Long Bio

Professor Fernando Reimers

Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice in International Education and the Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University.

His current interests focus on finding ways to enhance the relevance of education around the world, so that students develop the competencies they need to become self-authoring individuals and can contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This was the topic of the address he delivered at the 2016 graduation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education when he was selected by the students as the faculty speaker.

He draws great satisfaction and inspiration from working with his students and from remaining in touch with them upon graduation. He teaches a course on Education Policy Analysis and Research in Comparative Perspective, which is an introduction to the field of Comparative Education Policy. He also teaches a course on Educational Innovation at the Harvard Innovation Lab which supports students in designing innovative education organizations that address complex education challenges. He also chairs an annual Think Tank on Global Education that supports education leaders who work to make their students global citizens.

In his multiple current and past engagements with educational policy and practice he has developed novel approaches, tools and frameworks to support the improvement of education. These include a K-12 curriculum of global citizenship education which he developed with four of his graduate students, published in the book Empowering Global Citizens. In this podcast he discusses the development of that curriculum and the urgency for Global Citizenship Education. He also has conceptualized and developed approaches to examine the ways in which social inequality impacts educational opportunity, presented in the book Unequal Schools, Unequal Chances (Distintas Escuelas, Oportunidades Diferentes), and approaches to support the organization of education dialogue among diverse stakeholders to support collaboration around complex education issues, as presented in the book Informed Dialogue (Dialogo Informado).

He enjoys leading and collaborating with groups focused on ambitious adaptive education challenges. As chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, he works with the Presidents and members of the Strategic Groups of public institutions of higher education as they seek to align their efforts with an ambitious, integrated and coherent vision for the State. He recently led a collaborative effort to support dialogue among institutions involved in teacher preparation and support in Massachusetts, based on the comparative analysis and discussion of Singapore’s policies. This process is presented in the book Fifteen Letters on Education in Singapore. He is currently leading a multinational Alliance working to advance support for teacher quality around the world

As founder and director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative, he leads a collaborative network of institutions in Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, India, and Singapore, studying educational policies and programs as they  support students in developing the competencies they need to thrive in the 21st century. The book Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century (Ensenanza y Aprendizaje en el Siglo XXI) presents some of their early research.

He is a founding co-chair of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, where he leads an Education Think Tank which convenes global education leaders to discuss solutions to aligning education systems with the development of competencies that matter.

He has extensive experience in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States as advisor to governments, international development organizations, foundations and organizations focused on the education of marginalized students, 21st century education or global education. He serves on the boards of Teach for All, the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities, Inversant, Global Scholars Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and Worldteach. He serves 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, he recently 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.