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Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Opening Keynote

Shabana Basij-Rasikh
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Afghanistan's First and Only All-Girls Boarding School: Stories and Challenges


Afghanistan has been torn apart by decades of war, and Basij-Rasikh believes the best way to create a stable and prosperous country is to raise a highly educated leadership generation. Basij-Rasikh shares how the School of Leadership, Afghanistan, is addressing the challenges Afghan girls face to accessing quality education.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh
was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, and completed high school and college in the United States. Cofounder and president of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a nonprofit dedicated to providing Afghan girls a rigorous education and helping them enter universities worldwide. Widely recognized as a leading advocate for girls’ education, she has received the Davis Peace Prize and was named one of National Geographic’s 2014 Emerging Explorers and one of CNN International’s Leading Women of 2014. Shabana is also a global ambassador for Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education.


Ester de Jong

Presidential Keynote

Ester de Jong
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
8:00–9:00 am


TESOL as Nexus: Strategies for the Future



Our profession increasingly expects us to sustain interconnectedness and encourage dialogue among widely diverse constituents. Being part of these conversations can challenge long-held beliefs and accepted practice. Why should we embrace this challenge? How can we engage with each other as ELT professionals to address the needs of the future?

Ester de Jong is a professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida. She teaches courses in bilingual and bicultural education and in curriculum, methods, and assessment for English speakers of other languages. Her research interests include two-way bilingual education and other integrated models for language minority schooling, educational language policy, and teacher preparation for bilingual students.

Zoltan Dornyei

James E. Alatis Plenary

Zoltán Dörnyei
Thursday, 29 March 2018
8:00 am–9:00 am


Engaging Language Learners in the 21st Century



ELLs face an unprecedented variety of distractions in today’s globalised, digital age. Finding ways of generating student motivation and engagement has become a principal challenge for classroom practitioners. Dörnyei outlines a comprehensive framework of strategies to engage learners with aspects of the learning environment, language learning tasks, and target language.

Zoltán Dörnyei is professor of psycholinguistics at the School of English, University of Nottingham. He has published extensively on various aspects of language learner characteristics and second language acquisition, and he is the author of more than 20 books, including "Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom" (2001), "Research Methods in Applied Linguistics" (2007),"Motivating Learners, Motivating Teachers: Building Vision in the Language Classroom" (2014, with M. Kubanyiova), "The Psychology of The Language Learner Revisited" (2015, with S. Ryan) and" Motivational Currents in Language Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions" (2016, with A. Henry and C. Muir).

Mary Helen Immordino-YangFriday Keynote

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
8:00 am–9:00 am


Embodied Brains, Social Minds, Cultural Meaning: Why Emotions Are Fundamental to Learning




Immordino-Yang presents her research on the neuropsychology of social-emotional feelings, including their deep visceral roots in the feeling and regulation of the body and consciousness, their propensity to heighten one’s own subjective sense of self-awareness and purpose, and their connections to memory and cultural learning. 

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is a social-affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies social emotion and self-awareness across cultures, connections to resilience and morality, and implications for education. She is associate professor of education, psychology, and neuroscience at the University of Southern California. A former public junior high school science teacher,  she has been named among the most influential scholars in education by Education Week’s RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings. She has received numerous national awards for her research and for engaging the public with science, and in 2015 she was elected president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society.

Note: All keynotes are held in the Arie Crown Theater.