The BtSM2009 Community

Following are, in alphabetical order, details about the members of the BtSM2009 Community (work in progress).

 Name & Affiliation  Biographical notes + statement of interests
Yasmina Ahmed 
École Mollégès, France
My name is Yasmina Ahmed, I live in France and I am in 5th grade. I do piano, horse riding and theatre and I enjoy those because I learn a lot of things which are useful to me. At school I enjoy art, and I also like maths a lot. I don't know much about science for now, but I would like to because it is interesting. I think science can help me understand so many things, and when you understand what is happening around you, you can also help people, which I think is important. While I am in Egypt I hope I can learn a little bit about ancient Egyptians and all the things that they knew about science.
Motaz Attalla
--, Egypt 
I have been working in education development for the past several years. I studied Economics and Philosophy at the American University in Cairo and International Education Policy at Harvard University. At a personal level I am finding mainstream education development work increasingly uninteresting and somehow not in line with the values that initially got me interested in the field. In parallel, I have become very interested in work around learning/education (and social engagement in general) that functions outside the paradigms of schooling and Development. Professionally, I am yet to fully transition out of the role of development 'consultant' but I have set foot in directions that I am currently very excited about. Most recently I was editor of an experimental temporary publishing house affiliated to PhotoCairo4: The Long Shortcut, a biannual arts festival in Cairo. I have also been coordinating for some months a loose collective of individuals working on traditional foods and the localizing of food production systems in and around Cairo. I am still committed to addressing issues in education and I hope to do so in ways that help expand our notions around the where, how, what and with whom of learning.
Rasha Moustafa Awad
Information and Decision Support Center, Egypt

I'm currently working at IDSC as Economic Expert, and Director of Policies' Monitoring and Evaluation Department, The Egyptian Cabinet - Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) since 2002. I start working at IDSC since 1996. During this period I experienced different position, the latest was the IDSC Executive Manager during the period 2003-2007, with focus on IDCS Decision Support's Activities. Meanwhile, I'm working as a Lecturer Professor of Economic Development at Faculty of Economic and Political Sciences, Cairo University.

I had my Doctorate of Philosophy Degree in Economics from Cairo University, Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences (May 2006). The Dissertation was titled "Analysis of the Inter-relationship between the Real Economy and the Financial Economy, with Application on the Egyptian Economy". In 1998, I've got my Masters Degree in Arts of Economics on the topic "Determinants of Investment in Capital Markets" after completion my Bachelor of Arts in Economics (1994) from the same Faculty.

I've participated in a lot of local and regional scientific events. On the local level, the most resent contribution was a working paper titled "Towards Rooting Cultural System to Support Development Efforts in Egypt: with Focus on Consumption, Production, and Work", which presented during the Seventh Annual Conference on Culture and Development, Tohoti Society for Economic Research, Alexandria, Egypt, 24-25 December 2008. Furthermore, the most resent contribution outside Egypt was titled "Strengthening Competition Authorities … Knowledge, Power, and Law", during the Regional Conference on Achieving Sustainable Development in the Arab Region Through Competition Policy, which organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung with The German-Jordanian University and Talal Abu-Ghazaleh College of Business, Amman, Jordan, 7-8 July 2008.

However, I have a series of working papers in different fields, covering my most research interests, which include: Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth; Financial Economy; International Economics; Public Economics; Management and Performance Measurement; and Culture and Values.
On the other hand, I provieded various training and academic activities on different Topics. Among of them: Enhancing Decision Support Process Using Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning Techniques; Early Warning Systems for Socio-Economic Crises; Improving Country's Image Abroad focusing on Monitoring the International Reports Technique; and Capital Markets Analysis.

Regarding my main interest beside the scientific work, it is Drawing and Painting with Oil on canvas. I contributed in Art Exhibition on "A Sense for Art" at Al-Hanager Art Center, Cairo during the period 21-27 June 2001. In addition, I won the Silver Medal prize from Shanker Competition for Children - India (1989).

Soha Badry
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
Yasmeen Bano
Habib University Foundation, Pakistan

I am Yasmeen from Pakistan and associated with the field of education for last many years. I am currently associated with Habib University Foundation as a researcher and planner. Before this I have worked for a variety of educational projects and setting ranging from Early Childhood Development to Teacher Education at Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan. My professional career has been a rich learning experience for me and the most exciting part is trying to unfold the mystery of learning, human mind, human thinking and human attitude. I started this journey with the notion of learning which is most commonly held by people i.e. learning as an esoteric, externally organized and externally driven process. Gradually I realized about my flawed assumptions and the process of challenging them and reconstructing them has been the most powerful learning process for me which has raised many questions in mind and keep me in search of knowing more. The other dimension of my work in the field of education which has been quite challenging for me is to understand its moral and ethical dimensions. The more I am exploring the reality of a natural learning process and the innate human potential the more flawed assumptions around which our entire academia is built become obvious and raises more moral and ethical questions. During this process of reflecting, deconstructing and re-constructing, I question many of my own practices as well and at times do not find answer as to how to bring true and honest synergy between what I think, believe and what I do. To what extent this synergy can be brought in the world in which we are living is another question for me to explore. I am hoping to have exciting discussions with my the colloquia participants in this regard. Another dimension of learning which I am trying to understand is the learning of cognitively challenged people. Having an experience of be with children who are cognitively challenged has pushed me to understand them more, how do they learn, how can they be facilitated is another area of my personal learning interest.

My current work is focused on developing a learning framework for an upcoming university in Pakistan and the biggest challenge is as to how to design it based on the fundamental notion of natural learning and respect for human innate potential and its diversity while following the regimented compliance demands of so called education authorities and quality assurance bodies. The five key themes which are fundamental to shape our programs include Human Cognition and Learning, Environmental Challenge, Learning Technology and Non-Western Knowledge Systems. We are trying to understand the implications of each for various aspects of university programs.

Adli Bishay
Friends of Environment and Development Association (FEDA)

Adli Bishay started his professional career after securing a Ph.D. in glass technology from Sheffield university (UK) followed by a teaching career at the American University in Cairo. This part of his life was spent on improving the teaching programs in science , introducing a materials engineering program and a postgraduate program in solid state science . He also introduced a visiting professor's program through which he invited distinguished scientists from the UK and USA and organized international conferences at AUC in the area of solid state science. During this period he spent three years (1959-1961) at Argonne National Laboratories of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission working on the effects of radiation on glass. He published a number of papers in this field and secured five U.S. patents in his name in the area of glass and atomic radiation.

In the mid seventies, his interest in academic teaching and research began to waiver and to be replaced by development interests. This coincided with President Sadat's call for "Going to The Desert" as a means for dealing with the problem of increasing population and limited resources in Egypt. He managed to convince the American University in Cairo and the Egyptian Government to initiate the "AUC Desert Development Center" which was created in the western desert and based on a "holistic approach" including agriculture, socio- economics and renewable energy.

It was during this period (1978-1990) that he got interested in environment and made sure to include in the Center's activities aspects leading to protection against pollution (water, soil, air…etc) and activities rationalizing the use of resources. As chairman of the International Desert Development Commission (IDDC), he organized a number of international conferences in the field of "Desert Development".

In 1990, he was approached by UNDP (Egypt) to coordinate a task force of top national consultants to propose strategies for sustainable development in Egypt . On his retirement from AUC in 1993, he founded with the support of UNDP Friends of Environment and Development Association (FEDA); an NGO dealing with environmental and developmental issues with special interest in fragile ecosystems: namely; desert areas (eg: Wadi Natroun), coastal areas (eg: Rosetta), and historical areas ( eg . Gamalia/ historic Cairo). However , since 1999 he has concentrated all his efforts in coordinating a major project on the sustainable development of Gamalia which was based on renovation or rebuilding of deteriorated old wekalas; building capacity and working towards public participation of the community; and raising the standard of living of residents of Gamalia with emphasis on education, health, environment, training, employment,...etc.

His interests have evolved from very specific technical items to the holistic approach (social/economic/environment) and further to the sustainable development approach concerned with the standard of living of present and future generations. With the present increasing population and decreasing resources, the impact of global warming on many basic activities, and the recent bird and swine flue…we need more than before to build the scientific mind of our children and use the scientific mind of our professionals to work together to secure a home in the universe.

 David Blanks

American University in Cairo

I am an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the American University in Cairo where I have been teaching, working and living since 1992. I earned my Ph.D. at Ohio State University and my M.A. and B.A. at Michigan State University. My early scholarly work concerned medieval Languedoc (southern France), but since moving to Egypt I have published a number of articles and book chapters on Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle Ages and early modern period. Some of my more important publications include Monks, Missionaries and Mentors, ed. with Michael Frassetto and Amy Livingstone (Leiden: Brill, 2006) and Western Views of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Perception of Other, ed. with Michael Frassetto (New York: St. Matin's Press, 1999). More recently I have turned my attention towards world history, both in terms of teaching and research. This year I will be publishing a chapter on the role of technology transfer from Asia to Europe in Popular Controversies in World History, Steven Danver (ABC-Clio) and one on the history of Islam in Europe in Muslim Minorities and the Issues of Citizenship in Europe, ed. Heba Raouf (Cairo University: Center for European Research and Studies). As for teaching, my focus now is primarily also on world history and, over the past three years, Big History, a course that covers the history of the universe in a single semester.  
Brandon Canfield
American University in Cairo 
Dr. Brandon Canfield is currently completing his first year as visiting assistant professor at the American University in Cairo, where he is actively involved in the Scientific Thinking course, required for all undergraduates, both in the development of the curriculum and as an instructor. This fall will also mark his introduction of a Scientific Ethics course, the first of its kind at AUC, which will focus on research methodologies and issues faced by all practicing research scientists. He is interested in the development of critical thinking skills and the "scientific mind" as they relate to responsible citizenship. Dr. Canfield earned his doctorate from the department of Chemistry at Arizona State University in the field of prebiotic chemistry. 
Virginia del Re 
Aziza Ellozy
American University in Cairo

Dr Aziza Ellozy is the founding Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT, Sept.2002) at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She has is also the Associate Dean for Learning Technologies.

Under her leadership, the Center for Learning and Teaching provides significant support for the enhancement of teaching, learning, and faculty development. Dr Ellozy has overseen the successful implementation of a large number of programs and services such as the Faculty Development Institutes, the Student Technology Assistants Program and the Midterm Assessment Program, all of which are very popular among the faculty. She regularly facilitates faculty workshops and writes for CLT's bi-weekly newsletter. Dr Ellozy serves on a range of university (and national) committees that focus on teaching, learning and educational technology. As Associate Dean for Learning Technologies, she is responsible to coordinate and integrate the activities of Academic Computing Services with those of the CLT and is responsible for training and assessment of classroom technologies. She has recently been awarded the President's Distinguished Service Award.

Prior to this, she was a tenured faculty member at Fordham University in New York in the department of Natural Sciences, where she taught Organic and General Chemistry, as well as interdisciplinary science courses in the Core Curriculum. In 1994, she was among the first group of faculty in the US who was chosen as "Faculty for the 21st Century" in the National Science Foundation's Project Kaleidoscope. Dr Ellozy's teaching was recognized with such awards as the "Best Teachers in America" Award from the Who's Who Among American Teachers (1998) and a Special Award from the Fordham Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society (1999). As a teacher and researcher, she was an early adopter of technology, and has since become an advocate for its use in education.

Dr Aziza Ellozy received her B.Sc. in Chemistry, a M.Sc. in Solid State Science from the American University in Cairo, and a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the University of North Carolina (1973).

Nesreen ElMolla
Information and Decision Support Center

Nesreen Khaled El Molla is a political sciences researcher and an international cooperation specialist at the Egyptian Cabinet of Ministers' Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC). She had been accredited her bachelor degree in political sciences in 2004, from the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University. She is currently pursuing her masters in the field of international relations on the European Neighborhood Policy and its impact on the political reform process in Egypt.

Ms El Molla was assigned to represent IDSC officially at a number of international assignments. The main assignments including her membership in the following programs and groups:
* A member at the European Union Visitors Program and the study tour for the European Union institutions, Belgium, 2008.
* A member of the official Egyptian delegation at the Joint Egyptian/ Vietnamese and Egyptian/Indonesian high level Commissions, Vietnam & Indonesia, 2007.
* A member at the national taskforce of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF, 2007 – 2011) monitoring the implementation of one of its outcomes concerned with the area of good governance and reform.
Moreover, Ms El Molla organized and participated in a number of international conferences and events including; Egypt Invest, Arab parliamentary conference on the United Nations convention against corruption, The Egyptian – German think tanks conference: toward an innovative approach to think tanks' management, Globalization and Economic Successes: policy options for Africa, as well as other events.

In addition, she is engaged in a number of voluntary and students' activities. This includes her role as a volunteer in one of the youth NGOs; "Dreamers of Tomorrow" as well as her role in organizing and implementing simulations of international organizations; European Union, United Nations, American Congress at both the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University and the American University in Cairo.
As for other extra curricular activities, Ms El Molla has been a proficient tennis player and had been a member at the Egyptian National Team; she had represented Egypt in many regional and international tournaments.

Concerning the colloquium on "Building the scientific mind", Ms El Molla is very much interested to discuss the relationship between science and politics and to have a brainstorming on how can both disciplines learn from each other.

Carlo Fabricatore
Initium Studios
Carlo Fabricatore, Ph.D., is a computer scientist and interaction designer, specializing in human-computer interactions and software architectures in the fields of digital games, real-time highly-interactive simulations and digitally-mediated learning processes. He has a strong background and professional experience in Information Technology project management, game design and development, and digital entertainment research and education.
His journey in the universe human-computer interactions began with his Ph.D. studies, focused on usability in digital games and player-centered game design. His research made him realize the central importance of understanding the individual in interaction design, and the discovery of how little we still know about the cognitive processes involved in human-computer interactions and the impact of aesthetics on users. His interests focused specifically on play and games after he realized that learning processes are essential to any sort of gaming experience, and contribute substantially to the "fun factor" of a game. And, on top of that, they can generate in gamers development processes that transcend the virtual gaming world and have a positive impact on the "real" world (especially when it comes to epistemic and problem-centered learning processes), breaking geo-political and cultural boundaries, and transcending the constrains of traditional learning and scientific environments. Carlo's eagerness to see games potential better exploit, and a few regenerating fishing trips across tropical jungles every once in a while, are the fuel that keeps his interest growing, and sustains his efforts to contribute to the development of the world of "serious gaming".
In the field of IT, Carlo has focused mainly on distributed software architectures, simulations and highly-interactive applications. He has provided consultancy for and developed collaborations with entities such as the United Nations, Italian National Research Council (CNR), the Italian National Computing Center for the Public Administration (CNIPA), Accenture, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances, and Telecom Italy, amongst others.
As a professional game developer, Carlo worked in the digital game industry since 1996. He took part in projects for a number of different platforms (ranging from the Nintendo Gameboy to the Sony Playstation 2) and game genres, collaborating with Nintendo (USA), Sony (UK), Atari (France) UbiSoft (France) and Appeal (Belgium).
Carlo is an active member of the Academy, contributing to the field of digital entertainment research through his affiliations to the Italian National Research Council (Italy) and to the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (Italy). He also collaborated with the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (USA), the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile), the Game Research Group of the IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark), the Learning Development Institute (USA), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the University of Rome "La Sapienza" (Italy), and the Italian National Computing Center for the Public Administration (Italy).
In the field of game development education, Carlo has a strong track-record as senior lecturer, and has designed and directed numerous specialized study programmes, working for the Italian National Research Council (Italy), the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (Italy), and the European Institute of Design (Italy).
At the BtSM2009 Carlo will propose insights regarding digital games, learning and the development of the scientific mind, hoping to uncover, through the discussion with other participants, new ways and opportunities to exploit digital games for purposes of scientific, social and cultural relevance.
Martin Gardiner
Brown University
Martin F. Gardiner, Ph.D. is a researcher at the Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University, Providence, RI, and also teaches at New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Mass. In addition to music training, Dr. Gardiner has his doctorate in brain research and further degrees in science and engineering. Dr. Gardiner was lead author of a study showing impact of musical and visual arts training on broader learning published in the international journal of science Nature in 1996. More recent work with colleagues continues to develop and explore implications of evidence that musical experience and training can affect intellectual, social and emotional learning and development not only in children but also adolescents, and adults. Recent work to be discussed at this conference involves developing a view of learning that takes into account recent work on human consciousness, and exploring implications and new opportunities for world-wide education.
Samir Ghabbour
Cairo University 
Author and co-author of some 250 publications on ecology, biodiversity, environmental management, conservation, protected areas, etc.
Chairman, Egyptian National Committee for the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB),
Chairman, ArabMAB Network (Regional Network of Arab National MAB Committees)
Chairman of the Egyptian Society for Environmental Applications (Est. 2000)
Delegate to the meetings of the UNESCO MAB International Coordination Council (since 1977), the UNIDO Conference on Ecologically Sustainable Industrial Development (1991), and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee sessions (since 2001)
Member of World Futures Studies Federation (and co-founder, 1973)
Chief Editor of the Egypt MAB Bulletin (est. 1977)
Member of Editorial Board of six international journals on biodiversity and conservation

Latest publications:
Transboundary World Heritage Sites and nature reserves, in: Egypt MAB Bulletin, 2008
The Oligochaeta of the Nile Basin revisited, in: The Nile: Origin, environments, limnology and human use, Springer, May 2009.
Jennifer Gidley
Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University

Dr Jennifer GIDLEY is a psychologist, educator and futures researcher. Her transdisciplinary career includes experience as a school and community psychologist, teaching principal, academic teacher and researcher, and consultant, spanning three decades and all educational levels. A significant pedagogical achievement was to found and direct an innovative private school inspired by Rudolf Steiner's philosophy and pedagogy in rural Australia (1984-1994). A significant academic achievement was to co-design, develop, convene and instruct the online component of the Masters in Strategic Foresight at Swinburne University, Melbourne (2003-2006). She currently works as a Research Fellow in the Globalization and Culture Program of the Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Jennifer has published widely in educational and youth futures, and global socio-cultural change, including co-editing two books: The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University (2002) and Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions (2002); and co-authoring a monograph: Futures in Education: Principles, Practices and Potential. Her doctoral research explored macrostructural shifts in culture and consciousness within both macrohistorical and futures contexts. She has recently co-edited two special issues: one for the journal FUTURES on "Global Mindset Change" and the second for the journal New Political Science on "The Changing Face of Political Ideologies in the Global Age." Jennifer works globally, creating networks-both conceptual and human-between futures studies and other transversal fields, such as integral studies, global studies, transdisciplinary studies, postformal education, gender studies, planetary eco-philosophies, and global youth movements. She has recently been nominated for the Presidency of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) from June 2009 to 2013. As part of her role in WFSF she coordinates the WFSF-UNESCO Online Centre for Pedagogical Resources in Futures Studies.

With respect to the colloquium, Jennifer is looking forward to meeting other friends and colleagues who are pursuing similar areas of interest, such as big history, transdisciplinarity, sustainable learning futures, and integrating science and religion, to name a few. She hopes to share challenging and supportive dialogue with other partipants and continue to imbibe the wonderful spirit of Cairo.

Gary Hampson
Southern Cross University
Gary Hampson is a PhD candidate at Southern Cross University, Australia. His innovative conceptual research focuses on the regeneration of global worldview and education, involving a deepening of the scholarship of integration toward a possible “eco-logical” future. Critiquing the overuse of modern atomism and economism, it creatively addresses such items as complexity theory, transdisciplinarity, cosmological postmodernism, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, postformal thinking, Hermetic-Neoplatonism, poetics, and ecologies of mind, society and environment. Critiquing the current dominant educational paradigm, it looks toward the radical reconstruction of educational identities including those of knowledge, curriculum, teaching, research, and human being. The range of conceptual territory perhaps reflects Gary’s eclectic background in the UK and Australia including his work as a consultant in education, creativity and empowerment workshop designer-facilitator, humanistic counsellor, massage therapist, maths tutor, and musician. He has a degree in Geography from University College London, and a Graduate Certificate in Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University, Melbourne. Epistemologically, he is interested in the meta-dialogue between science and art as part of the quest for authentic transdisciplinarity. Normatively, he is deeply concerned about the current state of the world including ecocide, global warming, global social injustice, dangerous technology, and mental dis-ease.
A. John Jordan
John Jordan received his Doctorate in Oceanography (Zoology) from the University of Maine in 1972. After a post-doc in the Antarctic, he joined EG&G consulting on marine biological aspects of projects including oil terminals, dredging, ocean disposal and baseline projects for thermal discharges from nuclear plants. Moving to Vancouver in 1976, he continued consulting on bulk liquid and dry bulk terminals in British Columbia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China. Joining the Vancouver Port Corporation in 1990, he established the first Port Authority Environmental Service section in a Canadian port. He joined Trow Consulting Engineers in 2002 to continue his consulting career as an independent contractor.
Elizabeth Jordan
University of British Columbia
Elizabeth Jordan is a member of the faculty in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia. She has been at UBC for 17 years. Her particular interests are in Problem-Based Learning, Gifted Education and the classroom environment that supports creativity. She has co-authored two textbooks for pre-service teachers using PBL: Educational psychology: A problem-based approach (2006) and Problem-based learning in inclusive education (2000).
Amina Karim
Habib University Foundation 
I am Amina Karim. I had started working for the mainstream education sector in Pakistan ten years ago. The past decade, and the myriad of settings and people I have worked with during the course, has provided me with a much broader vision then the one I had embarked with on this journey. This evolved vision has helped me to view the constricted notions of formal education with a more critical gaze to search for alternate models and accept that I am still in the process of unlearning many things ingrained into me through my own schooling in Karachi, Pakistan.
My journey began as a science teacher in the Aga Khan School Network in Pakistan, and took me through many routes as a teacher educator, curriculum developer, program implementer, researcher and student of Education - teaching and learning about various levels of education from early childhood to secondary education.
Currently, I am working as a Research Associate at the Habib University Foundation in Karachi and striving to contribute towards building sustainable learning and cognition models for its different projects, which range from a Science and Engineering University, to developing frameworks for secondary education in rural Sindh, to a Centre for Educational Research and Planning. I experience the difficult task of working within mainstream education and keeping the process of critical pedagogy and unlearning the conventional notions of this system alive every day.
My own interests revolve around the human consciousness and its innate capability of learning and making sense of its own environment. I believe that human potential needs to be facilitated so that the links that the human mind creates with its physical, geographic and social environment are in harmony with the natural system. I am a student of sustainable models of learning, grounded in their context and inculcating a deeper understanding of the issues and also looking for possible solutions.
Jinan Kodapully
I am an activist trying to understand, resist and fight the hegemony of 'knowledge' on our consciousness. I am exploring authenticity, originality, creativity which have been destroyed by formal structured 'education'. In a way what is the natural, original self un conditioned by schooling.
While studying design I realized how our aesthetic sense is getting homogenized due to teaching of elements of design- colour sense, form etc.
An added gift of schooling has been to feel inferior to the west.
I have researched on indigenous design process and education since 1989 among non literate artisans and children.
In my search for knowledge three important steps I took was, first I went to non literate communities to learn from them as to how they access/ create knowledge, second I stopped reading altogether to re activate my cognitive skills and also to see things with out the framework of theories and the third was to learn from a child who was then just 3 months old in particular and from other children that I have come accross.
A total paradigm shift happened to me in this process.
Initiatives and web sites. explores the new insights of how knowing takes place in various cognitive conditions or paradigms and how human beings are really helpless and at the same time masters in self deception.
Have been documenting how children learn in non literate communities ( ) and also conducts a workshop called sensing nature; knowing nature every year during April/ may for children of Aruvacode. (
Working with teachers and parents to rediscover their child like qualities which will enable them to appreciate the natural abilities of children.
Exploring ways to undo the harm of homogenization brought about through education especially in the area of design, architecture and art.
Exploring cognitive damages of textualisation and virtualization of experience.
As a design educator I have been developing a course that address how to develop / re cover context specific and culture specific aesthetic sensibilities as that definitely is the distinguishing factor of each culture and this is what could prevent homogenization to some extent.
As a Designer, craft activist I have been working with rural tribal artisan communities to find new ways of using the craft and at the same time trying to create awareness among the so called 'educated' the wisdom knowledge of non literate communities.
Craft in Architecture is another initiative to explore the potential of traditional craft in Architecture. Several projects of kumbham has exaples of this potential.
Enable artisan. This is a two year project designed for enabling the artisan's children to take forward their skills as a viable livelihood option by equipping them with necessary skills- entrepreneurship, communication, designing ability, functional computer and accounting ability etc and also providing them with few basic tools and equipments and linking them with relevant players.
Areas of focus
Exploring the fundamental paradoxes of life, researching on biological foundation of knowledge & beauty. Deeply in love with children and pained by the un natural schooling done to them by the so called educated. May be one day I will free them from schooling.
Please feel free to contact me .
Kathryn Lawrence
American University in Cairo
Dr. Kaddee Lawrence is just finishing a three-year position at the American University in Cairo. She will be returning to the Pacific NorthWest of the United States this summer where she will continue as a tenured professor of Biology at Highline Community College. Her primary teaching interests are in the areas of animal anatomy and physiology, and she has taught in the pre-allied health areas for over 15 years. She is also very interested and involved in general education science education at the university level. At AUC she has been involved in the upgrading of the non-major's Biology laboratory curriculum, and has been the coordinator of the CORE curriculum required first-year course entitled "Scientific Thinking". During her time as coordinator, the course has undergone a substantial curricular revision with the cooperation and input of the teaching faculty. She is primarily interested in increasing the student-perceived relevance of the Scientific Thinking course, while also fostering the development of life-long critical thinking skills. Dr. Lawrence earned her doctorate in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire, with her primary research conducted at the Friday Harbor Laboratories of the University of Washington, in the field of invertebrate neurobiology and neural networks.
Ximena López
Initium Studios
Ximena was born and has lived almost all her life in Santiago, Chile. She studied psychology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile) and in 2001 she moved to Belgium where she got her Master in "Interventions auprès des personnes en situation de handicap" at the Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve. In 2006, she began her graduate studies at Roma Tre University, in Rome, Italy, where her main areas of research have been e-learning and the educational aspects of the Web 2.0. At the same time, she is working on her dissertation project on the educational potential of video games.
Her first steps in the video game field were taken in 1997, when she participated in a research project between the school of Psychology and the school of Engineering (in Chile) designing and developing educational videogames for the Gameboy platform. The research was considered one of the most important developments carried out in the Chilean educational arena, in first place because it was developed in a time in which video games were scarcely taken in consideration by the educational field. In second place, it was carried out by a group of undergraduate students under the guidance of 2 ("mad") professors, in a developing country.
Back from Belgium in 2003, in Chile she worked at the Catholic University of Chile in a research project regarding the use of wireless technology to support computer supported collaborative learning, funded by the Chilean government. The purpose was not only to develop a new technology for educational purposes, but most importantly, to propose a pedagogical model for its use in the classroom.
Beyond her general interest in sharing and exchanging ideas with other colleagues coming from different cultural and academic backgrounds, at the Colloquium Ximena is looking forward to discuss about the role that new media have in the emergence and development of cognitive and affective processes involved in the scientific thinking.
Natasha Mahendran
Alwan wa Awtar

I am currently the Non-formal Education Project Manager at Alwan wa Awtar, an Egyptian NGO based in Mokattam. I am helping to start up an alternative education project that uses various creative arts methods to support the learning of underprivileged children. Learning through cross cultural exchanges to promote peace is a personal interest. I currently volunteer as a facilitator in the Soliya Connect Program which is an online forum that allows students in the Arab world and students in the US/Europe to discuss various political, cultural and social issues.

I have a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) degree from the University of Sydney, Australia which included an exchange year at Sciences PO (Institute for Political Studies) in Paris, France. Since graduating, I have been working and volunteering for various social development NGOs and have experience in fund-raising, volunteer management, communications, website content writing, donor relations and project design and management.

I am interested in learning more about the role the arts can play in developing the scientific mind, particularly for children in underprivileged communities. I hope to contribute to the conference by sharing the experiences of Alwan wa Awtar's work using arts as a tool for social development and my personal learning experiences that I have gained by living, studying and working in various countries such as Sri Lanka, Australia, France and Egypt .

Roy McWeeny
University of Pisa

Roy McWeeny grew up in a small industrial town in the north of England, during the 1920's and 1930's. At an early age he had to decide between Fine Art and Physics, choosing Physics but keeping a lifelong interest in painting and sculpture. He has degrees from Leeds and Oxford, where he developed his interests in mathematical physics and quantum theory. After 35 years of university teaching (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), he moved to a Chair in Italy, where he is now Professore Emerito di Chimica Teorica, University of Pisa. He has held visiting appointments in many European Universities (in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden); also in India, Israel, Japan and the USA.

The first of his many books was "Symmetry - An Introduction to Group Theory" (1963), which became a 'classic' and was reprinted (2001) by Dover Publications. He has a passionate interest in teaching and a strongly 'pictorial' imagination - believing that difficult and abstruse concepts can usually be conveyed through visual images. At present he is editing (and writing for) the series of "Basic Books in Science", a series of modules aimed at people with limited formal education: the books are available gratis on the Internet ( - For the Love of Science). His other publications include about 150 research papers, mainly in the area of molecular physics and quantum chemistry. He was elected (1973) to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science; and (1987) to the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and the Humanities. One regret - that there was never more time for the Fine Arts, for working with clay or wood or stone, which once gave him so much pleasure.

While attending the BtSM2009 colloquium, he wishes to discuss ideas and exchange experiences about the problems of printing and publishing science texts in parts of the world, such as Africa, where such materials have been sadly lacking for too long. He also hopes to open up a discussion of the "language of Science". For many centuries, from Pythagoras to Einstein, from Galileo to Feynman, Science has been heavily dependent on Mathematics. But with the popularization of Science there has been a tendency to talk about Science in the more fashionable languages of the Social Sciences, emphasizing its social function. To many working scientists this does not seem to be a useful way of "building the scientific mind". Mathematics remains unrivalled in the precision and economy with which it can develop new concepts; but it is a discipline that has to be learnt "in the field" by doing science rather than talking about it. That is the mission of "Basic Books in Science".

Shahinaz Mekheimar
Information and Decision Support Center
I'm Shahinaz Mekheimar , graduate of French schools in Cairo , ( Beside the Arabic and the English languages I also can speak fluently the Armenian language but not the French language !!!!!! ) .
I Obtained the MD degree in Public Health from the Faculty of Medicine , Cairo University . I also obtained an important certificate from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, England ( a scholarship from the British council ) after attending " Health Education / Promotion for Primary Health Care " course . The course really empowered me in the first place and I learned the necessary skills to empower others , it also enabled me to possess the necessary skills to conduct qualitative research and to use pictures for critical awareness . I'm really grateful to my tutor Korrie de Konning .
I worked as a researcher in the area of Public Health and Health education promotion and I worked as a consultant for many international organizations in Egypt as a qualitative researcher and health promoter ( I worked in the field of Gender based violence , child maltreatment , health needs assessment , addiction , HIV/AIDS , Family planning , Schistosomiasis , ….) . Luckily I joined recently the Information and Decision support Center ( IDSC ) where I'm appointed as a Qualitative research consultant .
My interest of course is in qualitative research and in Health promotion .
Concerning "building the scientific mind" I'm very much interested to join with groups interested in qualitative research , empowerment and raising the critical thinking . Also I'm interested to present a paper concerning child development, where " Imagination" is the scope of interest .
Carolina Ödman
Leiden University / UNAWE

A Swedish and Swiss citizen, Carolina Ödman studied physics engineering in Switzerland before receiving a Ph.D in Comsology from Cambridge University in 2003. She took a post-doctoral position at the University of Rome La Sapienza after a short job at UNESCO and a brief lecture circuit at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
She has been the project manager of UNAWE since September, 2005.

Her research interests in Science and Development are Early Childhood aspects of the development of the Scienti?c Mind, Intercultural aspects of knowledge and sustainable development, Citizen Science and Scienti?c Culture, science visualisation and the new media, Gender Equality in Higher Education, Women in science. In theoretical cosmology she has researched Bayesian analysis, cosmological parameter estimation and models of Dark Energy.

Benjamin Olshin
University of the Arts

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, History, and History of Science at The University of the Arts. There, teach everything from Greek philosophy and Chinese philosophy, to courses in cultural anthropology, history of technology, physics, and industrial design.

My research covers a range of subject areas: the philosophy of physics, the history of cartography, and culturally-dependent models of reality. Most recently, I presented a paper on technology and social policy at the Society for the History of Technology annual meeting in Lisbon (in October), and I gave a lecture on fifteenth-century maps at the Warburg Institute in London later this month.

I completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (I.H.P.S.T.) at the University of Toronto in Canada. My dissertation centered around a visual history of cartography, examining early maps and sea charts in both Europe and Asia.

Following the completion of my Ph.D. in 1993, I shifted gears for several years, serving as an Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Design at Ming Chuan University in Taipei, Taiwan. I had previously worked for architects in the U.S., Brazil, and Japan, and had done design and fine arts work during my graduate school years. In Taiwan, I developed and taught a variety of courses in the areas of drawing, painting, model-making, design fundamentals, and the philosophy of design. During this time, I also participated in two conferences, which led to an increasing interest in the influence of culture (particularly in terms of East and West) in the shaping of philosophical worldviews. In one conference, I delivered a paper entitled "Teaching Concepts of Quality", which discussed problems of quality in contemporary design and manufacturing in Taiwan. This paper, which was presented before a panel of Taiwanese designers and educators, addressed the topic in terms of certain aspects of Chinese culture and their philosophical underpinnings.

Later, having returned to the U.S., I worked in a wide variety of fields, including as an executive in a design and brand identity firm, Landor Associates, before returning to teaching. At around the same time, I founded a consulting firm, S2R, that specialized in cross-cultural communications and global business issues.

In the course of my career, I have worked, studied, and carried out research in a variety of places: Italy, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Turkey, Ghana, and other locales.

I am interested in many, many things (which is one of the problems I've had in academia!). At this colloquium here in Cairo, I am interested in learning more and talking to participants about education, students, and the learning process (I am in a very cynical phase about this at present!); culture, communication, and design; the future of physics and its connection to philosophy; and getting at the core of truly, truly sustainable ways of living.

Evgeny Patarakin
Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University

Evgeny Patarakin
Researcher, author of "Network communities and learning" book Leading Specialist at Public Opinion Foundation Associated professor, Nizhny Novgorod pedagogical university Teaching courses: Collaborative actions in the network, Social services in pedagogical practice,Multiagent models in science education, Coordinate educational network - MediaWiki administrator: Administrator and project manager in a wide variety of education applications - MediaWiki, DokuWiki, Moodle.

My interest in the Building the Scientific Mind Colloquia is in the area of participatory design and metadesign for learning in distance education. Wikis, Scratch, NetLogo and other tools which help students to be more creative and participate in collaboration.

Marion Porath
University of British Columbia

Marion Porath is from Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada. She loves the beauty of the ocean, mountains, and gardens of the Pacific Coast and the experience of living in a vibrant multicultural city. She has been involved in education for over 30 years, first as an elementary school teacher and then at the university level as a teacher and researcher in Educational Psychology and Special Education. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education in the Faculty of Education at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Throughout the yeaars of working as an educator, Marion has been fascinated by the development of conceptual understanding across disciplines, pedagogy that supports and scaffolds this development, and the role of the arts in the development of mind.

Marion's research has focused on the nature of advanced development in drawing, narrative, and social understanding, using a neo-Piagetian theoretical framework. She was drawn to this framework because of its explication of how children's minds develop and the "design for development" the theory provides for consolidating and developing conceptual understanding. This framework has also guided her investigations of children's and adolescent's perceptions of learning in general, learning of academic subjects in particular, and teaching. She also has done research on developmentally-based instruction and problem-based learning. With Elizabeth Jordan, she has co-authored two books on problem-based learning, Problem-Based Learning in Inclusive Education (also with Janet Jamieson) and Educational Psychology: A Problem-Based Approach. Most recently, Marion has begun to explore the characteristics of noteworthy pedagogy with a group of colleagues who are all curious about the relationship of one's inner work/inner life as an educator to successful teaching. She has incorporated her own art in these explorations, seeking to find expression in visual and creatively written forms.

At the colloquium, Marion hopes to engage in discussion of problem-oriented learning. Recent research with Elizabeth Jordan indicates the wealth of approaches that are informed by constructivist principles of surfacing learners' understandings and uniting these understandings with formal disciplinary knowledge through authentic, contextualized experiences. We have much to learn from each other in sharing the challenges and successes of teaching in ways that are collaborative and co-constructive. Marion also is looking forward to engaging in discussions about early child development and education, in particular the role of the arts in honouring children's understandings and facilitating their learning.

Premana Premadi
Department of Astronomy and the Bosscha Observatory of the Institut Teknologi Bandung
Premana W. Premadi is a faculty staff member of the Department of Astronomy and the Bosscha Observatory of the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in Indonesia. She received her BSc in astronomy from ITB and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. She spent two years in the Astronomical Institute of the Tohoku University, Japan, as a postdoctoral fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The area of her research work and courses taught cover topics in physical cosmology and relativistic astrophysics, and occasionally philosophy of science. Having deep interest and concern with education she pushes herself to learn various themes about learning. Since 2000 she has been very much involved in the construction of curriculum for the Department of Astronomy in ITB, its implementation emphasizing learning to reason, and creating a better learning environment. She works a lot with primary school and high school teachers who are often frustrated with the science courses they have to teach. Premana enjoys being with children, learning how they perceive the world. She leads a team of about 20 people traveling to remote places, and inner cities, visiting with children, introducing them to the beauty of the universe. Since 2 years ago this activity is sort of institutionalized by joining the Universe Awareness for Children (UNAWE). Starting as a personal drive, Premana organizes a study and discussion forum on the dialogue between science, culture, and religion. The forum meets half a dozen times per year and has about 30 members consisting of scientists, students of science and engineering, philosophers, priests, and imams.
Jaap Swart
Mind Venture International
Jaap Swart was born and raised in the Caribbean. This caused intense interest in intercultural communication and the problems of communication for development and education in multi-cultural societies. Social Geographer and Cultural Anthropologist by training (University of Amsterdam: UVA) Jaap worked for the UVA and ISS (Institute of Social Studies), returned to Curaçao in the Caribbean, joined the management of a secondary school and became active in the teacher union movement. Returning to The Netherlands he became General Manager of Radio Nederland Training Centre(RNTC), the Dutch institute for media-facilitated development, educational and intercultural communication. RNTC was and is active in development communication projects all over the world. Retired from RNTC in 2002 Jaap devotes most of his time to the application and critical assessment of media for journalistic, developmental and educational objectives (MOS. Media on the Spot) and to the role of media in mental health and cultural confrontation situations (MVI. Mind Venture International).
Mohsen Tawfik
Ain Shams University, Egypt 
Rustam Vania
Srishti School of Art & Design

I have a professional interest in communication design. With over a decades experience in creating popular creative communication strategies for science, environment and development education I enjoy interfacing between educational needs and creative design/communication solutions. I was the founder editor and designer of Gobar Times (cowdung times), a popular monthly magazine supplement to Down To Earth, the science and environment fornightly published by the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment.

Presently I am a faculty member at the Bangalore based Srishti School or Art, Design and Technology. I coordinate a interdiscplinary art & design program called 'Sangama' (confluence). The primary pedagogical method is place based learning (space, place and people) through real life contexts and/or projects. Subjects range from heritage conservation and habitat studies to design in education and ecological design.

Divya, my journalist wife, self and our adorable labradour Noori live in a mud architecture house on the outskirts of Bangalore city in South India.

Jan Visser
Learning Development Institute

Jan Visser started out in life as a theoretical physicist. Studying, researching, and later also teaching, the stuff of physics made him keenly aware of the intracacies of what lies behind seemingly ordinary things like knowing and learning. It led him to expand his passion to know and deeply understand the things of nature to seeking to understand the knowing subject. , i.e., the person who learns and thinks to know. Working around the globe for most of his professional life, he has had the opportunity to explore the meanings of knowing and learning in hugely different cultural contexts and dramatically diverse circumstances. One of the conclusions he has come to reach while engaging in such explorations is that it is less important to look at the short term static outcomes of learning in terms of acquired knowledge, capabilities and propensities and thus that it is much more important to develop an eye for how learning alters the dynamics of how humans interact with the world. He thus sees learning in the first place as "the disposition of human beings, and of the social entities to which they pertain, to engage in continuous dialogue with the human, social, biological and physical environment, so as to generate intelligent behavior to interact constructively with change."

This may explain Jan's interest in the human mind. The fact that he has devoted much of his time during recent years to promoting nurturing of the scientific mind may be excuses considering his background. He does, however, recognize that the development of alternate mindsets, such as the entrepreneurial mind, the poetic mind or the artistic mind, is equally important. Many of these mindsets overlap, he believes, and are distinct mainly in terms of shifting emphases on the products of the mental activity concerned.

As far as BtSM2009 is concerned, Jan is deeply intrigued by the central theme of the colloquium, the search for our home in the universe. Enhanced awareness of what we are, where we come from, and where we may be going as a species, he believes, is key to how humanity will respond to the challenge of learning for sustainable futures. The Special Interest Group on this issue will thus have Jan's special attention during the colloquium. Related interests are transdisciplinarity; UNAWE's and Jinan's work with children; the Big History approach to understanding both our cosmic relevance and irrelevance; and the development of the scintific mind across diverse cultures, worldviews and self-perceptions. Having virtually no experience , yet having a pretty negative feeling about the video games he has so far seen, he looks forward with great expectation and curiosity to learning more about the promising work that Carlo and Ximena will be presenting. The question brought up by Roy concerning the role of mastering mathematics is also close to Jan's heart.

Lya Visser
Learning Development Institute 
Lya Visser is an avid learner and more specifically a distance learner. Her Master’s degree was done at a distance with the University of London, while living in Zimbabwe. The loneliness of the distance learner and the consequential motivational challenges inspired her to do her doctoral work in the area of motivational communication at a distance, designing and distributing motivational messages (first used by Jan Visser in a face-to-face context), in order to increase completion rates and satisfaction levels.
My work with the Learning Development Institute (LDI) as a training development and research associate has focused on the development of workshops and alternative training events related to the above mentioned interest so as to create learning environments that care for people both emotionally and cognitively.
In addition to my affiliation with LDI, I teach online courses in the area of performance improvement, leadership and organizational learning for George Washington University and Nova Southeastern University, I do research in what motivates people to learn and what the role of affective and effective communication is in surpassing the distance between the facilitator and the student. Such research has therefore important implications for the development of competencies of people who, like me, are involved in guiding other people's learning experiences, particularly if they do so in the rapidly developing context of online learning and other forms of learning at a distance.
My interest in the Building the Scientific Mind Colloquia is especially in the area of Problem Based Learning and its role in a distance education context. I have often asked myself how we can find a home in the universe when technology is increasingly replacing human contact and thus augmenting the danger of alienation. My aim is to work on humanizing learning in such ways that the role of wisdom, scholarship, critical thinking and empathetic acting are not only recognized, but also actively used as important building blocks for a better and more just society.
Related to Building the Scientific Mind I propose to discuss the role of the instructor in building the scientific mind. The focus could be on how we, instructors, teach our learners how to think instead of what to think and move from informing our students to convincing our students.
Yusra Laila Visser
Learning Development Institute & Florida Atlantic University

Yusra Laila Visser spent the first half of her life in southeast Africa, and the second half of her life primarily in the United States. Living in Africa, she learned much about the wonders and the difficulties of postcolonial states, witnessing both the splendor of the diversity of lifestyles and cultures in those regions and the ravaging effects of war, poverty, and disease. From these experiences, coupled with the unique opportunities afforded her during her time in the U.S., Yusra has cherished what she has learned about the value of a solid education, the importance of political action and consciousness, societal service as a life’s mission, and the role of systematic inquiry in meaningfully observing and interpreting the attributes of the surrounding world.

Yusra is vice-president and researcher for the Learning Development Institute. Joining the BtSM colloquium, Yusra is especially interested in exploring the role of formal and informal learning environments in mediating the development of facets of the scientific disposition. This interest emerges from her research on the use of problem- and project-based instructional approaches to address the myriad of diverse needs and opportunities related to learning and development in a complex world. As part of the 2007 and 2009 Building the Scientific Mind Colloquium, she has focused on coordinating the Problem-Oriented Learning special interest group. The common thread that connects the members of the problem-oriented learning group is shared interest, experience, and insight into inquiry, problems, and/or problem solving as mechanisms for learning or as outcomes of learning.

Yusra also serves as coordinator of the Digital Education Teacher's Academy (DETA), a collaborative program between Florida Atlantic University and the School Board of Broward County. In this capacity, she is engaged in the design, development and implementation of targeted in-service teacher training programs focused on instructional design and technology integration. Much of the focus of the DETA program is on helping in-service teachers develop the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind integral to implementing effective problem- and project-based learning approaches.

Muriel Visser-Valfrey
Learning Development Institute
Muriel Visser-Valfrey is an independent consultant working on HIV/AIDS, education and health issues. Muriel has an academic background in rural sociology, education and mass communication (Ph.D. - Florida State University). She is an education and health communication expert and is specialized in programme development and evaluation work in these fields in developing countries. Her professional experience has focused on the design, management and evaluation of international development projects, particularly in Africa and more recently on supporting education systems in developing an effective response to the threat of HIV/AIDS. Her most recent work has been in the Caribbean, in South America and in Southern Africa. Before establishing herself as an independent consultant in 2004, Muriel spent 10 years working in Mozambique in the area of education and four years in Florida doing her PhD and working for Florida State University in the area of health communication.
Muriel participated in the first 2005 BtSM meeting in The Hague and led the special interest group on HIV/AIDS and the scientific mind. Muriel continues to be particularly interested in factors (at an individual and collective level) that influence decision making with respect to health issues. The way in which the scientific mind can help or hinder such decision making processes is something which she would like to continue to explore with other participants during the present BtSM colloquium.
Tiffany Vora
American University in Cairo
Dr. Tiffany Vora is currently a visiting assistant professor at the American University in Cairo. Her primary teaching responsibility is a required first-year course entitled "Scientific Thinking," although she also teaches a graduate course in bioinformatics for the Biotechnology program at AUC. As a result, she is especially interested in the role of critical thinking in developing-world economic, political, and educational arenas. She also investigates nontraditional media (problem-solving, multimedia, collaborative techniques) for potential development of the scientific mind. Dr. Vora earned her doctorate from the department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University in the fields of bacterial genomics and systems biology.