Speakers

The IAFOR International Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment – Hawaii (IICSEEHawaii) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Hawaii (IICEHawaii). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either of these conferences permits attendance in both.

This page provides information about presenters. For details of presentations and other programming, please visit the Programme page.


  • Dr Xiaoyan Liang
    Dr Xiaoyan Liang
    World Bank
  • Dr Andy Curtis
    Dr Andy Curtis
    Anaheim University, USA
  • Dr Failautusi ‘Tusi’ Avegalio
    Dr Failautusi ‘Tusi’ Avegalio
    University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, USA
  • Dr Richard R. Vuylsteke
    Dr Richard R. Vuylsteke
    East-West Center, USA
  • Dr Xu Di
    Dr Xu Di
    University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA
  • Professor David P. Ericson
    Professor David P. Ericson
    University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
  • Dr Hiagi M. Wesley
    Dr Hiagi M. Wesley
    Brigham Young University – Hawaii, USA
  • Dr Sela V. Panapasa
    Dr Sela V. Panapasa
    University of Michigan, USA

Past Speakers

View details of speakers at past IICSEEHawaii conferences via the links below.

Dr Xiaoyan Liang
World Bank

Biography

Xiaoyan Liang is a Lead Education Specialist in the World Bank. Dr Liang joined the World Bank formally as a Young Professional in 1998 after graduating from Harvard University with a Doctor of Education degree. Since then, she has led policy dialogue and research, and managed the World Bank’s education programs in Africa, Latin America, and East Asia Regions. Dr Liang has solid education policy research, program development and implementation expertise in early childhood education, technical and vocational and higher education, education finance, and teacher development. She is widely published. Her most recent analytical works include “Challenges and Opportunities in Early Childhood Education in Yunnan” and “Developing Skills for Economic Transformation and Social Harmony in China”. She is also the lead author of the well-received World Bank’s “How Shanghai Does It: Insights and Lessons from the Highest-Ranking Education System in the World” report. Dr Liang is currently the World Bank’s Africa Regional Team Leader for the East and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project, Skills for Africa Transformation and Regional Integration, and the Partnership for Applied Science, Engineering, and Technology (PASET). Prior to that, she was the team leader for World Bank’s education programs in China, Malaysia and Korea. Dr Liang is passionate and committed to education development and to facilitating education partnership between East Asia, Africa and other countries.

Keynote Presentation | TBA
Dr Andy Curtis
Anaheim University, USA

Biography

From 2007 to 2011, Dr Andy Curtis was the Director of the English Language Teaching Unit at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a professor in the Faculty of Education there. Prior to 2007, he was the Executive Director of the School of English at Queen’s University, Canada, and a professor at the School for International Training, USA. He is currently working with the Graduate School of Education at Anaheim University. From 2015 to 2016, he served as the 50th President of the TESOL International Association. In 2016, he received one of the Association’s 50-at-50 Awards, when he was voted one of the Fifty Most Influential Figures in the Field, over the last 50 years.

Dr Curtis has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and books, including Learning About Language Assessment: Dilemmas, Decisions, and Directions (2015, National Geographic/Cengage Learning), co-authored with Kathi Bailey. He is also the editor of a new nine-book series ELT In Context, published between 2015 and 2017, and the editor of a new five-book series, Applied Linguistics for the Language Classroom, published in 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan, which includes his book, Language Teaching Methods and Methodologies: The Centrality of Context.

Over the last 25 years, he has been invited to present to around 25,000 teachers in 50 countries, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as North, South and Central America. He is is based in Ontario, Canada, from where he works as a consultant for education organisations worldwide.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | ‘Ignorance is Bliss’: The New Anti-Education Movement
Dr Failautusi ‘Tusi’ Avegalio
University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, USA

Biography

Papalii Dr Failautusi ‘Tusi’ Avegalio is the director of the multi national award winning Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) and the executive director of the Honolulu Minority Business Enterprise Center (HMBEC) at the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business. A former research fellow with the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center, Avegalio is the first native from Oceania to become a professor at the Shidler College of Business. He has consulted extensively for traditional chiefs, village councils, governments, colleges and universities, financial institutions, multi-national corporations and businesses nationally and internationally. He also has been the primary organiser of many events, such as the University of Hawai‘i Stars of Oceania to recognise the contributions of Pacific Islanders to the State, Nation and World inaugurated in 2006 with most recent event in American Samoa in 2017, and Regional & Global Breadfruit Summits in American Samoa (2013), Hawai‘i (2016), and the recent 2017 Breadfruit Summit in Apia, Samoa. Dr Tusi has a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a Polynesian alii and senior heir of the Malietoa warrior king line of Samoa holding the traditional title of ‘Papali’i’ from Savaii, Samoa.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | "Surviving and Thriving: Education in Times of Change"
Dr Richard R. Vuylsteke
East-West Center, USA

Biography

Dr Richard R. Vuylsteke (pronounced VUL-stek) took office as the East-West Center’s 11th Chief Executive on January 1, 2017. A former EWC grantee and staff member, he rejoined the Center after several decades living in Asia and serving most recently as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Previously he served as President of the American Chamber in Taipei, Editor-in-Chief of the Taiwan Review, and Area Studies Coordinator for the US Department of State Foreign Service Institute in Taipei. Earlier in his career, he was a research fellow in East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School as well as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Rajasthan, India.

Originally from Illinois, and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Illinois College, Dr Vuylsteke was an East-West Center grantee in the 1970s while he earned MA and PhD degrees from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, specializing in Western and Chinese political philosophy. While still a graduate student he joined the Center’s staff as a research assistant to the Director of the Culture Learning Institute, and later worked as a special assistant to the EWC president with focus on Pacific Community topics. In addition, he taught courses at the University of Hawai'i and Chaminade University in Asian history and social, political and legal philosophy. He also worked at the Pacific Forum (now Pacific Forum/CSIS).

Prior to graduate school, he served three years in the US Army, leaving active duty as a 1st Lieutenant. While in the service, he was stationed in Hawai’i at the US Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) as Chief of the China Desk and later seconded to CINCPAC (now PACOM) as Chief of the Soviet Far East Desk.

His areas of expertise include strategic and operational leadership of multicultural organisations; Asia Pacific business and trade, and Asian and Western history and philosophy.

Dr Vuylsteke is married to Josephine Wu Vuylsteke, a former broadcast journalist; they have three sons.

Keynote Presentation | TBA
Dr Xu Di
University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA

Biography

Xu Di (许笛) is a professor in the department of Education Foundations, College of Education, University of Hawai’i-Mānoa. She is a member of the board of examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE, now Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation [CAEP]), which has provided national accreditation for teacher education programs in the United States since 2007. Her recent publications focus on bridging Eastern and Western philosophy for educational practices and include Chinese Philosophy on Teaching & Learning: Xueji《学记》 in the Twenty-First Century (2016), The Wisdom from the East: A Holistic Theory and Practice of Health and Wellness (2013), Spiritual Heritage and Education Today (2013), Taoism: Origin, Essence, and Practice (2013), and A Reading of Lao Zi for Educational Philosophers Today (2012). In addition, she published A Comparison of the Educational Ideas and Practices of John Dewey and Mao Zedong in China (1992) and various chapters and articles on teacher education, educational foundations, multicultural education, international education, and ESL education. She worked as an international consultant in teacher education and educational reforms in Central Asia and Africa for the World Bank in 2002 and 2001. She served on the Hawai’i Teacher Standard Board (2005–2008) and as the president of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Hawai’i Chapter as well as Hawai’i state representative (2006–2008). She was a visiting scholar and research associate at the Philosophy of Educational Research Center at Harvard University (1999–2000), a visiting professor in Peking University (2015, 2011, 2009, and 1997) and in Renmin University (2012, 2014, and 2016), and an exchange professor at National Kaohsiung University in Taiwan (1998). She served as manuscript editor as well as editorial board member for Harvard Educational Review during 1988–1990. She was honored in Who’s Who among American Teachers in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2008.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Educational Policy: Does the Democratisation of Education in Educational Systems Fuel Economic and Social Inequality?
Professor David P. Ericson
University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA

Biography

David P. Ericson is a Professor of Philosophy of Education and Educational Policy Studies in the Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Prior to joining the Faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1992, he was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1979 – 1992) and a professor at Virginia Tech (1977 – 1979). In the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he has served as chairperson in two departments (Department of Educational Foundations and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction), as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, and as director of the Office of International Education. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Philosophy and Education for five years.

With research and scholarly interests in philosophy of education, educational policy analysis, and comparative and international education, he has published widely on education issues, the logic of social science research methodology, and educational policy and reform issues in the U.S. and Asia. He is particularly noted for his work on the structure and behaviour of national educational systems in the U.S. and Asia. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award holder (2007 – 2012), an award that has enabled his research efforts on educational reform issues in lower and higher education in Denmark and China. Most recently, he has been researching policy issues concerning the expansion and quality of higher education in Vietnam.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Educational Policy: Does the Democratisation of Education in Educational Systems Fuel Economic and Social Inequality?
Dr Hiagi M. Wesley
Brigham Young University – Hawaii, USA

Biography

Having been in the classroom at elementary school, junior and senior high school, and university levels, as well as an administrator at all levels, Dr Hiagi M. Wesley is passionate about student learning and academic success. He has a special interest in how different indigenous cultures affect the academic success of students.

His current responsibilities in leadership and teaching have been in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies programs at Brigham Young University – Hawaii, USA. He strives to apply effective pedagogy for student learning, in his role as Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Humanities, as he provides services in the area of curriculum development.

His educational background includes a Master’s degree and Supervisory Certificate in Secondary School Administration as well as a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration. Other training includes an ESL certificate as well as Diversity and Sensitivity credentials.

Featured Presentation (2018) | Pacific Indigenous Perspectives vs Global Ways of Learning
Dr Sela V. Panapasa
University of Michigan, USA

Biography

Dr Sela V. Panapasa studies family support and intergenerational exchanges among aged Pacific Islanders living in the US and Pacific region. Her work examines changes in elderly living arrangements and headship status in response to demographic and socioeconomic change. Her interests include family demography, race and ethnicity, measuring health disparities and comparative studies.


Previous IAFOR Presentations

Featured Presentation (ACE2017) | Teaching Health Equity at the Community Level: Engaging Faith Based Organizations in Teaching Community Based Nutritional and Health Behaviors