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22 Sep 2017

Inaugural Symposium "Philanthropy in Education: Global Trends, Regional Differences and Diverse Perspectives"

NORRAG organised on 22 to 24 November 2017 at the Maison de la paix in Geneva the Symposium “Philanthropy in Education: Global Trends, Regional Differences and Diverse Perspectives”. This event inaugurates the series on Philanthropy in Education: Global Trends, Regional Differences and Diverse Perspectives, a new initiative launched and co-sponsored by NORRAG, the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, the Open Society Foundations and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Live Stream:

Watch selected sessions which were live streamed on Facebook page.


The final programme can be downloaded here.

Through the support provided by the International Education Funders Group, a number of travel grants were offered to scholars to present their research during the Symposium.


Registration for the Symposium is now closed.

Stay tuned for more information regarding the upcoming Symposia in the series, which will take place in 2018-19. Also, please do not forget to follow our hashtag #philanthropyinEd throughout the symposia series.


You may download a presentation brochure of the symposium here.

Keynote speakers:

  • Stephen Ball, Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology of Education, Institute of Education, University College London

Stephen J Ball is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology of Education at the University College London, Institute of Education. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2006; and is also Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Society of Educational Studies, and a Laureate of Kappa Delta Phi; he has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Turku (Finland), and Leicester (UK). He is co-founder and Managing Editor of the Journal of Education Policy.

His main areas of interest are in sociologically informed education policy analysis and the relationships between education, education policy and social class. He has written 20 books and had published over 140 journal articles. Recent books include: Edu.Net (Routledge 2017), Foucault as Educator (Springer 2017), The Education Debate (3rd Edition) (2017).

  • Noah Drezner,  Associate Professor of Higher Education,  Program Director for Higher and Postsecondary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

Noah D. Drezner is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Program Director of the Higher and Postsecondary Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, founding editor of Philanthropy & Education (Indiana University Press), and Visiting Professor of Education and Philanthropic Studies at Beijing Normal University.  He is internationally known as a leading researcher on educational philanthropy. His research interests include philanthropy and fundraising as it pertains to colleges and universities, including higher education’s role in the cultivation of prosocial behaviors. Currently, Dr. Drezner’s work is based in identity-based philanthropy. In other words, he is researching how a person’s social identities affect their giving to higher education and how colleges and universities can engage their alumni in more inclusive ways.

He is the co-PI for the National Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Alumni, a multi-institutional mixed methods project, and recently completed a population-based survey experiment, The National Alumni Giving Experiment, that evaluates how a person’s social identities affect their propensity to donate and at what level when exposed to different types of fundraising solicitations. Dr. Drezner has published numerous articles and six books and given several international presentations on related topics.

  • Maya Ziswiler, Program Director for Education and Early Childhood Development, UBS Optimus Foundation, Switzerland

Maya Ziswiler is head of Social and Financial Innovation at the UBS Optimus Foundation. She spearheaded the foundation’s pioneering work on the first Development Impact Bond in Education in India and explores the role of non-state actors in education. Ms. Ziswiler has also advocated for the importance of innovation and integration in early childhood development. She joined the Foundation from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria where she was responsible for managing public-private partnerships Previously, Ms. Ziswiler worked for UNICEF in Peru and Procter & Gamble in the Middle East. She holds degrees in International Development from McGill University in Canada, and an MBA from the University of Geneva. She speaks English, French, Spanish, German and some Mandarin.

  • Natasha Ridge, Executive Director, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Natasha Ridge is currently the Executive Director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. Prior to this, she was the Acting Director of Research at the Dubai School of Government. Natasha has a number of publications, including a book entitled Education and the Reverse Gender Divide in the Gulf States: Embracing the Global, Ignoring the Local. Her additional publications include chapters in the World Education Yearbook and in publications of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and UNESCO as well as working papers for the Dubai School of Government and the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

Natasha holds a doctorate of education in international education policy from Columbia University and a master’s in international and community development from Deakin University, Australia. She is also a founding board member and former president of the Gulf Comparative Education Society. Her latest research focuses on the role and impact of Arab father involvement, philanthropy and education, and access and equity in the Gulf education sector.

  • Arushi Terway, Senior Lead Research Associate, NORRAG, India

Arushi Terway directs NORRAG’s portfolio on Private Sector Engagement in Education, which includes innovative financing, philanthropy and education, public-private partnerships, and private sector support for the Right to Education movement, with a focus on socially responsible private sector engagement in education. Arushi has worked on education policy, planning, and development for over 12 years with FHI360, Global Partnership for Education, Results for Development Institute, SDC, and USAID. Her analytical and research work involved education finance, innovative finance, comparative analysis of education management policies, secondary education models and youth development.

She holds a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University and an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard.

Useful information and access:

A recommended list of hotels is available here, all located within short distance of the Maison de la paix.

A block of bedrooms has been pre-booked at the Hotel Ibis Nations. The rates and conditions are specified in this hotel form. If you wish to reserve your accommodation at the Hotel Ibis Nations and benefit from the group rate, kindly fill in the form and e-mail it back directly to the hotel ( before 21st October 2017. Rooms will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The Symposium will be held at the Maison de la paix, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Ch. Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Geneva.

Directions to access the Maison de la paix are available here.


For any questions, please contact us on

Call for Papers:

The Call for Papers is now closed. It resulted in over forty abstracts that were submitted for the parallel sessions.


New information on this Inaugural Symposium will be uploaded regularly.


  Open Society Foundation

The symposium is made possible with support from the Education Network of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-SDC.






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