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Penn Graduate School of Education

research and innovation for a more literate world

Senior Advisors

Daniel Andler, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor, ILI

Daniel Andler holds doctoral degrees in mathematics from UC Berkeley and Paris. After specializing in model theory and teaching mathematics in various universities in and around Paris, he moved to positions in philosophy in Lille and then Nanterre. Dr. Andler is now Professor of Philosophy of Science and Epistemology at Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). He was for many years co-director and then briefly director of CREA (Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée, Ecole polytechnique and CNRS, Paris). He was the founding head of the Department of Cognitive Studies at Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. In 2018, he was elected to as a member of the prestigious Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques de l’Institut de France.

C. J. Daswani, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor, ILI

National Research Director, BFI Project, New Delhi, India

C.J. Daswani received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University. He has been Professor of Linguistics at Pune University and J. Nehru University in India, as well as head of Non-Formal Education at the National Council on Educational Research and Training, New Delhi, India. 

Bob Day, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor, ILI

Bob Day specializes in the appropriate applications of science, technology and innovation (STI) to the eradication of poverty. He currently heads up his own consulting firm, Non-Zero Sum Development. Dr. Day received his Ph.D. at Imperial College (London), is currently acting as Special Advisor to the Mozambican Minister of Science and Technology in developing and implementing their National S&T Strategy (MOSTIS). He is actively involved in the ongoing development of the strategic STI relationships between the Finnish and South African public, research, private and civil sectors. He assists NEPAD, the CGIAR, and regional stakeholders in the development of ReSAKSS, a Pan-African knowledge system of systems for agricultural development. Prior to that, Dr. Day was Executive Director of ICT at UNISA (Pretoria). He has consulted to UNESCO, UNDP, UNECA, IDRC, World Bank (InfoDev), Imfundo (DFID), ILI, ILRI, CSIR, HSRC, as well as several private sector organizations.

Iddo Gal, Ph.D.

Special Senior Advisor for Literacy/Numeracy Assessment, ILI

Iddo Gal received his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked for five years as Assistant Research Professor at Penn's Graduate School of Education before accepting a position at the Department of Human Services, University of Haifa, Israel, where he is a Senior Lecturer. His areas of interest and research include development and assessment of numeracy (mathematical literacy), statistical literacy and functional skills, adult learning, empowerment of workers and clients in human service organizations, and managerial and organizational processes in service organization. He served as the Co-Editor of the Statistics Education Research Journal (2003-2007). He also led the team responsible for numeracy assessment in the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) survey, a joint international project managed by Statistics Canada, the National Center on Education Statistics, in collaboration with OECD.

Romilla Karnati, Ph.D.

Senior Research Advisor

Romilla Karnati is currently Senior Specialist, Early Childhood Care and Development at Save the Children, an international NGO. Dr. Karnati received her Ph.D. in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development (ISHD) program at Penn GSE. She completed her Masters in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2000. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Literature and Economics from Mount Carmel College, India. She joined the International Literacy Institute and worked on the Bridges to the Future (BFI) project since its inception in Andhra Pradesh (India), where she had a leadership role in the development of educational software, design of assessment measures, program implementation, data collection and data analyses. She has researched the impact of computer-aided instruction on school dropouts in rural India, and is interested in early child development, literacy learning, ICTs, international education, and development. 

Sylvia Schmekles

Senior Advisor, ILI

Sylvia Schmelkes is a Mexican sociologist and education researcher and the current director of the Mexican National Institute of Educational Evaluation. She is best known for her work in intercultural education, and her book Toward better quality of our schools. Schmelkes has also written over 100 academic texts and essays. She is a former General Coordinator of Intercultural and Bilingual Education at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico, and is currently heading the Research Institute for the Development of Education at the Iberoamerican University. In 2008 she received the Comenius Medal from UNESCO for her career as a researcher. Other awards include the Universidad Iberoamericana's Tlamatini award in 2003, and the Maria Lavalle Urbina award in 1998. She has an honorary Ph.D. from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Mexico and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Concordia in Montreal, Canada. She is an Honorary Fellow of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.

Timothy Unwin

Senior Advisor

Timothy Unwin is Professor of Geography and the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London. From 2001-2004 he led the UK Prime Minister’s Imfundo partnership for ICT in Education Initiative based within the UK Department for International Development. In 2006, he was elected as a High Level Advisor for the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Alongside his academic research and teaching, he has also been Director of the World Economic Forum’s Partnerships for Education program with UNESCO. More recently, he served Secretary General (formerly Chief Executive Officer) of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) from 2011-2015.