Keynote Speakers

Our conference is proud to present the following distinguished keynote speakers:
Dr. Diane Hirshberg

Diane Hirshberg is Director and Professor of Education Policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Vice-President Academic for UArctic. Her research interests include education policy, Indigenous and circumpolar education, and the role of education in sustainable development in the Arctic. She co-edited the book Education, Equity and Inclusion: Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable North, published in 2023, which features her co-authored chapter “Adaptation isn’t just for the tundra: Rethinking teaching and learning in Alaska’s Arctic.” Her current work focuses on the role of education and knowledge sharing in self-determined sustainable development in remote villages and in supporting community efforts to build energy security and sustainability in northern and Indigenous communities. Dr. Hirshberg teaches in the Master of Public Policy Program at UAA. She has a Ph.D. in Education from UCLA, an MPA from Columbia University, and two BAs from UC Berkeley.

Dr. Jeremiah M. Kalai

Jeremiah M. Kalai holds a PhD in Educational Administration and Evaluation from University of Pune (2007). He also Master of Educational Administration and Planning (University of Nairobi); which was pursued under University of Nairobi scholarship. Prof. Kalai pursued a Bachelor of Education (Arts, Hons), University of Nairobi and thereafter started his career as an educator in a High School; transferred his services to a national institute as a Management Trainer (training high school principals, Heads of Departments, Deputies and other Educational managers) in Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI). He joined University teaching in 2008 after a short stint in Management Consultancy Services where he served as a Principal Research and Development Officer in a government Ministry. Currently, Prof. Kalai is the Dean, Faculty of Education at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Ritva Reinikka

Ritva Reinikka is Senior Fellow (development economics) at the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics, based at Aalto University School of Business, Finland. She is also a Special Adviser to the European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Urpilainen. Ms. Reinikka worked at the World Bank in 1993-2013 where her assignments included Director of the 2004 World Development Report Making Services Work for Poor People; Country Director for Southern Africa, based in Pretoria; Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in the Middle East and North Africa region; and Director for Human Development in the Africa region. Ms. Reinikka holds a Doctor Philosophy (DPhil) in Economics from the University of Oxford.

Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education and Culture

Ms. Anita Lehikoinen was appointed Permanent Secretary of Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture on 1 May 2013. Permanent Secretary directs the activities of the Ministry together with the Ministers. The duties include monitoring of the preparation of matters at the Ministry and attending to the internal activities of the Ministry. Anita Lehikoinen has been employed with the Finnish Ministry of Education since 1989. Prior to her current position, she served as Director General in the Ministry, in charge of higher education and science policy development. She has also worked in the field of higher education, and was responsible for the implementation of the Bologna process in Finland and internationalisation strategy for higher education, among other things. She has also been involved in work to reform the steering system of Finnish universities. Ms Lehikoinen has served in many national and European committees in the field of higher education, research and internationalisation.