Our Speakers and Facilitators for 2024​

Alex Stevenson​

Alex Stevenson is a Head of Programme at Learning and Work Institute (L&W), leading the organisation’s research and development work on adult basic skills and learning in communities, including non-formal learning. Alex has worked on a range of projects for clients including the Department for Education, the Home Office, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Greater London Authority. On community learning and non-formal education, his projects have included developing and piloting the use of social metrics to measure outcomes in non-formal learning, and supporting city regions with the devolution of the Adult Education Budget. Before joining L&W, Alex taught, managed and developed adult basic skills and ESOL provision for over 13 years. Alex is an executive board member at EAEA and an executive committee member at the European Basic Skills Network.

Anna Ekström

Anna Ekström is the chairperson of the Swedish Organisation for Independent Folk High Schools (RIO) and the Stockholm Workers’ Educational Association (ABF Stockholm). She is also chairperson of the board of Umeå university. She is a former Minister for Education and ALE and a former Director General for the Swedish National Agency for Education as well as former President of the Swedish Conferedation of Professional Associations (Saco).

Anna Skocz

Anna Skocz is an NGO trainer, educator and local activist with more than 20 years of experience in non-formal international and national education in youth and ALE sectors, passionate about quality in ALE and advocacy for ALE;

Professionally, she is a project manager and fundraiser, director of international cooperation department in sTOP as well as intercultural communication trainer, enthusiast of learning from failures and mistakes and enthusiast of art life coaching. Optymist. Anna is a representative of NGO Trainers Association (Stowarzyszenie Trenerskie Organizacji Pozarządowych/sTOP), former board member of sTOP, current member of EAEA executive board. 

Gina Ebner

Gina Ebner is the EAEA Secretary General, She has worked in adult education for many years and has a background as education and project manager, experience in multi-stakeholder and transnational environments, network building, curriculum and product development, knowledge management, team and project leadership. She also worked as a trainer in adult education. She was President of the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (now European Lifelong Learning Platform - LLLP) until 2013 and again between 2018 and 2020.

Isabell Kempf

Ms Isabell Kempf is the current Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in
Hamburg, Germany.  
She has 30 years of experience working with the United Nations, bringing her expertise in the areas
of capacity-building and policy advice, as well as the application of a human rights- and gender-based
approach to education, development and peace-building, to the Organization. 
Prior to joining UIL, Ms Kempf held positions including Head of the United Nations Research Institute
for Social Development (UNRISD) Bonn Office, where she co-created a global research and action
network comprising researchers, decision-makers and social activists to advance a just and green
transformation of society, and Co-director of the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) of the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
in Nairobi, where she led a global programme on integrated policies in over 28 countries.  
She has held further roles at UNESCO, UNEP, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). 
Ms Kempf has published widely on the right to education and development, and social and
environmental justice. She holds an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of
Oxford and a PhD in International Economics and Development from Complutense University of

Katarina Popović

Katarina Popović is Secretary General of ICAE - International Council for Adult Education (global network of NGOs active in youth and adult education) and Professor for adult education and Chair of the Department for Andragogy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade (Serbia), and visiting professor at several universities. She is co-chair of the Education and Academia Stakeholder Group and a member of MGoS HLPF Coordination Mechanism related to the UN Agenda 2030. Ms Popović is president of the Serbian Adult Education Society, certified trainer in adult education, member of International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, editor in chief of the journal “Andragogical studies” and author of numerous publications on adult education and adult literacy, and lifelong learning.

Laura Kaestele

Laura Kaestele works as a network weaver, designer, grower, project manager, and facilitator in integrative design, ecological regeneration, community and organisational development, permaculture, and holistic living with 12+ years of practical experience. She has supported various networks, non-profits, sustainable communities, eco-projects, and regenerative farms around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Central America to connect, synergize, and take transformative action for regeneration. Laura holds an MSc in Regenerative Development and a BSc in Integrative Ecosocial Design from Gaia University, along with Permaculture and Ecovillage Design certificates as well as participatory leadership, facilitation, coaching, and sustainability education training.


Marcella Milana

Marcella Milana is an Associate Professor at the University of Verona and an Honorary Professor of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham. She researches the politics, policy and governance of adult education and learning and is currently chair of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Lifelong Education. She recently edited (with P. Rasmussen and M. Bussi) the Research Handbook on Adult Learning and Education (Edward Elgard, expected in June 2024).

Pinar Aksu

Pinar Aksu is a third year PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow, a theatre maker and Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator. Her research explores ‘Art and Law in migration: using art practices for social change and access to Justice.’ She is interested to find connections between solidarity, art, justice, and the law.  Within her role, Pinar is involved with campaigns and projects supporting people seeking asylum and refuge, promoting integration and human rights. Pinar is also involved in using theatre and creative methods to create social change.

Raffaela Kihrer

Raffaela Kihrer is Deputy Secretary General and Head of Policy at the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) and has extensive experience in advocacy and policy on adult learning and education at the European and international level, with a particular focus on citizenship and development. Since June 2022, she is also an elected Vice-President of the Lifelong Learning Platform which brings together all sectors of education. Her background is in International Development Studies, and she is a trained teacher in secondary school education and adult learning.

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