Speakers

We hope you'll join us in Long Beach, CA, to see this wonderful lineup of speakers!
 

2020 General Sessions

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt

Thursday, February 27, 9:30 - 10:45 AM

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist who is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of morality. His early research radically transformed the field, pulling it away from its earlier focus on moral reasoning. Haidt showed that moral intuitions and emotions come first—flashes of gut feelings that people then strive to justify, after the fact. This explains why it is so difficult to win a moral argument with good reasoning. Haidt’s research has helped people to understand those who differ from them morally—not just across nations, but across the political divide within each nation. In his latest work, he is applying his research on moral psychology to the study of business ethics. He is developing tools and techniques that leaders can use to improve the ethical functioning, trust and ultimately profitability of their companies.

Haidt has excelled as a teacher and public speaker. He won three teaching awards from the University of Virginia, and one from the governor of Virginia. His three TED talks have been viewed more than 3 million times. He has presented his work at the World Economic Forum, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the British Academy, and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts. He was named a “Top 100 Global “Thinker” by Foreign Policy magazine in 2012, and one of the 65 “World Thinkers of 2013” by Prospect magazine.

Haidt is the author of more than 90 academic articles and two books. In addition to The Righteous Mind, Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, about which The Guardian (UK) wrote: “A marvelous book... I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that laid out the contemporary understanding of the human condition with such simple clarity and sense.

Idriss Aberkane

Idriss Aberkane

Thursday, February 27, 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Idriss Aberkane is part of a three-part session on Thursday afternoon. 
Idriss Aberkane is President of the Bioniria Foundation (Swiss Foundation for Bioinspiration), President of General Bionics SA, President of Chréage SA and Founder of the zero interest microcredit operator Eirin International in Senegal (which planted more than 20,000 trees and accompanies more than 40 families in the Senegal River Valley).

Holder of three doctorates including one of the polytechnic at 29, he was Visiting Scholar of Stanford University at 21 years. He has given more than 440 lectures worldwide, in three languages, and his book Liberate Your Brain has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Greek and Russian, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Dutch, Greek.
 
Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao

Thursday, February 27, 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Yong Zhao is part of a three-part session on Thursday afternoon. 
Yong Zhao is Foundations Distinguished Professor in the School of Education with an appointment in the School of Business at the University of Kansas. He is also the Global Chair Professor of Education at East China Normal University, a global chair professor at the University of Bath in the U.K., and a Professorial Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Education Policy at Victoria University, Australia. Prior to joining University of Kansas, he served as the Presidential Chair, Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education, and Associate Dean in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. He is also a professorial fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, Victoria University in Australia. 

Yong Zhao has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for all Children (2018), Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes (2016), Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015), Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World (2014), Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization (2009), and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (2012).

Yong Zhao has received numerous awards including the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, Outstanding Public Educator from Horace Mann League of USA, and Distinguished Achievement Award in Professional Development from the Association of Education Publishers. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy for Education and is recognized as one of the most influential education scholars.

Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993 and received his A.M. in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College.
Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas

Friday, February 28, 9:30 - 10:45 AM

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and major motion picture from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is on sale now.

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

Friday, February 28, 3:30 - 4:45 PM

Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas with humor and clarity, in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience.

She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster The New York Times bestsellers The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, and The Happiness Project. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold almost three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. (The Happiness Project spent two years on the bestseller list.)

On her top-ranking, award-winning podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” she discusses happiness and good habits with her sister Elizabeth Craft.

She’s been interviewed by Oprah, eaten dinner with Daniel Kahneman, walked arm-in-arm with the Dalai Lama, had her work written up in a medical journal, and been an answer on the game show Jeopardy!

Gretchen Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband; they have two daughters (a college freshman and a seventh-grader).