Long Bio

Professor Fernando Reimers


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

Professor Reimers is an expert in the field of Global Education. His research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. He studies how education policy and leadership foster educational innovation and quality improvement. As part of the work of the Global Education Innovation Initiative he leads, he and his colleagues conducted a comparative study of the goals of education as reflected in the curriculum in Chile, China, India, Mexico, Singapore and the United States, published as Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century by Harvard Education Press, a book which has also been published in Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. A forthcoming book, also to be published by Harvard Education Press, studies programs around the world which support teachers in developing the professional competencies to teach holistically for the 21st Century.

Two recent books present innovative global citizenship curricula. Empowering Global Citizens a complete K-12 curriculum of global citizenship education, examines why global citizenship education, aligned with helping students advance human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is an imperative of our times. Empowering Students to Improve the World in Sixty Lessons. Version 1.0, presents a strategic framework and protocols to help teachers and school leaders develop strategies and curriculum for global citizenship education.

Two recently edited books compile the results of informed dialogues, designed to foster collective impact in the areas of teacher education in Massachusetts (Fifteen Letters on Education in Singapore) and in the area of Scaling 21st century education programs (Empowering All Students at Scale).

His recent book One Student at a Time. Leading the Global Education Movement, is an analysis of the leadership challenges faced by those advancing global efforts to equip students with essential competencies to our times.

He recently chaired a Global Alliance which produced a framework for collective impact in strengthening teacher preparation and support (Connecting the Dots to build the future teaching and learning). This report has been translated and published in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish and used to steer national dialogues on how to create conditions to strengthen the teaching profession and improve the relevance of instruction.

Professor Reimers has worked to advance the contributions of colleges and universities to develop leadership that advances cosmopolitanism, democracy and economic and social innovation. He has led the development of several innovative programs at Harvard University, including the masters degree program in International Education Policy and various executive education programs, including a program to support education leaders working for UNICEF and a collaboration with the Universidad de Juiz de For a in Minas Gerais, Brazil, to develop a masters degree program in education leadership. He is a founding co-chair of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, a program which brings to the university outstanding individuals who have retired from a primary career and who are interested in devoting themselves to addressing significant social challenges. As chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education he works with all public institutions of higher education in the State developing institutional strategies to enhance the relevance of their programs. He has advised a range of institutions of higher education on strategies to advance the global awareness of undergraduates and serves on the board of Laspau, a Harvard affiliated organization whose mission is to strengthen institutions of higher education in Latin America.

He has advanced the development of programs to provide students and recent college graduates opportunities to engage in service and to develop civic, global and leadership competencies through his service on the boards of numerous education organizations and foundations inclluding Teach for All, World Teach, the Global Scholars Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, Envoys, and the scholars advisory council of Facing History and Ourselves.

In 2017 he received the Global Citizen Award from the Committee on Teaching about the United Nations for his work advancing global citizenship education. In 2015 he was appointed the C.J. Koh Visiting Professor of Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore in recognition of his work in global education. He received an honorary doctorate from Emerson College for his work advancing human rights education. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Education and a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.