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Here we will introduce the names and topics of the presenters and invited lecturers.

Prof. Heikki Lyytinen, UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Literacy Learning for All (2015-2022) 

Prof. Heikki Lyytinen, the Emeritus Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the Dept. of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, and UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Literacy Learning for All, will be the opening plenary presenter at the 4th Baltic Sea Conference on Literacy.

As UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Literacy Learning for All (2015-19 and 2019-2021) he is focusing on GraphoLearn research to show that the digital learning environment distributed by GraphoGame succeeds in helping children globally to become literate, that is to overcome biological/genetic bottlenecks and compromised opportunities to receive sufficient instruction.

His previous work includes the following large-scale research projects:

-Learning Disorders as a Barrier to Human Development (EU-COST A8) 1994-1998 (the founder and chair through the entirety of the action)

-Jyväskylä Longitudinal study of Dyslexia (JLD), leader and PI

-Center of Excellence “Human Development and Its Risk Factors” (Vice director) funded by the Academy of Finland 1997- (JLD as a central project of the CoE)

-Centre of Excellence (CoE) “Learning and Motivation” (Vice-leader of the Center) funded by the Academy of Finland 2006-2011 (JLD as a central project of the CoE)

-LukiMat 2007- leader of the Ministry of Education funded operation for building for Finnish children a digital support service of the acquisition of basic scholastic skills

-RESUZ –Reading Support for Zambian children (PI, Academy of Finland (2010-12)

-Predicting and supporting reading acquisition via computer games for children at risk for dyslexia (PI, Chile-Finland collaborative project, Academy of Finland) 2010-2012

-Comenius FLUENT – A Science-based tool for training fluency in literacy for teachers and learners (PI, funded by EU 2011-2013)

-CAPOLSA – the Finnish founding representative of the Centre for the Promotion of the Literacy in the Sub-Saharan Africa (in the University of Zambia; 2011-)

-GRAPHOWORLD – founder & chair of the GraphoWorld Network of Excellence supporting the development of the GraphoGame (GG) with representatives eg. from e.g. Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Yale, Zurich universities (2011-), see

-GLIDE PI, Tekes 2012-15 for building of “entity” for the preparation of global distribution of the GG

-SAVI, collaborative research with US-experts for building support of reading comprehension, Academy of Finland & National Science Foundation (US) (2013-15)

Anu Raud, Professor Emeritus

Anu Raud is one of Estonia’s leading textile artists.

Since graduating from the Estonian Art Academy (Estonian State Art Institute at the time) Raud has been involved in researching and collecting Estonian folk art. Anu Raud worked as a professor at Estonian Art Academy for 20 years (1972-1995) and from 1994-2001 Raud was a professor of Viljandi Culture Academy. She is a member of Estonian Academy of Science since 2016.

Anu Raud has designed several works to decorate public buildings and held numerous personal exhibitions in Estonia and abroad. Anu Raud’s “Emapuu” (Mother Tree; 1995) is located at UN’s headquarters in New York. She uses folk art as a springboard to tell stories about simple things that create continuity and serve particular pedagogical functions or embody the nationhood and basic values to be eternal. By emphasising roots and ancestry, heritage naturalises the conditions of belonging and diverts attention away from inequalities among ‘heirs’, and away from contemporary issues of unity and diversity waiting to be addressed in Estonia and elsewhere.

While Anu Raud summons her audience as the inheritors of ancestral wisdom, she also lives what she preaches. She left Tallinn nearly two decades ago to settle on her grandparents’ farmstead in southern Estonia and has since developed it into a centre for studying and experiencing folk art. In the early 1990s, a period of harsh economic uncertainties, Raud used the money she had made from selling her works in Sweden to buy an adjacent old school building and turned it into a museum that houses her vast collection of Estonian traditional folk art, which she started while still a student. In 2009, when the Estonian National Museum celebrated its 100th anniversary, she donated the museum building and its contents to the Estonian state.

She has said:

I come from a family of writers, where verbal communication, words and sentences, are in the centre of attention. My favourites are words of gratitude and magic, both of which are in short supply in our modern times.

There are three types of knowledge in this world: emotional intelligence, wisdom gained from experiences and book learning. For me the first two are more important. Not so much the book learning, rather the creativity, life experience and know-how of making/ doing something, and seeing the bigger picture.

Anud Raud has received several awards and honors including state 3rd Class Order of the White Star for preserving national art traditions in 1998 and Estonian National Lifetime Achievement Award of Culture 2018.

Greg Brooks, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Sheffield, UK

Greg Brooks is Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Sheffield, UK. In an educational research career starting in 1977 he has researched and published widely on the initial teaching of literacy (including phonics), what works for those with literacy difficulties, family literacy, adult literacy, and trends in literacy attainment over time. All his life he has been fascinated by language and languages, and their influences on each other.

Greg Brooks is a member of Reading Hall of Fame

Dr.  Shlomo  Alon, Member of the National Academy for Arabic in Nazareth,  Israel

2009 – until now, Member of the National Academy for Arabic in Nazareth,  Israel; An Executive Committee  Member 

2018 – Senior Lecturer, Department of Arabic, Achva College.

1986-2011 Head of Arabic & M.E. Studies, Israel Ministry of Education

1978–2011  Senior Lecturer, Hebrew University, School of Education (Teachers Certificate for Teaching Arabic in Secondary Schools)

 1976-1985, Teacher of Arabic, Department of Arabic Language, University of Tel Aviv

Academic Education: PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dissertation: The sources of the dictionary  ‘Lisan al-Arab’ by Ibn Manzur (M.A. research: The Linguistic Concepts of al-Farabi).

Irene Käosaar, Director, of the Estonian Integration Foundation

Irene Käosaar has been the Director of the Estonian Integration Foundation since 2017. Before this post, she worked at the Ministry of Education and Research as the head of the General Education Department and the Minorities Education Department. She is also a member of Estonian Integration Strategy Steering group and a member of Estonian Language Strategy Steering group.

In addition, she is a laureate of the President of the Republic`s Educational Award (2004) and a chevalier of the Order of the White Star (2013).

Dr. William G. Brozo, Professor of Literacy in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and his master’s and doctorate from the University of South Carolina.  He has taught reading and language arts in the Carolinas. He is the author of numerous articles on literacy development for children and young adults. In 2019, Cambridge University Press will publish his 13th book, Engaging Boys in Active Literacy.  

Dr. Brozo is also a contributing author to Pearson Common Core Literature, and Pearson iLit, a digital platform program for struggling adolescent readers.  For many years, he served on the editorial review board of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and the Reading Research Quarterly. He is also a past member of IRA’s Commission on Adolescent Literacy, the Adolescent Literacy Committee, and past chair of the PISA/PIRLS Task Force.  He was a co-investigator on a Carnegie Grant team that compiled an important report on best practice in adolescent literacy. 

As an international consultant, Dr. Brozo has provided technical support to teachers and teacher leaders from the Balkans to the Gulf.  He was among the consultants for the Secondary Education Activity Project funded by USAID providing training and assistance to secondary vocational teachers in Macedonia. He has been a member of a European Union funded grant team (BaCuLit) that developed literacy curriculum and provided professional development for teachers across Europe.  He was as an expert evaluator of ELINET, a pan-European literacy policy network, currently as a board member. 

Dr. Brozo was also a member of the working groups of the Learning Metrics Task Force sponsored by UNESCO/Brookings and an advisor to the PISA 2018 Assessment Framework expert team for Pearson International. 

Dr Ieva Margeviča-Grinberga, the associated professor and leading researcher at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, University of Latvia.

She is the author of international publications about higher education and educational programs for decreasing social exclusion. Ieva Margeviča-Grinberga has been a visiting professor at numerous universities in Georgia, Mexico, Chile, Lithuania, Spain and Brazil. She leeds research projects and is one of the founders of RIAICES (A Red Iberoamericana de Investigación sobre la Calidad de la Educación Superior). She collaborates with partners from Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico on research related to teacher training, social inclusion, reading skills, intercultural communication and higher education. Her current interests are related to competency-based higher education.

Besides academic work she together with her husband runs an organic black currant farm. Farm’s mission is to provide representatives of local community, students and researchers with opportunities for experiential learning, group collaboration and research.

Prof. Gunilla Holm

Gunilla Holm worked as professor in sociology of education at Western Michigan University 1989-2006. Her research during those years focused mostly on gender, class, and race issues in teacher education and high school. She also researched and published on those issues in relation to how schooling was treated in popular culture. Since 1989, she has used and developed participatory photography as a research method as well as published extensively on this topic.

Holm became the Swedish professor of education (educational studies) at the bilingual University of Helsinki in 2006. In 2011, she started an early childhood teacher education program and in 2016, she started primary and secondary teacher education programs in Swedish at the University of Helsinki.

In 2013, Holm became the director of the Nordic Centre of Excellence in Education called Justice through Education (JustEd,, a center consisting of 14 institutions and 140 researchers from eight different countries. Holm’s own research within the center focused on the way school structures and processes contribute to the marginalization of students.

Holm has served on a variety of university committees and boards such as the European Educational Research Association board. She has also received the University of Helsinki award for advancing  equality and the Nyström award for scientific achievement from the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. She was awarded the University of Buffalo Graduate School of Education Alumni Award in 2019.

David Mallows, Principal Teaching Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education in London 

He has over 30 years of experience in adult education as a teacher, teacher trainer, manager and researcher. He was previously Director of Research at the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) and currently represents the European Basic Skills Network in EPALE as thematic coordinator for Life Skills.

Dr Kęstutis Kaminskas, the teacher at the Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University and Head of Division to the Committee on Education and Science at the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania.

He has been External evaluator of the project Mobility Framework and Standard Development for Teacher Trainees (MOST), Contributor to the National monography on education (Eurydice), National summary sheets on education systems in Europe and ongoing reforms. (Lithuania); Reporter on the International Colloquium “Mother tongue education and curriculum in a Multi-Cultural World: Case Studies and Networking for Change”; Contributor to the Working document SCHOOL AUTONOMY. Policies and measures prepared for the Conference ‘Schools facing up to new challenges’ (Eurydice); Reporter of the Investigation into the needs of Eurydice target groups; Contributor to the National Dossier on Teaching Staff (Eurydice); Contributor to the Key Data on Education in Europe 2008 (Eurydice) etc.

Besides civil service and teaching in Vilnius University, he is a member of Board of the Lithuania Language Association.

Jesper Sehested 

He has been dyslexic for 34 years. It has cost many difficulties in learning how to read and spell. In primary school, Jesper found a way to avoid some of the challenges. Trouble making and playing the class clown. It was his way of moving focus away from the dyslexia and ensuring that classmates did not discover it. In the 9th grade, when writing, there was no smiling Jesper. In his dictation he got 71 out of 92 possible errors. Failed!
Today, Jesper knows that his dyslexia does not limit him when he is passionate about something and speaks openly about being dyslexic.
After some errors in finding his strengths, Jesper has a Master of Science in Finance and Strategic Management from Copenhagen Business School.
For the last five years, Jesper has worked full-time in his own business helping young dyslexics create new stories about their dyslexia both online and offline. In Danish he has created and has started to build up a similar site in a global context

Maria Jürimäe, a senior expert at the Centre of Educational Innovation, Institute of Education, University of Tartu, and the member of the board of Estonian Reading Association.

Her research and books are about learning to read, and phonemic awareness, the use of digital devices (digital pen) in early literacy development. Maria has lead the team in MEIS project to develop the curriculum for the kindergarten with Russian instructional language, participated in ISSA project “Effective teaching for minority-language children in pre-school” as the developer of materials, trainer and observer, and in the project Avatud Algus (Open Start) as the moderator of learning networks, and one of the authors of the book, and videos to create a supportive early learning environment for the children with diverse language and cultural background.

Maie Kitsing

She has worked at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research since 2001 in various positions – Head of Supervision/Supervisory Division, Head of General Education Department, and since 2006 as an adviser of external evaluation. Her responsibilities include coordination of the PISA Study in the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, topics related with the evaluation of educational institutions.

In earlier years, Maie has worked for 15 years at school (as a teacher, head master) and seven years as a school inspector. In the last decade Maie has been engaged in scientific research. Her research area is the interconnection between learning outcomes and microclimate of schools.

Maie’s spare time is spent on gardening and hiking.

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