MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr Christine Chen joined ARNEC as a member of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Dr. Chen is the Founder President of the Association for Child Care Educators (ACCE) and Founder and current President of the Association for Early Childhood Educators (AECES). Dr. Chen received her BA in Social Work from the University of Singapore, continued with her Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, New York City and the Doctor of Education from the George Washington University. Her first work experience in Singapore was in the company sponsored child care centre for factory workers’ children, she learnt about the importance of having qualified teachers to ensure quality education for ALL children. As a resulted she initiated the Association to advocate for teacher development, continuous learning and career pathways. She has been advocating for professional development and learning for early childhood educators for 25 years.
Internationally, she is the President (2015-1017), Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and Deputy Chairwoman (2014-2019) of the Asia-Pacific Preschool Education Association. She represents Singapore in the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) and serves on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Early Childhood Education and the International Journal of Early Childhood Education and Care. She is also a Member of the Advisory Board of IndoCare – Indonesia Centre for Autism Resource and Expertise and has done voluntary work in Vietnam with the National College of Education, Hanoi through the Singapore International Foundation. In her advocacy work in Singapore, Dr. Chen served as a Member of the Child Care Personnel Accreditation Committee with the then Ministry of Community Development to look into accreditation matters as well as professional development for the child care profession. She sits on the Early Childhood Care and Education Manpower, Skills and Training Council. And she served as a Member of the Policy Study Workgroup on Education and Human Capital Excellence (2007-2009).
For all her voluntary and community services, she was awarded the Public Service Award, the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (PBM – 1994) and Volunteer of the Year Award, 2010 from the President of Singapore.
MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cliff Meyers joined ARNEC as a Members of the Board of Directors in June 2017. He is considered the ‘Founding Father’ of ARNEC, instrumental in establishing the ARNEC network in 2007 in his role as Regional Education Advisor for UNICEF EAPRO. He also played a significant role in negotiating the transition of the ARNEC Secretariat from the EAPRO Office in Bangkok to its first location in Singapore. He has over 20 years of experience as Education Chief and Technical Advisor with UNICEF in Nepal, Thailand, Lao PDR and most recently in Myanmar where he oversaw a team of 20 education staff implementing early childhood development, primary, non-formal and middle school education programmes. He co-led the Education sector and coordinated with Development Partners, civil society and Government of Myanmar.
MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHAIR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr Sheldon Shaeffer joined ARNEC as a Member of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Dr Shaeffer was Director of UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok for over seven years, retiring at the end of 2008. A citizen of Canada, he was educated in history (B.A.), anthropology (M.A.), and comparative international education (Ph.D.) at Stanford University. He has taught, done research, and worked in development programmes in Southeast Asia for over 25 years – as a high school teacher in Malaysia, as an anthropologist and an education programme officer for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, and as the regional education advisor for UNICEF in Bangkok. He was also for 10 years the Director of Education and Population Programmes for the International Development Research Centre in Canada and later was a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Educational Planning (UNESCO) in Paris. Before moving back to Bangkok with UNESCO, he was head of UNICEF’s global education programme in New York for three years. His current interests, reflected in numerous consultancies for a range of development agencies, include early childhood development, language policy in education and the use of mother tongue, teacher management and development, inclusive education (both in regard to disabilities and more broadly defined), child-friendly education, school-based management, and HIV and AIDS and education.
EDUCATION ADVISOR AT CHILDFUND AUSTRALIA. (CORE TEAM REPRESENTATIVE)
Jessica Hampton is the Education Advisor at ChildFund Australia. Based in Sydney, she oversees a broad range of education programs in the Asia Pacific Region including Vietnam, Laos, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. Jessica has over 10 years’ experience in international education development with a focus on early primary education and early years literacy and language interventions. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Primary Education University of Wollongong), a Masters of International Education (University of Sydney) and is a certified trainer for the Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND LEARNING ADVISOR
Joel Lasam has more than two decades of experience in development policy, governance and development, policy research and analysis, and program management.
He joined the central planning ministry of the Philippines as a development specialist for governance, where he was exposed to legislative and executive partnerships for public policy. He also moved to other sectors, particularly basic education and energy, assisting ministers in policy research and communications. After 14 years in government, he assumed the post of Governance Adviser managing public sector reform programs with assistance from the Australian Aid and has continued development work through advisory services to various ministries in the Philippines with the support of donor agencies in the fields of national and local governance, organisation development and capacity development, and program management.
Apart from development work, Joel has joined the academe teaching research and development theories to undergraduate students in the Philippines after obtaining his graduate degree in public policy and administration from the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1998.
Joel joined ARNEC as a Knowledge Management and Learning Advisor in 2019 with firm support for the primacy of ECD investments in support of inclusive, equitable, and sustainable futures for the region.
Andrea See is the Programme Officer of ARNEC, providing technical support in planning, project design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of ARNEC projects/initiatives.
Graduated from Wheelock College in Singapore with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership, Andrea has previously worked as a classroom teacher before taking up the role as a project officer in a research and training organisation. She has assisted in research and involved in projects and initiatives that support Early Childhood Teachers Professional Development and was a member of the working committee to develop teaching resources sponsored by Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.
She has a keen interest in working with children from disadvantaged background; participated in overseas community service trips and continued the efforts in helping children from the orphanage. She believes in the empowerment of children: making their voices heard, and building strong families and community are essential to giving children a good start in life.
EDUCATION ADVISOR, VVOB, VIETNAM
With a background in Social and Educational Sciences, Filip Lenaerts has been working in Vietnam for a bilateral project on quality basic education in the Northern mountainous provinces and for UNESCO as education specialist since 2006. In 2013, Filip joined VVOB in Vietnam as education advisor, where he specialized in early childhood education and care, focusing on the dimensions of quality and equity in children’s early life. Filip has taken up various voluntary roles in networks, including as coordinator and as secretary of national partnership groups such as the education sector group in Vietnam, the One UN programme coordination group for education, the national early childhood development round-table. Through his work with BTC, UNESCO and VVOB, Filip has established a rich network of experts within Vietnam, Belgium and in the Asia-Pacific region. Filip has developed operational partnerships with various departments within the Ministry of Education and Training and long-term structural partnerships with national research institutes, INGO’s, CSOs.
IMMEDIATE PAST WORLD PRESIDENT OF WORLD ORGANIZATION FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (OMEP), HONG KONG
Dr. Maggie Koong is Immediate Past World President of World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) and holds leadership position at Victoria Educational Organisation (VEO) in Hong Kong and mainland China. She received her Master of Education from The University of Hong Kong and Doctor of Education from Durham University. Dr. Koong has been directly appointed by Hong Kong and Chinese Governments to serve on numerous key government committees and university councils, including the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – Shanghai Committee, Committee on Free Kindergarten Education, Equal Opportunities Commission, Family Council and Council of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is the Project-in-Charge of OMEP-UNESCO Play and Resilience World Project, the International Focal Point of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA), and an Advisor for UNESCO’s Survey of Teachers in Pre-primary Education (STEPP) Project.
HONORARY PROFESSOR AT MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY/ PROFESSOR OF EARLY CHILDHOOD, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND, AUSTRALIA
Margaret Sims is an Honorary Professor at the Macquarie University. She worked for many years in early intervention and family support in New Zealand before moving into the university sector. Her research interests focus around quality community-based services for young children and their families. Her infant and toddler text (a second edition of which was published in 2011) is used widely as a text in early childhood degree programmes as is her social inclusion text (also published in 2011). Her most recent work focuses on the professionalisation of early childhood as it is experienced in a number of countries around the world. She has also undertaken research with grandparents who have limited or no contact with their grandchildren and this research is presented in a performance (see www.une.edu.au/grandparents),
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND QUALITY, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, CHINA (CORE TEAM REPRESENTATIVE)
Honglian has over 10 years of program and influence work experiences on education and early childhood development with Plan international in China. She worked on poverty alleviation for a bilateral project, gender equality for a local NGO, and education for Save the Children before joined Plan International. She holds a bachelor of education and masters of economics and sustainable international development.
TECHNICAL ADVISOR, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, INDIA (CORE TEAM REPRESENTATIVE)
Shikha Jain is working as the Technical Advisor in Plan India since 2013. She is based in New Delhi and supports the design and implementation of various early childhood development and education programs in the various states in India. She has over twelve years of experience in early childhood development and school education. Based in the National office, she oversees a broad range of education programs. Shikha has previously worked with the Technical Support Group (TSG) to assist the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and Room to Read India Trust. She has an M.Phil. (Sociology of education). She also co-authored a book on foundational concepts of social science pedagogy for pre service teacher education for Oxford University Press,India.
ADVISOR, EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT, ASIA, SAVE THE CHILDREN (CORE TEAM REPRESENTATIVE)
Sara Dang is Save the Children’s Advisor for ECCD in Asia. In this role, she provides technical support to ensure the delivery of quality ECCD programs in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam. She has also been involved in developing ECCD programs in the Pacific. Her expertise lies in designing and implementing integrated preschool programs, creating strong parenting programs, and improving country capacity in ECCD programming. Before joining Save the Children, Sara identified opportunities for UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia to initiate and strengthen the integration of early stimulation within nutrition, health, preschool and other programs for young children in Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Sara has worked for various UN agencies and NGOs in Africa and Asia, across multiple sectors, including nutrition, health, HIV/AIDS, education and child protection, always with a focus on young children. She speaks English, French, Thai and Nepali, and currently lives in Kathmandu. She has a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Mind, Brain and Education from Harvard University.
ZONAL PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN’S PROGRAM, CHILDFUND, INDIA
Sivaprasad Behera currently serves as Zonal program coordinator for infants and young children’s program at ChildFund India. With passion for giving children the best start to life, his focus is on holistic interventions combining components of physical and psychological health, stimulation and education, family livelihoods, as well as child protection systems. He has played a pivotal role in establishing model vibrant Early Childhood Education Centres, community based-childcare centres, neighbourhood engagement, play-based curriculum, caregiver and teacher’s training, as well as institutionalizing quality standards in the policy framework. He has also developed home based community out
REPRESENTATIVE FOR PACIFIC ISLANDS AND PACIFIC REGIONAL COUNCIL (PRC4ECD)
REPRESENTATIVE OF ARNEC NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
My full name is Widodo Suhartoyo, currently I am joining Tanoto Foundation as Senior Grant Manager for ECED. Prior to this position, I was with UNICEF Indonesia for more than 27 years in various positions (Programme Support officer, Advocacy and Social Mobilization officer, Communication officer, Child Protection officer, Basic Services officer, Chief Field office, Education, Youth and Adolescent specialist and ECD specialist). Before joining UNICEF, I was a civil servant at Bandung School Of Social Welfare as lecturer. I have experiences also working with NGO and UNHCR funded project in Galang Refugees camp. I am also act as coordinator of national Coalition of Holistic Integrative ECD.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT (ECCD) ADVISOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN, (CORE TEAM REPRESENTATIVE)
Joy Sampang is an ECCD Advisor in Save the Children Philippines. She is responsible for technical oversight in the design and refinement of the organization’s early childhood development programs in the country, including ensuring cross-sectoral integration and in pursuing education-related resource mobilization, program learning, and policy advocacy. Prior to joining Save the Children, she was a faculty member of the Department of Family Life and Child Development of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and served as a preschool teacher and Faculty-in-Charge of its laboratory school, U.P. Child Development Center. She also worked for an international market research agency. She completed her Master’s degree in Family Life and Child Development and Bachelor’s degree in Communication Research from the same university.
Evelyn D. Santiago joined ARNEC in June 2015 and came to ARNEC with more than 20 years of professional experience in development work encompassing child rights, investment programming, strategic planning, project planning and design, program management, grants development and partnership building.
Prior to joining ARNEC, she spent 10 years working for ChildFund International in various management positions at Country Offices in the Philippines, Timor Leste and at the Asia Regional Office in Bangkok. She also worked previously with the German Technical Cooperation (now called GIZ) and with the Central Economic Planning Ministry of the Philippine Government. Evelyn has a Master of Arts degree in Economics of Development from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) – Erasmus University, The Hague, The Netherlands.
Evelyn is passionate about issues affecting children especially the most marginalized and the most vulnerable ones. She strongly believes that access to quality ECD interventions is a right of every child and that duty bearers should join hands in ensuring that this right is fulfilled. She firmly believes that investment in ECD is critical in ensuring that children have a fair chance to develop and maximize their potential.