Keynote Speakers



Peter Dalglish as a 28-year old Stanford-educated lawyer chose another path: he traded in a promising legal career to work alongside some of the world's poorest children.

As a member of the World Food Programme emergency team assigned to an isolated region of Darfur along the Sudan’s border with Chad, Peter in 1985 organized humanitarian relief efforts for women and children displaced by a drought and famine of biblical proportions. The following year after apprehending a boy in Khartoum attempting to break into his Toyota Land Cruiser, Peter launched the Sudan's first vocational training school for street children, funded by Bob Geldof of Band Aid. Pickpockets, petty thieves and housebreakers from across the city were transformed into carpenters, welders and electricians; the graduates were hired by local businesses.

While serving as Emergency Coordinator for UNICEF in the Sudan Peter opened a bicycle courier service run entirely by street children. The boys delivered mail and newspapers to offices in Khartoum that they once had broken into; along the way they learned the importance of discipline and hard work.

Inspired by the tenacity and ingenuity of young people whom society had written off, Peter returned to Canada to found Street Kids International. Armed with $200, a borrowed office and an American Express card he launched an agency that over the ensuing years acquired a reputation for innovative programming. Partners included the National Film Board of Canada and the Danish Red Cross.

After recruiting a dynamic young teacher from the UK named Emma McCune, Peter in 1989 working out of a small office near Wilson Airport in Nairobi began an ambitious primary schooling programme for more than 15,000 Dinka and Nuer children displaced by the ferocious civil war in the remote Eastern Equatoria region of South Sudan. Classes were held under trees, with teachers who had been trained by the local missions providing instruction.

In 2002 Peter was appointed as the UN's senior advisor in Nepal on child labour. From 2010 through January 2015 he was based in Kabul where he led one of the largest UN agencies in Afghanistan, directing operations across 20 provinces in challenging circumstances.

After the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa Peter joined the UN’s first-ever medical mission, advising on the response to Ebola in the largest slums of Liberia. He currently is assisting as a volunteer with earthquake recovery in Nepal, focusing on those same communities that he came to know over the years as a trekker and mountain biker.

Topic: Education in the Front Lines
Title: Heroes for Our Time

Description: Peter attributes his professional achievements to his front-line field experience in his 20's and 30's working with NGO's, living rough and earning very little money. He believes that international schools can play a key role in “preparing young people not merely for lives defined by materialism and consumerism, but rather so they are equipped and determined to address some of the biggest challenges of our age”. Peter often quotes Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound and the United World Colleges, who cautioned his own students about “the paralyzing effects of wealth and affluence on young people.”

In his keynote address Peter will challenge members of the EARCOS community to recommit themselves to harnessing education as a force for good. In the words of the great Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Freire he reminds us that "The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves."



Dr. Simon Breakspear is known internationally for helping educational leaders navigate disruptive change, develop innovation capabilities and drive continuous improvement for better learning. Simon is a Research Fellow of the Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change at The Education University of Hong Kong and the Founder of Agile Schools. He has advised and spoken to school and system leaders in over 10 countries. Simon holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Teaching, a Masters of International and Comparative Education from the University of Oxford and a PhD in education from the University of Cambridge. Simon began his work in education as a high school teacher in Sydney.

Topic: Agile Leadership
Title: Agile Leadership

Description: Changing times call for great leaders who can create progress despite complexity, ambiguity and resistance. Around the world, schools are under pressure to deliver on new and broader outcomes; utilise evidence-based practices; and create innovative new learning designs. Agile leadership provides a dynamic approach to leading change that will enable you to adapt quickly, continuously learn and iterate towards an effective solution. You will learn: How to adopt an agile mindset to thrive despite uncertainty and complexity; Creating a bias towards action and using prototyping to accelerate learning; Building effective teams that can take intelligent risks and innovate; and Harnessing evidence to guide continuous improvement.

Leadership Stories

THOMAS FARRELL, Former Superintendent Kaohsiung American School
Title:“What I Learned from 50Years as an Educator“

DICK B. ROBBINS, Brent International School Manila
Title:“Those Dark Brown Eyes“

CHIP BARDER, United Nations International School of Hanoi
Title:“International School Leadership - Failures to Successes - It’s in the Lyrics“