Fernando M. Reimers
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 Sustainable Development Goals. He is a member of UNESCOs Commission on the Futures of Education.
He teaches courses on education policy and educational innovation that explore how to support students in developing the competencies that help them improve their opportunities and quality of life and contribute to improve the world. 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 book One Student at a Time. Leading the Global Education Movement is an analysis of the contributions of the graduates of this program to the Global Education Movement. This book is also available in Spanish. The book Leading Education Through COVID-19 examines the contributions of graduates of the program to sustain educational opportunity during the Pandemic.
His research is available in Research Gate, Academia, Google Scholar, Amazon, and in this Global Citizenship Education page. Current work focuses on educational innovation and on 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 research and practice collaborative focusing on education for the 21st century and is currently conducting a comparative study of the way in which universities in 25 countries partnered with schools to sustain educational opportunity during the Pandemic.
His recent book Educating Students to Improve the World, also available in Portuguese and Spanish, presents a theory of global education to support the transformation of schools and school systems in alignment with an inclusive and sustainable vision for the future of humanity. In another recent book Audacious Education Purposes, also available in Spanish, he and his colleagues in the Global Education Innovation Initiative examine the implementation of national education reforms aligned with ambitious education goals. In the book Empowering Teachers to Build a Better World, also available in Portuguese and Spanish, Reimers and his colleagues examine six large scale programs of teacher professional development aligned with supporting the education of the whole child. The book Implementing Deeper learning and 21st Century Education Reforms examines system level reforms to educate the whole child in six countries. The book Education and Climate Change. The Role of Universities, also available in Spanish, presents the results of using an approach he developed to create effective curriculum to mitigate, adapt and revert climate change.
Other publications of the Global Education Innovation Initiative include: the book Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century, also available in Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish, examining national reform efforts to broaden the goals of the curriculum; the book Preparing Teachers to Educate Whole Students, also available in Spanish, examining a series of exemplary programs of teacher professional development around the world, and the book Learning to Improve the World, an analysis of the ways in which entrepreneurship education influences the entrepreneurial mindset and skills of students in six countries in the Middle East. The book Letters to a New Minister of Education, available also in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish, examines the leadership lessons learned in advancing relevancy enhancing reforms.
Three recent books examine the role of system level leadership during the pandemic of Covid-19: Leading Education during a Pandemic: Reflections of Hope and Possibility, Leading Education Through Covid-19: Upholding the Right to Education and Liderando Sistemas Educativos durante la Pandemia de Covid-19. With colleagues at the OECD, the World Bank and the Organization Hundred, he led the development of case studies documenting innovative practices of sustaining education during the pandemic, and of frameworks to support education decision makers formulate strategies of education continuity.
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, also available in Spanish, and Hope or Despair, among others, as well as in the study of programs to civically empower students as presented in the recent book Lectores y Ciudadanos. Desafios de la Escuela en America Latina. 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, which is also available in Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. More recently he 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, which is also available in Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. His recent book Teaching two lessons about UNESCO, and other lessons on Human Rights, is an invitation to educators to intentionally pursue the deeply ethical nature of our craft. The book Learning to Collaborate for the Global Common Good is an analysis of how educators can effectively address the challenges facing democracy and human rights around the world, and a series of curriculum resources aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
He has supported education systems, school networks, and schools, in the development and adoption of high quality and rigorous curriculum to educate students to develop the competencies necessary to advance the sustainable development goals. He has collaborated with UNESCO in efforts to transform teacher education towards those goals, as explained in these lectures in English, French and Spanish.
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, which is also available in Spanish, and have been used extensively, including to support education dialogue in the context of the transition to Peace 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 (discussed in the book Fifteen Letters on Education in Singapore, also available in Spanish), and to advance global dialogue on scaling 21st century education reforms (discussed in the recent book Empowering All Students At Scale, also in Spanish). He has led large coallitions of progressive teachers in developing ambitious curriculum to make education more relevant, as reflected in the recent books Twelve Lessons to Open Classrooms and Minds to the World and Cittadinanza globale e sviluppo sostenibile. More recently, he has engaged colleagues in the OECD, the World Bank, and other international development organizations, in the development of decision support tools which help education system level leaders develop plans for educational continuity during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As part of his commitment to advancing educational opportunity, he serves and has served on the boards of several education organizations, including the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, 2012-2019, where he chaired the Strategic Planning Committee, working with all public universities in the State developing strategic plans for each university that enhance access, quality and relevance of higher education institutions. He serves also on the boards of Teach for All, Facing History and Ourselves, the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities, Inversant, the Global Scholars Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, and chaired the board of Worldteach. He advises leaders of governments, foundations, educational organizations and international development agencies. He has served 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, in 2015 he 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 chaired a Global Alliance on Teaching which produced the report Connecting the Dots to Build the Future of Teaching and Learning which is also available in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish.
He has written a series of children's books designed to foster intergenerational conversations around values and competencies which are necessary to live well with others in a diverse and interdependent world. These books are available in multiple languages and have been adopted by educators around the world to foster conversations among students and parents about inclusion and belonging.
He serves on multiple advisory boards and committees at Harvard, particularly focused in advancing the global mission of the University and in promoting innovation through the use of technology. 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 Masters 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. In 2015 he was the CJ Koh Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. In 2016 he received the Global Citizenship Award from the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations and the International Institute of Education Centennial Medal for his work advancing global citizenship education. He is a member of the International Academy of Education and of the Council of Foreign Relations.