E4J Global Dialogue Series 2020 - Day 2: We Love Reading - Changing Mindsets through Reading to Create Changemakers
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Session recording on YouTube: Changing Mindsets through Reading to Create Changemakers


Changing Mindsets through Reading to Create Changemakers


Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Time (CET)
14:00 - 15:30

Graphic recording of this event: Camilo Melgar

This session brought research experts and practitioners as well as people on the ground to share and discuss how We Love Reading, a grassroots program and 2020 UNHCR Nansen refugee awardee, has been able to change mindsets through reading to create changemakers. The program adopts a holistic approach including children, youth and adults especially females as well as the wider community to ensure sustainability and scalability. The session also highlighted how We Love Reading adapted technology during COVID19 to reach vulnerable communities in a collaborative manner in order to serve as a placeholder for education, improve mental health and boost social justice.




Rana Dajani

Professor, Founder and Director, We Love Reading

Professor of molecular cell biology, Jordan, visiting professor Yale, Cambridge and Harvard. Most influential women scientists in Islamic World, 12th among the 100 most influential Arab women. President of the Society for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Arab World.

Developed “We love reading”, received the World Innovation Summit in Education Award, King Hussein Medal of Honor, UNESCO International Literacy Prize, the Jacobs social entrepreneurship award, Science, Technology and Innovation Award UN, Ashoka Fellow, UNHCR Nansen refugee award.

Author of the book: Five scarves, Doing the impossible: If we can reverse cell fate why cant we redefine success, Nova Publisher 2018; reviewed by Nature.

https://welovereading.org/ | @welovereading | @WLReading



Dima Amso

Professor, Columbia University

Dima Amso is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. She has a BS in psychology from Tufts University, was trained at Cornell University and received a PhD in psychology from New York University in 2005. She served on the faculty at the Weil Medical College of Cornell University before joining the faculty at Brown University in 2010 and Columbia University in 2020.

Her research examines the development of attention, executive functions, and memory, with an emphasis on how environmental variables shape these trajectories. She has authored over 80 papers on the topic. Dr. Amso’s research has been funded by National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the Simons Foundation, Norman Prince Neuroscience Institute, and the Hassenfeld Child Health Institute. She is a recipient of the James S. McDonnell Scholar Award and is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Society.


Antje von Suchodoletz

Assistant Professor of Psychology, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Antje von Suchodoletz is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE, where she leads the Teaching, Learning and Development Lab. Her research interests lie in understanding the dynamic and transactional caregiver-child and learning processes underlying young children’s development across contexts and cultures. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Konstanz, Germany. Her recent publications appear in Child Development, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and Learning, Culture and Social Interaction.


Robert Jenkins

Chief, Education and Associate Director, Programme Division, UNICEF

Robert Jenkins, joined UNICEF in 1995. He brings over 20 years of experience in international development and humanitarian programming in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Jenkins served as the UNICEF Representative, Jordan, from 2014-2019, and Deputy Director, Division of Policy and Strategy in UNICEF Headquarters from 2009-2014. From 1995-2009, Robert Jenkins served with UNICEF in programme and management positions in Uganda (1995-1997), Bangladesh (1997-2000), Myanmar (2000-2003), India (2003-2006) and Mozambique (2006-2009).

Mr. Jenkins earned a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Bath and a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.

https://www.unicef.org/ | @RobertG_Jenkins

Isabelle Mareschal

Associate Professor in Psychology, Queen Mary University of London

Dr. Mareschal completed her PhD at McGIll University in Visual Physiology in 1999. Following this, she held postdoctoral positions at New York University, University College London and The University of Sydney. In 2013 she joined Queen Mary University as a Assistant Professor and is now Associate Professor and Head of Department. Her research investigates how visual perception affects cognition, with a particular focus on social cognition. In the last few years she has been working on the development of social cognition in children who have suffered early adversity.


Ghufran Mustafa

Programm coordinator, We Love Reading

Ghufran Mustafa is a WLR Ambassador Trainer and Communication Officer at We Love Reading program. She trains local volunteers on how to read aloud for children and how to establish their own neighborhood library. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Biotechnology and currently doing her Masters in Social Anthropology at Yarmouk University with a focus on translation and etymology of Arabic Anthropological terms. With five years’ experience in humanitarian field, she gained adaptability, flexibility and the ability to work under pressure.


Asma‘a Rashed

We Love Reading Ambassador

Asma‘a Rashed is a Syrian woman from Dar’a living in Zaatari Camp in Mafraq since 2013 because of the Syrian crisis. She has become a We Love Reading ambassador in 2014 and this has revived the passion for change inside of her. Shortly after the WLR training, Asma‘a started writing her own stories and a talented nephew has helped her illustrate those stories and published them in Al-Tareeq magazine.


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