WHO WE ARE

Think Equal is the global education initiative that calls for a system change in education to end the discriminatory mindset and cycle of violence across our world. Think Equal calls on governments and education ministers to adopt its tangible free programme mediating all aspects of experiential social and emotional learning for children aged 3-6. A committee of experts and global thought leaders have helped design and deliver the Think Equal Programme.

“If we are to teach real peace

in this world, we shall have

to begin with the children”

MAHATMA GANDHI 

DIRECTORS

Leslee Udwin
Chair
Leslee was voted by the NY Times the No 2 Most Impactful Woman of 2015 (second to Hillary Clinton), and has been awarded the prestigious Swedish Anna Lindh Human Rights Prize (previously won by Madeleine Albright). In 2019, she received the Activism in Arts and Education award from the UN Women for Peace Association. She has also been named Safe’s Global Hero of 2015, Global Thinker by Foreign Policy. A BAFTA and multi-award winning filmmaker and Human Rights Campaigner, Leslee’s documentary “India’s Daughter”, has been critically acclaimed around the globe, won 32 awards (including the Peabody Award and the Amnesty International Media Award for Best Documentary 2016) and sparked a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The searing insights yielded by the 2 and a half year journey making “India’s Daughter”, led Leslee to turn her back on filmmaking and devote herself to Think Equal.

Henriette Nielsen
President

Henriette is a unique combination of an experienced international business woman with strong operative leadership abilities, a gift for innovative thinking and international lawyer

Henriette is currently EVP Business operations at Hikma Pharmaceuticals, a global pharmaceutical company listed on the London stock exchange, and is part of the global executive team. Henriette’s résumé includes having worked as General Counsel for a number of pharmaceutical companies and start-ups, as well as eight years as a commercial lawyer for the largest law firm in Denmark. Henriette has worked across the globe and lived in the US, Scotland, Iceland, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Marie Amerasinghe
Secretary

Marie has an extensive background handling corporate governance, securities, general corporate legal matters and broader project management. She has worked as a senior attorney in the pharmaceutical as well as the online media space for over 20 years, and is currently Associate General Counsel at an early stage scientific research non-profit, handling a variety of legal matters and supporting the Board of Directors. For most of her career she has served as Assistant Secretary to the Boards of a variety of public companies, advising on corporate governance matters. Marie is passionate about making quality education accessible to all children.

Laura Giadorou Koch
Board Member

After practising corporate law on Wall Street for almost two decades, Laura became a system-level social entrepreneur and innovative educator. She is CEO of a “B Certified Company” awarded in 2014 & 2016 “The Best for the World in Environment” by B Lab.  She is also a Senior Advisor for Ashoka.

Laura serves on the boards of Eye To Eye National, and Million Peacemakers, and on the Advisory Boards of Grameen PrimaCare, BUILD NYC, IMPAKT and The Emotional Revolution in the Workplace (Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence Initative).

GLOBAL CONSULTANTS

Dr. Craig Bailey

Craig S. Bailey, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist and the Director of RULER for Early Childhood at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Craig and his team facilitate professional development workshops with early childhood educators, develop content for practicing and teaching emotional intelligence, and conduct psychological, educational, and intervention research. In particular, Craig specializes in children’s social and emotional learning in early childhood classrooms with an emphasis on how teachers support and promote the development of empathy and emotion regulation. With experience as an early childhood educator, Craig is passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice. In addition to his work at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Craig consults on many research initiatives, and as the Director of Evaluation for Think Equal. Craig earned his B.S. in psychology from South Dakota State University and his doctorate in applied developmental psychology from George Mason University.

PATRONS

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD

Sir Ken is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education, and in business. He is Professor Emeritus and was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and holds honorary degrees from Rhode Island School of Design; the Open University; the Central School of Speech & Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. Sir Ken was awarded the Athena Award for services to the arts and education; Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States; the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award; Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education; and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Royal Society of Arts.  Listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity” and ranked among the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders. Sir Ken works with governments and education systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, and was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.

Dr. Marc Brackett

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., is founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. His research focuses on the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, health, and performance. Marc is lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based, systemic approach to SEL that has been adopted by over 2,000 schools across the United States and in other countries. He has published 125 scholarly articles and received numerous awards. He consults regularly with corporations like Facebook and Google on integrating emotional intelligence principles into employee training and product design. Marc is co-founder of Oji Life Lab, a corporate learning firm that develops innovative digital learning systems for emotional intelligence and related topics. He also holds a 5th degree black belt in Hapkido.

Lord Rumi Verjee

Lord Rumi Verjee is a highly successful multiple entrepreneur. He studied Law at University of Cambridge where he is now an Honorary Fellow. He founded The Rumi Foundation, the goal of which is humanitarian work through education, knowledge building and innovation. Amongst other projects, the Foundation is working with the Clinton Foundation to provide new schools in rural Uganda for thousands of children. He is Chair of Free the Children UK and co-chair of their signature event We Day UK. He is a Member of the World Presidents’ Organisation, the Global Leadership Foundation, and was a member of the Advisory Board of the British Olympic Association. In 2009 he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for charitable services and was appointed by HM The Queen to the UK House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat Peer in 2013.

Meryl Streep

A long-time environmentalist and advocate for gender and human rights issues, Meryl has championed women’s rights and the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), and campaigned to end trafficking and violence against women. Meryl has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 times, and has won 3 times. She has received 29 Golden Globe nominations, and won 8. She is also the recipient of 2 Emmy Awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, 5 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 2 BAFTA awards, 5 Grammy Award nominations, and the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, amongst others. She has been named a Commandeur de L’Ordre Des Arts et des Lettres, a Kennedy Center Honoree, and received the National Medal of Arts. In 2015 President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda was Malawi’s first female president, and second on the African continent. She served as Minister of Gender, Child Welfare, and Community Services and as Minister of Foreign Affairs. In her various ministerial capacities, she designed the Zero Tolerance Campaign Against Child Abuse and established relations with mainland China. She has been popular in Malawi because of her tough stance against government corruption and her strong campaigns for grassroots development and gender parity. Throughout her career Banda received awards and accolades, including the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1997 and being named Africa’s third most powerful woman by Forbes magazine in 2011.

Jack Sim

Jack is a social entrepreneur and change-maker at a systems level. He created the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001 as a global network and service platform for toilet associations, academia, government, UN agencies and toilet stakeholders to learn from one another and leverage media and corporate support that in turn influenced governments to promote sound sanitation and public health policies. Amongst many honours, Jack is an Ashoka Global Fellow and was named: Time Magazine Hero of the Environment; Asian Development Bank’s Water Champion; and Reader’s Digest Asian of the Year. He was awarded Channel News Asia’s Asian of the Year, and was Council Member to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Water Security.

Indrani Goradia

Indrani Goradia is a philanthropist and advocate for women’s health and empowerment. She is the founder of Indranis Light Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to ending gender based violence and empowering women around the world with the tools to live healthy and meaningful lives. An author, speaker and certified life coach, Indrani has delivered keynote addresses at conferences and leads workshops around the world. 

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, Founder of The Chopra Foundation and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century”.

Pratibha Sachdev 

Pratibha Sachdev is a philanthropist and entrepreneur. She co-founded GMSP foundation in 2006 which has given away over $10 million to grassroots organisations in India and the UK focussing on those that are vulnerable, marginalised or face discrimination. Pratibha set up a nursing home to give back to the elderly community. Along with her husband, she grew this into a successful nursing home business employing over 10,000 people. She has a degree in Child Development and was Headmistress at the Aga Khan school in Uganda. She was recently awarded Philanthropist of the Year at the 2018 Asian Awards. She is passionate about meditation, family and giving back to the community.

Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe

Dr. Kedikilwe is a role model for many in Botswana. Treasurer and then Chairman of the Botswana Democratic Party, he took on many ministerial roles including in Education, later receiving the Presidential Order of Honour and an honorary doctorate for his remarkable work. Dr. Kedikilwe has also served as Vice-President of Botswana and founded and leads  the Dr. Ponatshego and Elizabeth Kedikilwe Early Childhood Development Foundation, to contribute to the economic and social upliftment of disadvantaged young children in Botswana through Early Childhood development programmes.

Vicky Colbert

Vicky Colbert is the Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva pedagogical model, known for its effectiveness in improving the quality and relevance of basic education in underprivileged schools across Colombia and beyond. Escuela Nueva has become a part of Colombia’s national education policy with a significant impact on academic achievement.  The model has been recognized by UNESCO and the World Bank as among themostoutstanding reforms in developing countries worldwide. She served as Colombia’s Vice-Minister of Education and as UNICEF’s RegionalEducation Adviser for Latin American and the Caribbean. Vicky is an Ashoka Fellow and was awarded the 2013 WISE Prize for EducationLaureate.

COMMITTEE OF ADVISORS

Helen Lumgair

As a member of the founding team of Think Equal, Helen created the first drafts of the programme’s lesson plans and curriculum framework, and was instrumental in creating the foundation upon which Think Equal is built.   She has studied Instrumental Enrichment, a Feuerstein cognitive intervention program, Structural Cognitive Modifiability and Mediated Learning Experience at The International Centre for the Enhancement of Learning Potential in Jerusalem. Helen’s  extending, adapting, and implementing curricula to meet the needs of children with a range of learning dispositions, with a focus on the development of holistic strategies.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD

Sir Ken is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education, and in business. He is Professor Emeritus and was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and holds honorary degrees from Rhode Island School of Design; the Open University; the Central School of Speech & Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. Sir Ken was awarded the Athena Award for services to the arts and education; Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States; the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award; Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education; and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Royal Society of Arts.  Listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity” and ranked among the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders. Sir Ken works with governments and education systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, and was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.

Barbara Isaacs

Barbara completed an Adv.Mont.Dip, BA, and MA degree in Early Years Education under the guidance of Tina Bruce. Barbara was the Chief Education Officer for the Montessori St Nicholas Charity and Montessori Centre International, UK, where she has also served as Director of National Strategies. She is currently Global Ambassador for Montessori Centre International. She trained with Montessori St. Nicholas in the early 1980’s and continued to study in the fields of Montessori education and early years. She is the author of Bringing Montessori into Your Early Years Setting and Understanding the Montessori Approach. Over the past 25 years, Barbara has trained and supported the training of Montessori teachers in her capacity as a lecturer both at Montessori St. Nicholas, London Montessori Centre and Montessori Centre International. 

Dr. Urvashi Sahni

Urvashi is a non-resident fellow of Brookings Institution, a member of Hillary Clinton’s CHARGE commitment and Founder of the Study Hall Educational Foundation. She is a social entrepreneur, and educationalist of over 30 years standing and a leading expert in curriculum reform, school governance, and teacher training in collaboration with national and state governments and NGOs in India. Urvashi holds a Masters degree and PhD from the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. She was the first of Berkeley’s graduates to be awarded the prestigious International HAAS award for her contributions to Education in her home country. Her Schools reach out to over 6000 students in rural and urban areas, more than half of which come from extremely poor and challenging backgrounds. She was awarded The Ashoka Fellowship for her work with Digital Study Hall, a program that uses technology to reach out to thousands of teachers, teacher-trainees and students from underserved areas.

Valerie Lovegreen

Valerie holds a BA in Elementary Education (Rhode Island College), an MA in Communicative Disorders (University of Central Florida), and is presently working on a Doctoral Degree in Psychology (Northcentral University). She has been a Speech and Language Pathologist for more than 25 years. She is a Certified Trainer for the Feuerstein Institute, training both Instrumental Enrichment Standard and Basic levels. Her areas of expertise are in improving reading, auditory processing, discipline and behaviour, and social skills. She has started a small private school for students with varied learning abilities, has worked in a multidisciplinary clinic, and has served as a clinical director, principal and guidance counsellor, in a K -12 school and full therapy clinic. Valerie trains adults in Instrumental Enrichment and does clinical work with learners aged from 2 onwards.  She provides consulting services for schools, working with students and providing guidance and training for teachers and parents. She trains, mentors and provides therapy to improve critical thinking, communication, & collaboration.

Dr. Sheila Wamahiu

PhD in Education (Kenyatta University, Nairobi) and MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad). An international Education, Gender and Development Consultant, her career has spanned over 30 years working as an academic, researcher, development worker, teacher, trainer and journalist. She has been Education Programme Officer in NYHQ, Head of Development Studies and Senior Lecturer (Kenyatta University, Kenya), External Examiner for the Department of Women and Gender Studies, (Makerere University, Uganda), and Chief of Education in Uganda. Sheila is the Founding Chair, Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK). She was nominated to be a member of FAWE at the global level in recognition of her contribution to girls’ education in the region. She has also served on the Advisory Board of UWEZO Kenya and the Girls’ Education Movement (GEM) in Uganda. She has led a national study on Value-Based Education in Kenya.

Dr. Robin Stern

Robin Stern, Ph.D., is the associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. A licensed psychoanalyst, educator, and author, she holds a doctorate in applied psychology from New York University and a postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalytic group psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Centre for Mental Health. Robin is a co-developer of RULER, and co-creator and lead facilitator for Yale’s Institutes. In collaboration with Facebook, she created a reporting process for cyber bullying incidents and a help center for bullied children. She is a member of the Emotional Intelligence Consortium and was a fellow in the Public Voices Fellowship.

Brían Ó Maoileoin 

Brían has a Masters degree in Educational Management from the University of Sheffield, and studied at the National University of Ireland in Limerick, specializing in Primary Education and the Irish Language.  He is the Primary School Principal at United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA), Singapore, and has served on the College’s Board of Governors. UWCSEA is part of the United World Colleges movement, which was founded in 1962 with the aim of bringing together young people from areas of post-war conflict to act as champions of peace through an education based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding. Brían sits on the Advisory Board of the Common Ground Collaborative and advised on the design of its Global Citizen component.

Vicky Colbert

Vicky Colbert is the Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva pedagogical model, known for its effectiveness in improving the quality and relevance of basic education in underprivileged schools across Colombia and beyond. Escuela Nueva has become a part of Colombia’s national education policy with a significant impact on academic achievement.  The model has been recognized by UNESCO and the World Bank as among themostoutstanding reforms in developing countries worldwide. She served as Colombia’s Vice-Minister of Education and as UNICEF’s RegionalEducation Adviser for Latin American and the Caribbean. Vicky is an Ashoka Fellow and was awarded the 2013 WISE Prize for EducationLaureate.

Professor Richard J. Davidson, PhD

William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices.  He has published over 400 articles, numerous chapters and reviews and edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” published in 2012 and co-author with Daniel Goleman of “Altered Traits” published in 2017. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017. 

Yuwei Xu

PhD in cross-cultural study on Gender and Teaching in early childhood settings (University of Glasgow). Yuwei taught Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Jingu College, Tianjin Normal University. Yuwei specialises in qualitative research methodology, statistical research, and quantitative method tools. His teaching experiences vary from early childhood sectors, primary and secondary schools, and higher education to adult education and continuing teacher training in China, England and Scotland. He was a lecturer on the BA (Honours) Early Childhood Studies Program at the Department of Children, Young People and Families (Leeds Trinity University).

ACADEMIC PARTNERS

STRATEGIC AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS