Keynotes


Scilla Elworthy: Empowering young people to be agents of social change
This keynote will open the 2019 Dublin Montessori Europe Congress and will focus on the role of education in promoting global peaceful co-operation.
Some children and young people are showing signs of distress as the media continues to present chaos and violence in our communities, when in fact the world today is becoming less violent. We are also witnessing the power of teenage agency and advocacy in the global environmental movement initiated by Greta Thunberg. It is the role of education to present thefacts.
We can assist children and young people with skills that effectively defuse anger and aggression in school; skills which they can share with their parents –such as non-violent communication. We can demonstrate to them the power of listening as the fastest way of turning an argument into an understanding or each point of view. We can harness the upsurge of idealism in the early teenage years to identify what they care most about and help them learn how to use their skills and those of their friends to make a difference in the world.

Bio: Scilla Elworthy
Scilla Elworthy has worked with the Oxford Research Group on establishing dialogue between nuclear super powers, which ultimately led to agreement on global unilateral nuclear disarmament. She established Peace Direct, an organisation which is committed to non-violent conflict resolution and the power of local action. Scilla’s most recent work focuses on role ofwomen in contributing to non-aggressive conflict resolution and explores the role offeminine intelligence in building a safer world. Scilla’s latest books include The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War and Pioneering the Possible: AwakenedLeadership for a World that Works. Over million people have viewed her TED talk “Fightingwith non-violence”.



Carla Foster:
Towards a developmental understanding the types of justice and mercy in the primary and elementary classes.
It is said that humans are a social species, but what does that mean? We need each other to survive, we are perpetually ready for social interactions of various kinds, and we have the capacity to show empathy and compassion. Our attitudes towards justice and mercy are not fixed instincts; they have developmental milestones that we need to be aware of. There is appropriate aid to be given at appropriate ages in order to develop these socialcapacities.

Bio: Carla Foster
Carla Foster is one of the current AMI Directors of Training at Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE), USA. She also works permanently at the University College of Vestfold in Norway. Carla holds degrees in Social Anthropology, Old Icelandic Literature and Norwegian Literature from UC Berkeley. She has AMI 3-6 and 6-12 diplomas and has worked with children at all these ages in both private and public Montessori schools. She has lived and taught in Norway since 1995 and has been an elementary trainer since 2011.



Mark Patrick Hederman: Maria Montessori in Ireland
Born in Dublin and widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, W.B.Yeatsgave several speeches in the Senate of the Irish Free State about education. He was impressed by Montessori schools, one of which he visited before writing ‘Among School Children.’ Maria Montessori visited Ireland in 1927 and 1937.

This talk will begin by considering Montessori’s influence on Yeats. Moving to our present concerns, we must recognize the challenges of current education. How can the Montessori philosophy of education redress the balance in favour of the child as the person who should be the unique focus of all our educational endeavour? Nor should this mean self-development as egotistical adornment; it should situate the child in an ecological and sociological context, where flourishing of the one can only bring benefit to the whole. Education of the full human person, body, mind, and spirit, is also the most effective means of saving our planet and reconstructing our societies.  

Bio: Mark Patrick Hederman has been a Benedictine monk of Glenstal Abbey, Limerick, Ireland, for the last fifty years. A former abbot of the monastery and headmaster of the school, his doctorate was in the philosophy of education. A founding editor of The Crane BagJournal of Irish Studies, he has also published several books on various topics. “The Boy in the Bubble” [Dublin, Veritas, 2012] is the book he wrote on education.