF, focuses on subtler differences related to how people learn and process information. UEF refers to these as “inner diversity”, what they consider to be a way through which each individual unfolds their unique potential. Luís Manuel is particularly interested in how inner diversity informs learning, relationships and personal and organizational development.
Katrien Reynaert is the director of Tierlantuin, a community-oriented childcare center in Ghent, and the laureate of the 2015 Evens Prize for Peace Education.
In 1980 Katrien began her career as a caregiver and educator in residential childcare. The social and pedagogical aspect of childcare was in full evolution at the time. Her training as a graduate in remedial education, family guidance and contextual counseling offered the necessary insights to see the child and his or her context as a part of a greater whole. In 2001, she became director of Extramural Childcare and head of the Department for Host Families of the City of Ghent.
In 2010 she was asked to help set up a childcare center adapted to the increasing social and cultural diversity in society and that would make good childcare accessible to all children and their parents (even the most vulnerable families). Together with a team of caregivers (diverse in age, nationality and training) she opened day-care center Tierlantuin in August 2010 in the highly diverse Rabot neighborhood. It includes the development of social skills in a much broader context; is highly visible and accessible; runs in strong partnership with parents and local residents, and takes a very positive attitude to diversity.
Florence Rizzo is the co-founder of SynLab, an independent organization that seeks to bring meaningful learning innovations to life and especially to develop the non-cognitive skills of children through the empowerment of teachers. SynLab works as a citizen research and development body that mobilizes researchers, educators, and private and public-sector networks to co-create projects with the potential to contribute to systemic change.
Previously, she worked with Ashoka, a global network of innovative social entrepreneurs and contributed to its launch in France, Belgium and Switzerland. She was nominated in June 2011 at the French National Council for New Technologies to lead a working group on e-education. She was also part of a parliamentarian’s team that worked on preparing a report to the French Ministry of Research on the impact of new technologies on education. She holds a Master’s in Political Science and International Relations, and an MBA from ESSEC Business School with a focus on social entrepreneurship.
Andres Roberts works with people to help shape better ways to live and work as whole people and whole systems. A co-founder of Way of Nature and partner at Talik & Co, he is involved in a number of projects dedicated to bringing about “the necessary revolution of our times” – reconnection. He works with questions around purpose, balance and wholeness, with organisations including multinationals, NGOs, foundations, municipalities, social enterprises and inspiring individuals.
“I try to live deeply from a place of connection myself, and to help others find reconnection, balance and wholeness in different ways,” he says. He has also has landed spaceships in schools, once lived on a houseboat as an experiment into sustainable living, and went into the wild alone for 28 days to more deeply understand nature, purpose and transformation.
Polly Rodgers is a member of deep:black, a London-based co-operative run by four women with expertise in the arts, mediation and education. They design and facilitate a range of creative workshops, training programmes, arts-based projects and events. Coming from a mediation perspective, deep:black acknowledges without judgement different experiences, and focuses on creating opportunities for deepening understanding, building empathy and strengthening community.
Polly joined deep:black in 2015 after freelancing with the organisation in the project ‘The Fox & the Tiger‘ in 2013/2014 – in which more than 60 women worked with deep:black artist Trupti Magecha and Polly to explore identity and bravery through photography and storytelling. She is a creative practitioner specialising in storytelling, creative writing, oral history, narrative mediation and facilitation to inspire communities and work towards social inclusion. Polly has extensive experience working with communities and disadvantaged groups, and a passion for finding and facilitating the stories of those who never imagined they had a tale to tell.
Julie Ryngaert is a policy advisor in the area of education at the Flemish Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner. She studied law, specializing in children’s rights and human rights. She obtained a PhD in 2015 at the University of Antwerp, Belgium on the topic: “Cross-fertilisation between children’s rights and human rights in the field of economic, social and cultural rights”.
Annika Sparrdal Mantilla is the founder and CEO of the Ängbybarnens pre-schools just outside Stockholm, opened in 2008. There are currently five Ängbybarnens pre-schools, with over 50 employees and 250 children.
Annika has worked in the field of education for the last twenty years. Inspired by empathic and non-violent communication, as well as by Reggio Emilia’s pedagogical principles, she shares with her team a vision that she strives to apply in all aspects of development and management of the Ängbybarnens pre-schools: “Joy gives us harmony and desire to learn new things. We treat each other with compassion and respect. We work together in dialogue: talk frankly, listen attentively and decide together.” At Ängbybarnen they seek to encourage and support the children in the school to become independent, while also showing consideration towards other people.
Kathleen Stokes is a senior researcher at Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, where she is leading on policy and research work on the collaborative economy. She has previously led research on social innovation, education, health, and technology. Her recent publications include Making sense of the UK collaborative economy and Open dataset of UK makerspaces: a user’s guide.
Prior to Nesta, Kathleen was the researcher for Charles Leadbeater’s book Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around the World. She has also worked as a researcher and project developer for initiatives in academia, government and the third sector in Canada and the UK. Outside of work, Kathleen is a founder and member of the Point People, an experimental organisation that builds and connects networks to make positive change.
Brenda Taggart is a Visiting Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Education, University College London. In her 20-year career in educational research, she has undertaken work for the UK government and non-governmental bodies, exploring the impact of educational initiatives. She has wide experience of working with policymakers and practitioners on issues of quality and effective pedagogy.
She was research coordinator and a principal investigator for the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE), a longitudinal study funded by the UK Department for Education (1997-2014).
Brenda is particularly well known for research into the benefits of early-years education. Her conference/presentation work internationally includes advice on early-years research and policy. She is a much sought-after speaker because of her ability to make complex research findings accessible to a range of audiences.
Brenda has a background in primary education, as an advisory teacher, and deputy and acting head; she has worked in both initial and in-service teacher training. She was a member of Council of the British Educational Researchers Association (2005-8).
Nadin Tettschlag joined the Georg Eckert Instituteas a research fellow in the department Textbook and Society, working for the project “Zwischentoene/ Nuances – Teaching Materials for Diversity in Classrooms” in December 2013. Nadin studied social work/social pedagogy at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin and focused on intercultural education, migration and transnationality. Until 2011, she was a member of the research training group “Transnational social support” at the University of Hildesheim, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Catherine Vairon started her professional career working in social centers with children in disadvantaged areas. This was not only very formative, but also stimulated her interest in the peaceful management of conflicts. Her psychology studies, pursued simultaneously, reinforced her understanding of non-violent communication.
A teacher at the Léon Jouhaux school in Villeurbanne, she initiated in her class a trust permit system and a class council. These practices have been adopted widely in the school and have been enriched with peer mediation and a student council. In 2013, the school received the Evens Prize for Peace Education for its effective methods of constructive conflict management and its success in promoting a climate of peace in the school.
Sigrid Van Eepoel has Master’s degrees in religious studies and pragmatic linguistics. At Erasmus University College Brussels, she heads the Teacher Training Program for Secondary Education, as well as the Democratic Dialogue project. This project sends out Dialogue Coaches to schools experiencing either conflict or taboo where different religions, philosophies and moral frameworks seem to clash with school curricula and daily life.
Sigrid learned the ropes of pluralistic dialogue as a teacher of religious education in official secondary schools, later expanding her activities to adult training, in contexts as diverse as teacher training, communication coaching, and English as a foreign language. The 15 years thus spent in polyphonic environments gave rise to a strong concern for the development of intercultural and interfaith communication skills, so essential within a healthy democracy.
Caroline Veltcheff works for the French Ministry of Education and is in charge of the systemic approach to improving school climate. She developed a whole section of the national policy on prevention of violence in schools. In collaboration with numerous partners, she developed a collaborative website, with 390 contributors throughout France; released a violence prevention method, which is applied in 23 out of 30 academies, including through local surveys of school climate, developed by Eric Debarbieux, and in which more than 70,000 students have taken part.
The development of the systems approach to improving school climate is based on current research, conducted in France, the USA and Canada.
Chris Vleugels is affiliated with the Complaint Line of the Flemish Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner. He handles complaints in the area of education. The Complaint Line investigates the complaints thoroughly and independently, mediates, and provides clear advice on translating the complaint into a solution in the interest of the child.
Before joining the Commissioner Office, Chris was a researcher at IBBT-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He worked on several projects concerning youth, social media, media literacy, e-inclusion and e-culture. He holds a Master’s degree in sociology, with specializations in theoretical sociology and sociology of culture and education.
Tom van Waterschoot is a psychologist and coordinator of PrOS, an organization that helps students and teachers in schools that have conflicts and communication problems. He is member of the Flemish platform of restorative practice in schools, which brings together all the Flemish organizations involved in restorative practice in an educational environment.
Arzu Yentür is a clinical psychologist and coach in Democratic Dialogue at Erasmus University College Brussels. She holds a Master in Clinical Psychology and Family Sciences.
As a Dialogue Coach, she works with students and educators with a particular focus on communication methods. With her psychology background and experience in group therapy, she strives to teach intercultural skills and trains both students and educators to communicate effectively on several sensitive issues. She is currently working on a research project concerning culturally sensitive care.
Yentür has volunteered and facilitated a group therapy program to support minorities from different cultural backgrounds who are bereaved by suicide.