Next Gen Goes Global: Are They Prepared?


A panel discussion on how we equip students for a global future

Students studying the globe. (Grady Reese)

Are we adequately preparing the next generation with the skills needed to excel in our interconnected, global future? Join Asia Society Australia and the Centre for Global Education at Asia Society on Tuesday 12 March as we discuss what it takes to prepare students for a global future.

Featuring remarks from Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, The Hon James Merlino and global entrepreneur Ido Leffler, together with a panel discussion featuring educators, entrepreneurs, policy makers and advocates, this public program will look at how our education systems are equipping students to work, live, and study in highly globalized and culturally diverse cities and communities.

Convened in conjunction with the Global Cities Education Network Symposium which brings together teams of high-ranking educators and officials from across 15 locations in Asia and North America, this program brings leading world educators to Melbourne.

Date: Tuesday 12 March 2019
Time: 5:30pm reception followed by a 6:00pm start, concludes at 7:30pm
Venue: Wadawurrung 1 Room, Deakin Downtown, Tower 2 level 12/727 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3008

This event is open members of Asia Society Australia, members of the public and media. For further information contact us at

Our Speakers 

Ido Leffler, Co-founder of Brandless and Yoobi, Asia Society Global Trustee

Ido Leffler

Ido Leffler is a serial social entrepreneur known for building standout brands centered around three key pillars: incredible people, kick ass product, and awesome cause. Ido believes that in order to start a company within an industry that already offers customers a lot of options, it has to be something that’s innovative, different, and most importantly, centered on impactful cause.

He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Yoobi, Yes To, Inc., Cheeky, Beach House Group, and most recently, Brandies. Ido has advised numerous start-ups and businesses around the globe. He also co-authored Get Big Fast and Do More Good and serves on the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneur Council. See more >>

Hon. James Merlino, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

James Merlino

Hon. James Merlino has served as Deputy Premier and Minister for Education in the Andrews Government since 2014. Between 2016 and 2018 he was also appointed Minister for Emergency Services. James was Shadow Minister for Police and Shadow Minister for the TAC and Road Safety between 2010 and 2012, when he was also named Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education. In 2010 James served as the Minister for Police and Minister for Corrections.

James first entered parliament in 2002 when he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Monbulk. He served as member of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee between 2003 and 2006. Following the 2006 state election, James became Minister for Sport, Recreation and Youth Affairs in the Bracks Labor Government. See more >>

Panel Discussion

Dr Tony Jackson Vice President, Education and Director, Center for Global Education, Asia Society

Tony Jackson

Dr. Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society’s work in education which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship.

Jackson oversees the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, a global platform for collaboratively advancing education for global competence for all. The Center’s multi-faceted approach includes the International Studies Schools Network, a network of over 35 schools around the United States that systematically integrate a global focus within the curriculum; Global Learning Beyond School, which supports globalizing youth programs including afterschool and community programs; the Global Cities Education Network, a learning community of high-performing Asian and North American urban school districts dedicated to solving common high-priority problems of practice and policy; and China Learning Initiatives, which provide national leadership to support learning of Chinese language and culture. See more >>

Cindy Khoo, Divisional Director, Planning Division, Singapore Ministry of Education

Cindy Khoo

Cindy Khoo is Divisional Director, Planning Division, in the Singapore Ministry of Education. She oversees education policies, strategic planning and international relations. Prior to joining the Ministry of Education, she worked in a range of portfolios across the Singapore Public Service, including at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister's Office. She holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. See more >>

Martine Letts FAIIA, Chief Executive Officer, Committee for Melbourne

Martine Letts

Martine Letts FAIIA is an accomplished executive with extensive experience within the government, non-profit and international policy sectors, providing high-level expertise in public policy development, formulation and promotion both in Australia and internationally.

Martine joined the Committee in March 2016 after serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC), where she led the development of the organisation’s national strategy.

Prior to her role at the ACBC, Martine was Deputy Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, where she spearheaded the organisation’s business and organisational development. As Secretary-General of the Australian Red Cross (ARC) from 2001-2004, based at its national headquarters in Melbourne, she worked on a national transformation strategy to help the ARC improve its delivery of community and relief services across Australia and globally. See more >>

Professor Zhang Minxuan, Director of the Research Center for International and Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University

Minxuan Zhang

Professor Zhang Minxuan is Director of the Research Center for International and Comparative Education at Shanghai Normal University. Prior to this, he was President of Shanghai Normal University, where he championed bold education reforms that catapulted Shanghai to the top of global student performance rankings. As an educator, scholar, and policymaker, Zhang has dedicated the past three decades to bringing quality education to the children of 23 million Shanghai residents from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Shanghai topped the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) global rankings in 2009 and 2012, and thanks in large part to Zhang's work, Shanghai is now considered a model for closing the academic achievement gap between the "haves" and "have-nots." Zhang's contributions to numerous UNESCO, UNICEF, and World Bank initiatives have benefited students and education systems in both developing and developed regions of Asia and the world. Zhang is the key driver behind Shanghai's participation in Asia Society's Global Cities Education Network, involving 10 major urban education systems around the Asia Pacific.

Moderator: Anthony Mackay AM, CEO / President, National Center on Education and the Economy

Anthony Mackay

Anthony Mackay AM completed his time as CEO of the Centre for Strategic Education, Melbourne, Australia at the end of 2018. From January 2019 he took up the position of CEO / President of the Washington DC based National Center on Education and the Economy.

Anthony is Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Deputy Chancellor Swinburne University, Melbourne and Deputy Chair of New Zealand's Education Council. He is Board Chair of The Song Room, Board Director of High Resolves and Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne.

Anthony is an expert consultant to OECD and UNESCO, Consultant Advisor to Asia Society's Global Cities Education Network, Co-Chair Global Education Leaders Partnership, Board Director of the Innovation Unit UK, and International Advisor to Learning Forward (USA). See more >>

Asia Society Australia’s Global Initiatives Programs bring the best of our 15 centres to Australia. Convened as both stand-alone events and ongoing collaborations, Asia Society Australia combines global reach with local networks to deliver an international portfolio of programs.

Presented in partnership with:

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Event Details

Tue 12 Mar 2019
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Wadawurrung 1 Room, Deakin Downtown, Tower 2 level 12/727 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3008

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