Main Programme

Plenary Sessions

We are honoured to be able to feature a wide range of speakers from the fields of education, government, science, spirituality and more. Their inspiring minds and passionate hearts will share with you unique perspectives on the topic of “Education for a New World” and how we may participate in the crucial paradigm shifts needed for a sustainable future. Each speaker will address an angle within one of the sub-themes or more:

  • The Universal Child – In a World of Diverse Cultures
  • Embracing the Future – Innovation and Sustainability
  • Education for a New World – Impact and Growth

We will announce the names of our 30+ speakers one by one in our email newsletters and on our Facebook page so please ensure you are subscribed and stay tuned!

Here are some of the major speakers that will be featured

André Roberfroid

AMI’s Global Ambassador is the distinguished past president of Association Montessori Internationale. He brings to the Montessori world a rich background of experiences serving children through his former work as the Deputy Executive Director for Strategy and Planning at UNICEF for many years, before becoming President of AMI in 2005. He is a passionate speaker who offers a rich and insightful perspective on our world, especially as we work to service the unique needs of the child. We look forward to hearing the many stories and perspectives that will stimulate our discussions during the Congress as we examine Education for a New World.

M. Shannon Helfrich

Montessori teachers throughout Thailand and many parts of the world will know Shannon. She is currently the 3–6 Director of Training for the Montessori Training Centre in Thailand and serves AMI as the Chair of the Training Group. To create accessible Montessori teacher training in Thailand, Shannon has worked over the past four years with a dedicated group of Trainers in Training in Thailand to set this country up for a long future of training courses which will be delivered in the Thai language. The congress is sure all will benefit from. Shannon’s perspective on the Congress theme “Education for a New World”, having not only a Montessori career that spans over five decades but also having authored: Montessori Learning in the 21st Century - A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

Professor Kriengsak Caheonwongsak

Professor Kriengsak has an impressive and varied list of credentials; he currently works as President of the Institute of Future Studies for Development and acts as Chairman of the Nation-Building Institute (NBI). He is also the Honorary Consul General in Thailand. So, there are logical reasons we would want to hear his perspective on our congress theme, “Education for a New World”, and to understand how global challenges may impact education. Prof. Kriengsak was a former member of the Thai Parliament and Prime Ministerial Advisor. His education background includes graduate and post-graduate work at Harvard University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the UK. He is a Senior Fellow at Harvard (USA) and a Fellow at Oxford (UK). He has written many books in English and Thai to provoke thought and ideas on various topics.

Pasi Sahlberg

Dr Pasi Sahlberg was the Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland and played a key role in this transformation. Pasi is an educator, award-winning author, and global thought leader who has a lifelong career in various roles in education in Finland and beyond. His working experience includes being a schoolteacher, teacher-educator, researcher, and education expert at the Finnish Government, the European Commission, the World Bank, Harvard University, and most recently, the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is the recipient of several awards for his work for education as a human right, including the 2012 Education Award in Finland, the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize in Denmark, and the 2021 Hedley Beare Award in Australia. His books and essays about education are translated into 30 languages inspiring practitioners and politicians to reimagine education.

He will speak on the topic of “Shifting Education Thought to the Next Education Paradigm”. Currently, Pasi is serving as a Professor of Education at the Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, and visiting professor at the UNSW Business School and an Adjunct Professor at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu in Finland.

Erinna Dia

Dr Erinna Dia currently serves as Associate Director for Early Childhood Development in UNICEF. She has been a long-term advocate for the young child in complex political and operational environments in such areas as West and Central Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Her work has supported countries in the implementation of education and protection projects helping foster social transformation and to generate growth through improved access to education. Dr Dia has been invited to speak to the Congress on how disadvantages in early childhood education must be addressed, and to assist the Montessori community in its proactive approaches especially in diverse communities of need. Dr Dia is based at the UN in New York City.