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The following international Early Childhood Development experts have given their consent to attend the Conference as Keynote and Guest Speakers:

Dr Aisha Yousaf Zai


Dr. Yousafzai is an Associate Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Visiting Faculty at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Aga Khan University. She has 15 years of field research experience and established an early childhood focused field research team in rural Sindh, Pakistan. Dr. Yousafzai has extensive experience in evaluating early childhood interventions in south Asia, east Africa, and in central and east Europe. Dr. Yousafzai’s research has also focused on the inclusion of children and adolescence with disabilities in global child health services. She also serves on a number of Advisory Groups on early child development for international organizations including the World Health Organization and UNICEF.



Dr. Bernadette Daelmans, Coordinator Policy, Planning, Programmes, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adol. Health, WHO, Switzerland. Dr. Daelmans has been engaged with a range of issues related to maternal and child health including infant and young child feeding, integrated management of childhood illness, newborn health and early childhood development. She is affiliated with the Countdown to 2030: Maternal, newborn and child survival since its inception in 2005; she is the member of the global Every Newborn movement; and she managed the secretariat of the Steering Team that prepared the Lancet series Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale (2016). Most recently, she led the development of the Nurturing Care Framework, jointly issued by WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank with support from PMNCH and the ECD Action Network. Bernadette is also a member of the Lancet Global Health Commission on High-Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era that published its report in September 2018.

Dr Carol Aubrey


Presentation Title: How can we manage multi-agency contexts for promoting Early Childhood Development?

Carol Aubrey is Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood at the Centre for Educational Studies, University of Warwick where she was previously Director of Research. She trained as an early years and primary teacher and then as an educational psychologist. Later she spent a number of years in primary teacher education with a particular focus on the early years, first at University College Cardiff and then at the University of Durham where she directed the postgraduate Certificate of Education (Primary) and, for a time, was Deputy and Acting Director of the School of Education. Thereafter she led the Centre for International Studies in Early Childhood at Christ Church University for a while. Her research interests lie in the area of the policy-to-practice context of early childhood care and education, nationally and internationally, and early learning and development, with a special interest in early mathematics and ICT, creativity and inclusion/special needs. She has had long-term interest in the development of children’s centres from evaluation of Sure Start Local Programmes, through the challenges of children’s centre leadership to the capture of children’s voices and thoughts on the services that they receive.

Brenda Taggart


Presentation Titles:

  • Findings of Europe’s largest longitudinal study on ‘Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Project’
  • Quality Assurance and Assessment Practices in Early Childhood Development,

Brenda Taggart’s background is in primary education (children age 5 – 11 years) having been a teacher, deputy/acting Principal and in-service and initial teacher trainer in England.  She has worked in the field of educational research for over 20 years. She has conducted research for the UK Governmental and non-governmental bodies exploring the impact of educational initiatives. She works with practitioners on issue of quality and effective pedagogy.  She was one of the Principal Investigators and the Research Co-ordinator for the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project, a longitudinal study funded by the UK’s Department for Education (1997-2014) and is currently a Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL’s Institute of Education. Brenda has presented research findings across the world and is a much sought after speaker for her ability to communicate complex research findings in an accessible way to a range of audiences.



Presentation Title: Bringing up children in a changing world. Who’s rights? Whose rights?

Caroline Arnold is an Early Childhood specialist and Educationist with 35 years of experience globally. Until the beginning of 2018, she spent over 12 years as the Director of Education at the Aga Khan Foundation, based in Geneva providing leadership for the education and early childhood portfolio across countries across South and Central Asia, Eastern and West Africa, the Middle-East and Europe. Prior to this she spent many years living and working in South Asia, the Pacific and East Africa. She has been a staff member of UNICEF, International NGOs such as Save the Children and Action Aid, and Universities in London and the Pacific and she started a school and family support service in Kenya. She is a frequent contributor to multiple policy for a – national and international – and is the author of numerous publications (research studies including child-rearing and ECD programme impact studies, policy and journal articles, handbooks, manuals) in the area of Early Childhood Development, Transitions, Children’s Learning and the Meaning of Learning, Inclusion and Exclusion, Community-based Rehabilitation, and State/ Non-state partnerships..

Dr Mary


Presentation Title: Building organizational capacity for family-centered and participation-focused care in early childhood

Mary A. Khetani, ScD, OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist and rehabilitation scientist, having completed her M.A. in Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California and her Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation Science at Boston University. Dr. Khetani is a ZERO TO THREE Graduate Fellow and has built nearly 18 years of experience in research and clinical practice in early childhood intervention. Dr. Khetani is currently a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she contributes to graduate courses in problem-based learning, pediatric processes of care, and rehabilitation science. Dr. Khetani also directs the Children’s Participation in Environment Research Lab (CPERL) that has secured continuous extramural funding since 2012 to conduct multi-site and interdisciplinary research that advances early childhood intervention. Through grants from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations, the CPERL lab has focused on harnessing technology to build innovative tools that can accelerate family-centered and participation-focused pediatric (re)habilitation for individuals, organizations, and service systems. In 2019, Dr. Khetani became a Research Scientist and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, a premier international hub for research and knowledge translation activities in childhood disability. Dr. Khetani’s affiliation with CanChild further supports multi-site and interdisciplinary research and product development activities that align with the CPERL research portfolio and are of mutual benefit.



Presentation Title: Parent-Child Interactions and their Significance for Human Development. A Cross-Cultural Perspective.

Dr. Relindis Yovsi is an Early Childhood Development Consultant at UNICEF, Islamabad Pakistan coordinating and providing technical support to the multisectoral ECD and family programme. She earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology specializing on early childhood development from the University of Osnabrück, Germany in 2001, and holds a MA in Public Health Methodology from the School of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium in 2006. She worked for several years as a Research Associate at the University of Osnabrück, and Institute of Early Childhood Education and Development, Germany on cross-cultural Cooperation projects on parent-child relationship and how parental ethnotheories and sociocultural context shape child development trajectory. Currently, Relindis is working as an Early Childhood Development consultant supporting countries in their multisectoral ECD policies and strategies, modelling multisectoral ECD programmes, parenting education and family package. Her current interest include coordination and programme guidance to promote multisectoral collaboration and convergence of ECD programming, and focus on Nurturing Care Framework, multisectoral ECD programming in family, community and school based setting, promoting responsive caregiving, Care for Child Development and parent-child interactions for a holistic approach to child care, and the different optional platforms in context to promote positive parenting. Her research interests include parenting across cultures, parent-child interactions, responsive parenting. She has published several articles in International and regional journals, professional magazines and presented in conferences and trained several students in analyzing parent-child interactions in different contexts. She has also published a book in Ethnotheories about Breastfeeding and Mother-infant interactions. She is a member of several professional associations and online community groups such as ECDft Group and Zero-To-Three.

Tina Hyder


Presentation Title: Best Practices From Open Society Foundation’s Global ECD Programme.

Tina Hyder is deputy director of the Early Childhood Program, based in London, and leads Open Society’s early childhood development projects and grants in Africa and Asia. As deputy director, Hyder helps forge partnerships to promote early childhood policies, research, networks, and programs for young children and their families. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations in 2009, Hyder was a global adviser for Save the Children UK, supporting more than 50 country offices around the world to uphold the rights of children affected by discrimination. Earlier work includes programming for children affected by conflict and other emergencies, and research into children’s perspectives of physical punishment, in addition to publications outlining policy and practical responses to promote the rights of refugee, migrant, and other marginalized children.

Nurbek Teleshaliyev


Presentation Title: Best Practices From Open Society Foundation’s Global ECD Programme.

Nurbek Teleshaliyev joined Open Society Early Childhood Program in September 2016 as a program officer for the ECI portfolio. Before joining Open Society, Teleshaliyev worked at the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan (1995-2004), UNICEF-Kyrgyzstan (2005-2009), and UNICEF- Lesotho (2009-2011) as an education specialist with a focus on teacher policy, community involvement, social partnership, out-of-school children, community-based kindergartens, donor coordination, and qualitative research methods. Teleshaliyev completed a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2016 and was a recipient of a scholarship from the Open Society Scholarship Programs. His thesis is on teacher nonpositional leadership and teacher policy in Kyrgyzstan. He has also been a consultant to the Ministry of Education and Science in Kyrgyzstan as a member of a team from Columbia University.

Richard Geary pp


Presentation Title: Early Learning Resources for Deaf and Special Needs Children A Pathway to Basic Literacy and Numeracy

Richard Geary is the founder and Executive Director of Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF) a non-profit educational foundation operating in Pakistan since 1984.
Pakistan has a paucity of educational opportunities available for deaf children, with less than 5% out of over 1 million deaf children attending school countrywide. Under his leadership, FESF has developed the Deaf Reach Program ( unique in its holistic approach in providing KG-College academic education and marketable skills training for Deaf children. There are 7 Deaf Reach Schools and Colleges across Pakistan.

His team has led the way in developing innovative and ground-breaking digital learning resources in Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) which are being used countrywide to improve the quality of deaf education, resulting in FESF being chosen as winner of the global 2018 WISE Award for Education (, and the 2018 PASHA Award. See more at

He has worked in the field of Social Development for the past 45 years, and served as a consultant to the Pakistan Government in matters pertaining to assistive services for special needs children. He is a sitting member of the Federal National Literacy Coalition. FESF has been honored with the prestigious appointment of Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.

Richard has made presentations at the following recent key global forums:
WISE Award Winner & Presentation – United Nations, New York, Sept 2018
Ed Tech Europe – London Global Event, May 2018
Silicon Valley OPEN – April 2017
World Congress of the Deaf – Istanbul 2015; Paris upcoming 2019.