The International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations, by researchers and practitioners. This year's plenary speakers are:
Anson Chan retired as the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in 2001, after nearly forty years of service. As Chief Secretary, she headed the 190,000-strong civil service. She was the first woman and the first Chinese to hold the second-highest governmental position in Hong Kong. During her career in the public service she was responsible, amongst other things, for development of Hong Kong’s economic infrastructure including the planning and construction of Hong Kong’s new international airport, which opened in July 1998, port expansion and deregulation of the telecommunications market.
In recent years, Mrs. Chan has taken a prominent role in the campaign for full universal suffrage for election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and all members of the Legislature. In December 2007 she stood as a candidate in a by-election for a seat in the Legislative Council and won by a convincing margin. Mrs. Chan is well known for her stand on transparent and accountable government, on democracy and on safeguarding the rights and freedoms enshrined in the “one country, two systems” concept that applies to Hong Kong.
In addition to holding a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English and English Literature from the University of Hong Kong, she has been awarded honorary degrees from Hong Kong University, Liverpool University, Tufts University in Massachusetts, the Open University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Sheffield, an Honorary Professorship at Jiao Tong University, Shanghai and an Honorary Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.
She is a recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal: the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s highest honour and is an honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, an honour conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. In July 2008 the President of France conferred on Mrs. Chan the title of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion d’Honneur.
Dr. Antonia Darder is an internationally recognized Freirian scholar. She holds the Leavey Presidential Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. For more than 30 years, her practice and scholarship have focused on political questions and ethical concerns linked to racism, class inequalities, language rights, critical pedagogy, Latino education, and social justice. More recently, her work has sought to articulate a critical theory of leadership for social justice and community engagement, as well as to theorize a pedagogy of beauty, in the pursuit of a liberatory practice of education. Dr. Darder’s scholarship has been deeply influenced by the world renowned Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire, whose ideas on schooling and society profoundly shaped the direction of her early work.
Beyond her scholarly efforts, Dr. Darder has been an activist and visual artist, participating in a variety of grassroots efforts tied to educational rights, worker’s rights, bilingual education, women’s issues, environmental justice, and immigrant rights. In the 1990s, she convened educators from across the state to establish the California Consortium of Critical Educators (CCCE), a member supported radical teachers’ organization committed to an educational vision of schooling intimately linked to social justice, human rights, and economic democracy. In 2005, she established a radio collective with students and community members who produced Liberacion!, a public affairs radio program on WEFT. As a member of the Champaign Urbana Independent Media Center, she was active as a community journalist with the Public I. In 2007, she worked with graduate students on an award winning documentary, Breaking Silence: The Pervasiveness of Oppression that examined the persistence of inequality at the university.