Susan Cole at Asian Summit

Susan Cole, Director of MAC’s Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, was part of a distinguished panel of global leaders invited to speak at the Asia Summit on Flexible Learning Strategies (FLS) for Out-of-School Children (OOSC) held February 24-26 in Bangkok, Thailand. Cole delivered a keynote address about the need for trauma-sensitive schools, as part of the summit’s goal to share best/promising innovative practices in education efforts for out-of-school children/marginalized populations. The summit was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok).

UNESCO Bangkok convened the summit to discuss ensuring “the quality and equality of learning for all, as well as increase regional technical and financial cooperation in addressing the situation of Out Of School Children.” Organizers provided background on the scope of the crisis regarding these marginalized children, indicating, “As of July 2015, reports indicate more than 59 million children worldwide were not enrolled in primary and secondary schooling, and as many as 18 million children remained out-of-school in the Asia-Pacific region (UIS). Thus, a key challenge for governments in the region is how to ensure that out-of-school children (OOSC), who often cannot be served by formal school systems, are provided with, and have access to learning opportunities.”

The summit provided a forum in which policy makers, practitioners, private partners and academics shared their creativity, innovation, and experience in education to foster a dialogue on enhance opportunities for out-of-school children in the Asian region.

Cole presented about the work of MAC’s Trauma & Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) Project, which she heads. TLPI’s mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school. More information about MAC’s TLPI work and its history may be found at: www.traumasensitiveschools.org.

Cole was among the 500 partners and colleagues from Asian member states who participated in the UNESCO Bangkok summit, bringing together government officials, intergovernmental organizations, NGO partners, educators, business representatives and other stakeholders representing 30 Asian member states to share and discuss the best targeted innovations in 21st century education governance and learning that aim to benefit and include the most marginalized children in the region.

Cole enjoyed the opportunity to meet leaders from around the world who are working on behalf of children, and said the summit was “a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to share our work with so many educators and policymakers from around Asia.”