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Speakers announced for the Peterson Academic Symposium 2015

We are excited to announce the speakers for the first day of the Peterson Academic Symposium, to be held on the 23rd of April this year. This year’s theme is ‘Making time for creativity: why does it matter?’ and the discussion will be kindly hosted at The American School of The Hague (ASH) . The speakers listed below will present TED-style talks on creativity in their fields, and discuss ideas and concerns in a panel at the end of the day.

Presentations will focus on the following questions:

  • What is creativity?
  • Why is creativity and creative thought important in schools, in industry, and in life?
  • Where are creativity, creative thought and creative learning fostered and stimulated?
  • How can education promote and develop creativity in all subject areas and all age ranges?

Each speaker will be interspersed with student presentations from our hosting school ASH, and with films submitted by schools around the world, demonstrating their views on creativity. Congratulations to all schools whose videos were selected! The second day of the symposium will be hosted at the IB Global centre of The Hague and will be led by Dr Simon Dao.

Dr Simon Dao is a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received his doctorate from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. In conjunction with colleagues from MIT and Harvard, Simon is working on the Innovators Only project, working with students and universities in a two year creative problem-solving educational program.

Confirmed speakers:

Ayesha Khanna is a technology, urbanization and education expert with over 15 years of experience in product and service innovation and human capital development. She advises companies and governments on smart city related strategies and investments, most recently focusing on education and innovation hubs. She is CEO of Technology Quotient, which develops content and technology platforms for the vocational and K-12 educational sectors.

Dinos Aristidou is a playwright, director and education consultant who specializes in working with educators, communities and young people, both in the UK and internationally. He is a workshop leader, examiner and consultant for the International Baccalaureate and an Artsmark validator and trainer for Trinity College, London. He has worked for a number of organisations in the UK, directing large scale work with young people for Birmingham Royal Ballet as artistic director of a new ballet with over 80 young people. He works with UCAN, training blind young people to be workshop leaders and facilitators and is currently working on a European project examining how theatre can be used to raise the confidence of young visually impaired learners.

Dominic Barton is the Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company. In his 28 years with the firm, Dominic has advised clients in a range of industries including banking, consumer goods, high tech and industrial. Prior to his current role, Dominic was based in Shanghai as McKinsey’s Asia Chairman from 2004 to 2009 and led the Korea office from 2000 to 2004. Dominic leads McKinsey’s work on the future of capitalism, long-term value-creation and the role of business leadership in society.  This is a set of research initiatives and projects to convene organizations and leaders for constructive action.

Karen Kuhn is a South African who is currently a Senior Lecturer in South African Studies at The Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of English, in Poznań, Poland. She teaches Language Acquisition, Literature and Cultural Studies. Currently she is busy with a PhD, researching psychological, physical and textual similarities within mystical texts from diverse cultures, timeframes, religions and nationalities. Karen is a published author of Afrikaans poetry, a curriculum developer, as well as a writer for film and television.

Kellie McCauley was selected as a teacher speaker due to the great video she submitted to the symposium. Kellie is an IB PYP teacher at Prince Alfred College, a three programme school in Adelaide, South-Australia. Congratulations Kellie!

Lloyd Gutteridge was selected as a teacher speaker due to the great video he submitted to the symposium. Lloyd has worked as an IB teacher, contributor and examiner and currently teaches at Albany Senior High School. Congratulations Lloyd!

Matt Parker is possibly the only person to hold the prestigious title of London Mathematical Society Popular Lecturer while simultaneously having a sold-out comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Matt is always keen to mix his two passions of mathematics and stand-up. Originally a maths teacher from Australia, Matt now lives in London and works both as a stand-up comedian and a maths communicator. This involves spreading his love of maths via books, radio programmes, TV shows, newspapers, school visits, live comedy shows and occasionally harassing people in the street. Matt is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

Michael Anderson is a professor in the faculty of education and social work at The University of Sydney. His research and teaching concentrate on the roles that creativity, the arts (particularly drama) and play have on learning. This work has evolved into a program of research and publication that engages with arts classrooms directly. His recent publications explore how aesthetic education and research is changing in the 21st Century. The research reported in these publications uncovers innovative linkages between drama, the arts play, creativity and learning that have the potential to significantly improve learning for young people.

Teresa Tung has facilitated learning across a wide range of age levels in primary and secondary education, and with adults. Currently, she works with young people at NIST International School in a variety of capacities: as a teacher of MYP English and DP Psychology, and coordinator of the MYP Service & Action Program and the Global Citizen Diploma. Previously, Teresa worked with students as a PYP homeroom teacher at the International School of Tianjin in China. Interested in education’s role in creating flourishing futures, Teresa is part of Compass Education, a non-profit organization equipping schools for a sustainable future. She facilitates workshops for educators and develops curriculum materials to help people utilize systems-thinking and act together for positive change.

Thana Faroq is a 23 year-old Yemeni artist and photographer who recently returned to Yemen after studying in the U.S. Her photo exhibit, Street life in the moment, is hosted by the Raufa Hassan gallery in Sana’a, and shows a series of her pictures taken in Boston, Morocco and in Yemen. At the age of 16, Thana was granted a scholarship to finish high school in Canada, where she also completed the IB Diploma Programme. It was the first time she got the opportunity to study art. She began studying photography and later organized her first exhibit there. Thanks to obtaining another scholarship, she then travelled to the U.S. where she studied at Clark University near Boston. Thana is now in Yemen, doing an internship at Resonate, a local NGO.  She hopes to go back abroad to study photojournalism, as a means to sustain herself financially. She insists that even with photojournalism career, she will continue to engage in artistic photography.


The Peterson Academic Symposium is an annual event aimed at bringing together leading thinkers, researchers, and educationalists, with both global and regional IB staff and school leaders. Get involved in the event by following #IBPAS2015 on Twitter.

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  • N Dalton

    The IB should review how it assesses the arts, precious creative time is lost due to the over-emphasis on analysis. I think the nature of the creative process needs to be better understood, and the arts should not forced into the same template as the sciences. Over-analysis kills creativity.

  • KH

    You may reach out to the Center for Childhood Creativity (at the Bay Area Discovery Museum). They have some great talks.

  • Thomas Fast

    This looks like a great conference! Is it open to people outside the IB community?

  • Sky

    Hi Thomas – Although the Peterson Symposium is not open to general public registration, don’t miss the much larger annual regional conferences held in three locations around the world: http://www.ibo.org/en/conferences/

  • Thomas Fast

    Thanks for the quick reply Sky. I am an IB Examiner but not employed as an IB teacher at present. Is the conference open to examiners? If not, I’ll be sure to check out a regional conference. Thanks again.