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Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice in International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of The International Education Policy Program at Harvard University. He is interested in advancing understanding of the ways schools can empower students to participate civically and economically, and to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He is also interested in supporting the creation of coalitions that support collective leadership to enhance the relevancy of educational institutions and to strengthen the teaching profession.
He teaches courses on education policy and educational innovation that explore how to support students in developing the competencies that help them improve themselves and their communities. He also chairs a number of education leadership development institutes focused on advancing adaptive leadership on behalf of supporting global citizenship education. He is the founding director of the International Education Policy Masters Program, a program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that supports the development of leaders of systemic efforts to enhance the quality and relevancy of education around the world.
His current research focuses on educational innovation and the impact of education policy, leadership, and teacher professional development on education that supports the holistic development of children and youth. He directs the Global Education Innovation Initiative, a cross-country study of education for the 21st century. The most recent publication of the Global Education Innovation Initiative is the book Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century. Previous research has focused on the study of programs to improve the opportunities of students from marginalized backgrounds, as reflected in the books Unequal Schools, Unequal Chances and Hope or Despair, among others. He has done extensive work in the field of Global Education and led the development of a K-12 interdisciplinary curriculum aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and with Human Rights, published in the book Empowering Global Citizens. He has also developed frameworks to create school wide strategies of global education, and to develop global citizenship education curriculum, published in the book Empowering Students to Improve the World in 60 Lessons. Convinced that educational opportunity advances more when groups and institutions find common ground and learn to collaborate and to learn together in tackling complex education challenges, he has worked extensively in the development of approaches and tools to foster education dialogue and organizational learning as a way to leverage the synergies between educational practice, research and policy. These approaches are discussed in the book Informed Dialogue, and have been used extensively, including to support education dialogue in the context of the transition to [eace in El Salvador, to advance education dialogue in Mexico, discussed in the book Aprender Mas y Mejor, to advance social dialogue on teacher education and support in Massachusetts, and to advance global dialogue on how to scale education reforms that support 21st century skills. Recent examples of processes of social dialogue based on this approach are reflected in the recent books Fifteen Letters on Education in Singapore and Empowering All Students at Scale.
As part of his commitment to advancing educational opportunity, he serves on the boards of several education organizations, including the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, where he chairs the Strategic Planning Committee, which works with all public universities in the State in the advancement of common Statewide goals. He serves also on the boards of Teach for All, the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities, Inversant, Global Scholars Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and WorldTeach. He advises leaders of governments, foundations, educational organizations and international development agencies. He serves on the US Commission for UNESCO and on the Steering Group of Education in Conflict and Crisis of the United States Agency for International Development. Working with a Task Force of Ministers of Education of several countries in the Americas, he recently supported the development of an education strategy to advance the Interamerican Education Agenda agreed at the last summit of Presidents of the Americas convened by the Organization of American States. He is currently chairing a global task force to strengthen the teaching profession.
He serves on multiple advisory boards and committees at Harvard, particularly focused in advancing the global mission of the University and in strengthening collaborations with educational institutions. He has served on the Harvard faculty since 1998. Previous to that he worked at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, the Harvard Institute for International Development and the World Bank. He earned Doctoral and master's degrees in education at Harvard University and obtained a Licenciatura en Psicologia at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He received an Honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Emerson College. He was the CJ Koh Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. He is a member of the International Academy of Education and of the Council of Foreign Relations.