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‘Leaders do not work in isolation’: What to expect from this weekend’s Centre for Leadership and Diversity conference

December 10, 2021

By Perry King


Pictured here is the Centre for Leadership and Diversity team. Left row, bottom to top: Azima Thakor, Entisar Yusuf, Grace Garlow and Lea Nsouli. Right row, bottom to top: Racheal Kalaba, Yvonne Chan, and Fatema Hossain.


With academic presenters from four continents expected to be in attendance, OISE’s Centre for Leadership and Diversity hosts its second annual International Conference from December 10-11.

With this year’s theme – Reshaping Educational Leadership: Building on Collective Action in Challenging Times – the conference seeks to build on the collective energy calling for greater justice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register for the conference here

The presenters – scholars, community activists, practitioners, student researchers and graduates alike – will present research, practices, ideas on educational leadership and education in general from Canada and across the globe. Keynote speakers include Professor Charles Pascal, from OISE’s department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, and Professor Njoki Wane, from OISE’s department of Social Justice Education.

“This virtual conference, being organized by the Centre for Leadership and Diversity, is a fantastic opportunity to share, engage and connect with a global community of experts in educational leadership,” said Michele Peterson-Badali, OISE's Associate Dean, Research, International & Innovation. “I wish everyone well, as this conference sets to put such a crucial field of educational research into the spotlight.”

To gain more insight into the proceedings, OISE News spoke to the Centre for Leadership and Diversity, Director, Dr. Ann Lopez, Professor, Teaching Stream in OISE’s Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education (LHAE) and CLD coordinator Yvonne Chan, OISE doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP) Program, (LHAE) and principal, York Region District School Board (YRDSB).

You can check out the activities of the CLD at

Why is the theme of the CLD conference "Reshaping Educational Leadership"? Why is there a focus on building collective action?

“Leaders do not work in isolation, but in collaboration with others,” says Professor Lopez. “Over the last year, we have seen people from different social locations coming together to advocate for greater justice in education. Leaders play an important role in creating lasting change in education and society as a whole.”


Who will be in attendance?

The conference will feature have speakers based in a number of countries:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • U.S.
  • Kenya
  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Canada

“Speakers include well-known scholars, new PhD graduates, and emergent scholars – including Master of Education graduates and doctoral candidates,” says Chan. “We also have practitioners in the field – educators, researchers in the field of education by organizations. Presenters are from diverse backgrounds and cultures.”

What is the CLD organizing team looking forward to the most? 

Professor Lopez is looking forward to hearing the keynote talks and presentations – on topics that include underrepresentation of racialized leaders in educational leadership , decolonizing and culturally relevant practices, centring African Indigenous knowledge, critical comparative education and international development and more.

“It is a great learning opportunity in terms of research and current issues,” she says.

What has it been like delivering this conference online? Is it now considered more of an advantage to connect with speakers and thinkers virtually?

The first conference from the CLD occurred October 2020, after a postponement from Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic Themed “Transformative Leadership and Decolonial Praxis,” and it was quite successful in bringing people together and motivated the CLD team to organize this December’s conference.

“It has made the conference accessible to educators, students and community members across the globe. It is truly an international conference. However, it is still the same amount of work planning and creating a conference program. CLD is lucky and grateful to have a team of graduate student and former student volunteers to support the work.

What do you hope attendees can take away from the proceedings? 

“I hope attendees gain new insights and understanding on a number of issues, ideas for research and practice,” says Professor Lopez, and attendees gain new colleagues to collaborate with and hopefully make new friends.”

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