Dr. Nicholas Burnett

Download a full copy of Dr. Burnett’s presentation here,

Watch Dr. Burnett’s presentation here.

Nicholas Burnett is the Managing Director of and leads the global education portfolio at Results for Development Institute (R4D), focusing on early childhood development, out of school children, innovation in education, financing and innovative financing, secondary education and skills for employment, and education program evaluation.

Nicholas Burnett’s Keynote address: ‘Is our ECD community ready to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing education landscape?’

At one level, ECD has never got so much global attention – from the Education Commission (with which the speaker worked), from the Global Education Monitoring report (that he once directed), from the new Action Network, from The Lancet series, and from more and more countries investing in ECD.  And rightly – the science is strong, the economics are overwhelming.  At another level, however, ECD, like education as a whole, faces increasing external challenges – learning is ever more important, inequality is worsening, unemployment (especially among youth) is chronic, migration is on everyone’s mind (at least in Europe), and so on.  And, within education, it faces also strong competition for funding from other priority areas, especially secondary and vocational education and skills.  How should the ECD community react to these challenges?  What should be its priorities? Can it compete successfully for finance?

Dr. Rimantas Zelvys and Austeja Landsbergiene

Download a full copy of the presentation here.

Together, Dr. Rimantas Zelvys and Austeja Landsbergjene delivered the Keynote address: ‘Reflections on some key challenges in the early childhood education and care system in Lithuania’


Austeja Landsbergiene

Rimantas Zelvys is Professor of Education at the University of Vilnius, Lithuania. A former Director of Lithuanian In-Service Teachers Training Institute and Vice-Rector of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.

Austeja Landsbergiene is CEO and founder of a chain of private pre-schools “Vaikystės sodas” in Lithuania, and was previously a Lecturer in Educational Management, and Early Childhood.

2016 saw important developments of national policy in early childhood education as assessment of children in  2nd grade was introduced for the first time. It is a standardized diagnostic assessment which means that formal evaluation of academic achievements is regaining positions lost about two decades ago. It took great efforts to convince both teachers and parents that there is no need to give traditional marks to children in the primary grades. Nowadays primary schools are being ranked and academic achievements are perceived as one of the key criteria in ranking the schools. How are we going to meet this challenge? On one hand, parents have the right to know how well is the educational institution functioning and how successfully their children are performing. On the other hand, this means leaving social skills and creativity, largely developed through play, as less relevant attributes of learning.

Special Panel Discussion

Early childhood development: the foundation of sustainable development

Download a full copy of the presentation here.

Moderator: Joan Lombardi Ph.D.

s1Joan Lombardi is an international expert on child development and social policy.  She currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Bernard van Leer Foundation on global child development strategies and to the Buffett Early Childhood Fund on national initiatives. She also directs Early Opportunities LLC, focusing on innovation, policy and philanthropy. In 2016, she is serving as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Senior Advisor to the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Over the past 40 years, Dr. Lombardi has made significant contributions in the areas of child and family policy as an innovative leader and policy advisor to national and international organizations and foundations and as a public servant.  She served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development (2009-2011) in the Obama Administration, and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and External Affairs in Administration for Children and Families and the first Commissioner of the Child Care Bureau among other positions (1993-1998) during the Clinton Administration. Outside of public service, she served as the founding chair of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance (now the Alliance for Early Success) and as the founder of Global Leaders for Young Children.

Joan is the author of numerous publications and also serves as the President of the Board of 1000 Days, as a member of the Board of Trustees of Save the Children and as a member of Investing in Young Children Globally, a project of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

Panelist: Bernadette Daelmans

s2Bernadette Dealmans is a medical officer and team coordinator in the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.   She obtained her medical degree at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1984 and holds a Master’s Degree in Health Systems Management from the University of London.  Bernadette started her career in international public health in 1987 in Botswana where she worked in a district hospital. Since she joined WHO in 1992, she has been engaged with a range of issues related to child health including infant and young child feeding, integrated management of childhood illness, newborn health and early child development.  Bernadette is a member of the Early Child Development Series Steering Committee and an author of paper 3 Investing in the Foundation of Sustainable Development: Pathways to Scale for Early Child Development. 


Svetlana Mladenovic Jankovic

s3Svetlana Mladenovic Jankovic is a MD, specialist in public health and Deputy Director of the Institute of Public Health of Belgrade. She holds a Master’s degree in Health Systems Management from the University of Belgrade. During her career, she has been involved in several national and international projects related to child health and development. Svetlana has been engaged in strengthening home visiting services in CEE region. She is a member of the UNICEF CEE/CIS Technical Advisory Group on Home Visiting for Young Child Wellbeing.

Prof. Dr. Ilgi Ertem

s4Prof. Dr. Ilgi Ertem is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, at Ankara University Department of Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Division, visiting professor at Yale University Department of Pediatrics and founding president of the International Developmental Pediatrics Association (IDPA). Dr. Ertem is a fellow of Zero to Three, Edward Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy, and the Fogarty Global Women Health Scholars. Dr. Ertem’s longstanding international work has consultation for the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Her research has focused on development of instruments including the the International Guide for Monitoring Child Development (GMCD), and training programs for primary health care providers and pediatricians in the promotion of child development and the early recognition and management of developmental difficulties in young children. Dr. Ertem is author of numerous international manuscripts and chapters on child development as well as the WHO publication titled “Developmental Difficulties in Early Childhood. Prevention, early identification, assessment and intervention in low- and middle-income countries: A Review.”

Prof. Edward Melhuish

s5Prof. Edward Melhuish is Professor of Human Development at the University of Oxford, and at Birkbeck, University of London. His studies contributed to social policy in the UK in the area of families with young children and early years services, including the 1989 Children Act, the 2005 Children Act, 2006 Childcare Bill and policy on childcare, early education, child poverty and parental support in the UK and other countries. He has undertaken research in 12 countries. He has been an expert witness to House of Commons Select Committees, and a scientific advisor for the European Commission, OECD and WHO. In 2016 he was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to social science.

Prof. Lizbeth Goodman


Lizbeth Goodman is Professor of Inclusive Design and Chair of Creative Technology Innovation in the College of Engineering and Architecture at University College Dublin where she directs SMARTlab and the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland at UCD. She is also an Executive Board Member of the Innovation Academy.

Lizbeth Goodman’s presentation: ‘Generation Touch: Hippocratic Innovation, Empathetic Education and Creative Technology Innovation for Real Social Change”, outlines the basic principles and philosophy of this new ethos based on the core idea of Hippocratic Oath – first do no harm as applied to the field of Education from Early Years through to lifetime ‘relearning’.

She exemplified her work through case studies of projects using new technologies which are gaining traction across “the six lanes of the superhighway”. Prof. Goodman describes the lanes of the superhighway as follows:

  • Creative Pedagogy and Empathetic Education & Gender Inclusion & G-STEAM,
  • Assistive Technologies and Inclusive Design for Diversity,
  • Connected Health & Visualisation,
  • 21st Century Statecraft & Knowledgecraft: Leaders who do not demand followers (what she calls Kinaesthetics and Sensory Design for Generation Touch),
  • Climate & Cultural Change
  • Towards a Plan C for the next next generation.

Most importantly, this presentation will argue that in the current era, when children in most developed parts of the world have been born into an assumption that every object should ‘perform’ like a screen and respond to touch instantly, the project of early years education has to change to meet this assumption and to challenge it strategically;  with humor as well as a forward-looking understanding of the importance of touch and of empathy in education