Prior to becoming ESSA's CEO in 2020, Lucy was the Knowledge and Research Director for ESSA from 2019. Lucy brings nearly fifteen years of experience in generating and using evidence to improve education, both in the UK and internationally. Most recently she has worked at Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, as the Impact Director and at the Children's Investment Fund Foundation leading on assessment of evidence and managing evaluations for the education portfolio. She holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge.
Program Manager of the Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE), World Bank
Namita Datta is the Head and Program Manager of Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE), based in the Jobs Group of the World Bank Group. S4YE is a multistakeholder global program that provides thought leadership and curates innovation on the agenda of youth employment. S4YE brings together multilaterals, bilateral donor organizations, 40 private sector companies, 50 large NGOs, think tanks and youth themselves. As Program Manager of S4YE she has led several thought leadership products on the agenda of digital jobs, role of technology, gender and inclusion. Before taking over the role of Program Manager of S4YE, she was Global Head of Let’s Work, a global program on jobs and the private sector, created by the IFC. She has led multi-sectoral operations on jobs at the country level in several regions including Africa, Western Balkans, and Asia. She has led analytical work on Gender and Jobs. She has worked for the World Bank Group (both World Bank and IFC) for over 15 years working across sectors and regions. She was co-author of the IFC Jobs Study: Assessing Private Sector Contributions to Job Creation and Poverty Reduction, 2013, leading the analytical work on the employment impact of investments in infrastructure. She led the analytical work on estimating impact of power on jobs - that was awarded the Knowbel Prize and was also replicated by numerous IFIs. As Advisor (Strategy and Policy) for IFC’s South Asia region, she was responsible for leading the policy dialogue on private sector development in the region.
Before joining the World Bank Group, Namita worked with the Government of India, as an IAS officer (India’s high-level policy making body) where she worked as Delhi’s Zonal Municipal Commissioner leading a large complex municipal corporation responsible for delivering key urban services to the city of Delhi. She also worked as Secretary (Head) of the Departments of Urban Development, Power and Environment in Goa, India.
She holds a PhD from Cornell University, an MIA from Colombia University, New York, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo is the Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank Group. Her work at the Bank focuses on disability-inclusive development under its twin goals to end poverty and promote shared prosperity. As Disability Advisor, she supports operational teams across the institution to ensure that Bank policies, programs, and projects are disability-inclusive. Her responsibilities include; leading the production of analytical products; analyzing and articulating Bank policy on disability and development. In 2011, as a well-respected human rights lawyer in disability and child rights, she was appointed by President Obama to lead USAID’s work on disability-inclusive development, including developing policies and country strategies to technical assistance for program implementation. Before this, she worked as a Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank in the East Asia Pacific and Africa regions. Earlier in her career, she was appointed by President Nelson Mandela as a Commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission. She focused on social and economic rights, disability rights, and child rights. Charlotte also represented the National Human Rights Institutions during the negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was a member of the working group that drafted the Treaty. From 1996 to 1998, she worked for UNICEF as a Child Protection Officer. Charlotte holds multiple Law Degrees in International Law and Administration from the University of Warsaw, Poland, and Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York. She has published various articles and works on a range of topics related to disability-inclusive development, human rights, including the right to food, disability rights, and children’s rights. Charlotte is also a TEDx speaker; please see the link: https://youtu.be/cQg-jnOfHPQ.
Lecturer in Comparative and International Education at the University of Bristol, with a special focus on African and low- and middle-income countries. I am co-director of the Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (CIRE) and serve on the leadership team of the UKRI-funded research network Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures, which is funding over 60 Southern-led projects in Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa and India.
My research and teaching focuses on the processes of schooling and school improvement for disadvantaged groups (particularly with respect to inclusive pedagogies, curricula and leadership), and addresses inequalities in knowledge production on education.
Tanya Popeau is the Director of Synthesis - her expertise lies in innovation and sustainability. She has worked with the world’s leading corporates, non-profits, government agencies and academic institutions, to design breakthrough innovations to global challenges. Her clients have included Unilever, the United Nations, UK government, UCL and the University of Chicago.
Her projects have covered a range of sustainability issues including urban poverty, energy efficiency, social cohesion, sustainable development and education.
Tanya was also a consultant and advisor to the United Nations. She worked for the UN’s largest agency and was at the forefront of their shift to a strategic focus on innovation. She implemented this new approach across 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific, overseeing the development of the first ever innovation fund in the region. She was the lead consultant on the fund, which generated projects which tackled challenges from natural disasters to women’s economic empowerment.
At Royal Holloway, University of London, Tanya led the start-up of a new innovative programme. She designed and implemented a range of projects working with over 10 academic departments. In her role, she successfully involved new strategic partners from the private sector and creative industries including the BBC, Amnesty International, Mercedes Benz, BP, Oxfam, Arsenal Football Club and Procter & Gamble.
Tanya studied at Cambridge university and Kings College London. Her studies have focused on innovating to solve complex global challenges, and the use of new emerging technologies to bring about positive social impact.
Professor Peter Kraftl
Chair in Human Geography, University of Birmingham
Professor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, and especially for research into the emotions, affects, materialities and practices that make up their everyday lives. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. He is currently an Editor of the journals Area and Children’s Geographies and was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Education, RMIT, Melbourne.
From 2018-2020, he held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship on Plastic Childhoods, which examines the many ways in which plastics are entangled with children’s lives.
Peter is a member of the Directors Collective of the Children and Childhood Network at the University. The network brings together academic staff and students from across the University who are interested in interdisciplinary childhood research. For further details visit our Children and Childhood Network pages.
Peter is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics. This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.
Dr Christian Darko
Lecturer in Applied Business and Labour Economics, University of Birmingham
Christian joined the Birmingham Business School in 2017 as a lecturer in Applied Business and Labour Economics. Before joining Birmingham Business School, he worked as a teaching fellow in economics at King’s Business School, King’s College London. Christian received his PhD from the University of Birmingham and his MSc in Business Economics and Finance from the University of Surrey. His first degree in Economics is from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.
His main research is on labour market outcomes and human capital development with focus on developing. Parts of his current research examines education, employment outcomes, and wellbeing among young people in developing countries.
Christian has extensive teaching experience at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Shireen Kanji is Professor of Work and Organisation at Brunel Business School, Brunel University, London. Her work is situated at the intersection of gender, work and social inequality. Her research has focused on these issues in high, medium and low-income countries. In relation to sub-Saharan Africa – her previous research has linked the prevalence of diarrhea in children under the age of five across sub-Saharan Africa to temperature and rainfall. She worked as Economist for Southern Africa at the European Investment Bank. More recently she has published with Chris Darko on overeducation and undereducation in Ghana and Kenya, and the effects of school closures on children's educational attainment in Ethiopia.
She is a Council Member of the British Society for Population Studies. She was a member of the editorial team of Work, Employment and Society from 2010-2013 and is currently on the editorial board of Industrial Relations Journal. She joined Brunel Business School in 2019, having previously held posts at the University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Basel University and the University of Cambridge. Her work has been widely reported in national and international media in The Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Wirtschaftswoche, Time Magazine, The Daily Express, ITV News and BBC News, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and the BBC World Service.
PhD Candidate, Department of Education, University of Birmingham
Currently, I work within an inner-city Bristol secondary school as a Citizenship and English teacher. I have had the pleasure of working within the education sector for around 10 years. This has ranged from nursery to Y11, mainstream to alternative provision and pastoral role to head of department. The drive has always been to be a positive influence and create an impact.
Over the last several years, my work has led me to exploring HOW to decolonise the curriculum to enhance the cultural experience of all in the classroom and actively empower the students inherently dismissed. My work has led me to discussing decolonisation in education on the Teacher Fest panel, delivering a workshop for a Black Atlantic event aimed at the public and teachers and again for Dartington Trust University students. In addition, my work has been used as a within an upcoming teaching textbook aimed at students and the event, 'approach to the teaching and learning of Modern Languages' by the University of London.
Nadia Ahmed Abdalla
Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs, Kenya