Meet Our Country Directors
Birgit Phillips is a Professor of education, keynote speaker, systemic coach, and self-proclaimed “education activist”, advocating knowledge democracy and education for sustainable development in higher education. Her expertise lies in the areas of digital learning environments, qualitative & participatory research, higher education didactics and cross-cultural competence. Her research cuts across the humanities and social sciences and is firmly anchored in critical approaches to the study of education. She draws inspiration from transformative, emancipatory, and participatory education paradigms.
Birgit works at the University of Graz and serves as the Scientific Director of the Higher Education Didactics Program at the FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences as well as the Academic Advisor to the Council of Educational Administration and Education in Kerala, India. In June 2022, she became a STAR-certified research scholar and is keen on connecting transnationally networked leaders who care for social and environmental justice.
For her work, Birgit has received numerous grants, as well as national and international awards. For her research on transformative travel and identity negotiation, she received the Patricia Cranton Research Award at the Transformative Learning Conference at Columbia University in 2018. She was also awarded the Erudite Scholar of the Year 2020 by the Council for Educational Administration and Management (CEAM) in India, and most recently, she received the Arqus Teaching Excellence Award from the Arqus European University Alliance for her work on community-engaged education.
As Country Director for Bangladesh, Ateeb Ahmad Parray is leading a research consortium Global Action for Sustainable Development, a consortium of highly qualified researchers across the globe called that works in thematic working groups consisting of early career researchers, faculties and students.
Mr. Ateeb Ahmad Parray is a Fellow at the Center of Excellence for Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, at the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH), University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Academically, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Dentistry, a master’s degree in Social Sciences with a major in Social welfare and a master’s in Public Health. He was the WHO Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) Fellow for the session 2018-2019. He is also the International Ambassador of BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University and has proven record of promoting the school’s interests at international platforms. Mr. Parry says, “I am currently involved in several research projects which focus on accountability, community-based health interventions, gender transformation approach, higher education, sexual and reproductive health, and social determinants of health. These require extensive liaison with deemed universities of Bangladesh and India, bilateral and multilateral organizations, youth groups, student organizations, and the government, many of whom are partners in these projects. I will utilize this influence and liaison to promote the interests of STAR”
Guangrui Wen is a Full Professor of the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Executive Dean of the School of International Education at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. His research interests include international student education and management. He has authored two books and over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles.Prof. Wen has a multitude of experiences in international education and international student administration in China. He currently serves as the vice-chief chairman of China Association of International Education.
Birgit Schreiber, Ph.D., a senior expert for the higher education sector, has served in senior leadership positions for the past 25 years, with expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. She is a consulting expert to a range of national and trans-national bodies, notably USAF South Africa. She is a member of the Africa Centre for Transregional Research at the Freiburg University.
Dr. Schreiber has over 60 publications on social justice, student affairs, student engagement and higher education. She was the founding member and is the editorial executive of the Journal for Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA), she is on the board of the Journal of College Student Development (JCSD) and a Column Editor for the Journal of College and Character (JCC). She recently completed a Global Handbook on Student Affairs for UNESCO. After being the Africa Chair, she is the Vice-President for the International Association of Student Affairs and Services.
Fulbright Visiting Faculty at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Worked as an Officiating Principal of a college and as an Associate Professor of Human Development and Childhood Studies at the University of Delhi.
Dr. Sharma is working closely with educators, teachers, school administrators, and children. She is seeking to integrate creative drama, meditation, and self-reflection techniques to enhance the social and emotional development of elementary school children. The project also brings on board education policymakers so that they can experience the value of creative drama, meditation, mindfulness and compassion in improving the mental well-being of children, teachers, and school administrators.
She was at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013. After which she was awarded the Shastri Indo Canadian Award at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She was a Commonwealth Fellow at the University of Reading, UK. She received the Research Award from the University Grants Commission. She was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Indian Council of Social Science Research in 2008 and 2011. The was awarded the Doctoral Fellowship to conduct a pioneering research on drama and children’s development by the Indian Council of Social Science Research.
She was awarded the second position for the best paper presentation at an International Conference. Dr. Sharma has conducted over 50 international workshops and delivered lectures globally. She has also been conferred the associate membership of the Taos Institute, USA. She is on the editorial board of several international journals. Her publications include a book edited by her, Drama and Theatre with Children: International Perspectives, which was published by Routledge, UK, in 2016.
Dr Sharma did the Compassion Integrity Training course. She is a certified instructor for Yogasanas, Pranayam and Meditation. She is trained into acupressure and is a certified Reiki practitioner. She enjoys practicing Vipassana meditation, and mindfulness.
She has been initiated into Kriya Yoga from the lineage of Paramhansa Yoganandyaji. Her spiritual journey encompasses courses like the Inner Engineering with Sadguru from Isha Foundation, BhaavaSpandana and Shoonya Meditation. She has participated in the Raja Yoga and other courses with the Brahma Kumari Centre.
As Country Director for Japan, Dr. Yuriko Sato is creating a webpage of statistics and survey reports and presents basic statistics about international students and higher education, and survey reports on international student life and employment outcomes.
Dr. Yuriko Sato is an associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. She has been engaged in the study on international students for twenty years and is one of the most prominent scholars in this field in Japan. Her research fields cover International Student Policy, Immigration Policy, International Education, and Development Economics reflecting her experience of working for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) before joining our university. She frequently appears in the newspaper articles and TV programs dealing with international students. She was awarded Best Paper Prize of Japan Association of International Student Education in 2013 and Best Paper Prize & Best Presentation Prize at the 1st Asia Future Conference. She also received Best Teacher Award of our university in 2007 and 2013.
Dr. Sato says, “I would like to contribute to the advancement of study on international students by connecting the networks of researchers in Japan and other countries. I am sure such exchange will be beneficial for researchers at both ends. I would like to propose a survey to investigate the influence of COVID-19 on student mobility, especially, on their motivation, choice of destination, cost and style of study, and prospect of career development, as part of STAR activities in the next one or two years.”
As the STAR Associate Country Director for Japan, Dr. Thatcher A. Spero promotes internationalization, global citizenship, and practices for equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education institutions.
Dr. Spero is an Assistant Professor of Education in the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and a former Lecturer in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. He has been involved in international higher education for 20 years, and has extensive experience in multicultural and multilingual education, including TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), EAP (English for Academic Purposes), and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) teaching. Exploring the interconnections between identity, culture, education, and globalization, his scholarship focuses on the anthropology of education and sociology of education, while intersecting the areas of global studies in education (e.g. global education policy studies) and critical studies in education (e.g. critical curriculum studies and critical policy analysis) within the realm of comparative and international education and higher education internationalization. He is particularly interested in English-medium instruction, the internationalization of higher education in non-Anglophone countries, and critical internationalization.
Dr. Thatcher A. Spero says, “Promoting and being a part of the STAR community is an important way to advance more diverse forms of globalization and education research. Our exchange of ideas and collaborations can advance progressive forms of education that make positive contributions to society in this global age by facilitating interculturalism, internationalism, and transnationalism. It is an honor to be a part of the STAR community and play a role in this ongoing project.”
As Country Director for Malaysia, Dr. Daisy Mui Hunq Kee organizes the International Youth Conference 2021 in partnership with the Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR).
Dr. Kee is an Associate Professor in Management at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. She has published 40 Isl and Scopus indexed journal papers. She integrates her teaching and promotes USM internationalization efforts within higher education institutions. She is also an active keynote speaker and panelist for international conferences. This year, she initiated four Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) between USM and the industries. Besides, she initiates the participation of students with Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC). She was the award recipient of Publication Excellence (2019) by School of Management, and Service Excellence (2016) by Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Merdeka Award (2006) from the Australia Malaysia Business Council of South Australia (AMBCSA) by former South Australia Governor Sir Eric Neal (2006). She says, “I am interested in this position because research and publication is something that I am passionate about. I am also active in industry and community engagement. I am confident that I can deliver results and work with excellence! Webinar and Conference will help to increase the reputation of STAR in Malaysia and our counterparts.”
Boopen Seetanah is a Professor at the University of Mauritius (UoM) with research interest in tourism and transport, international trade and finance and development economics. He is currently the Co Chair of the WTO Chair (UoM) and the Director of Research at the International Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality (ICSTH) at the UoM. He is currently the Director of the Doctoral School at the University of Mauritius. Boopen is an editorial board member and a reviewer for numerous high rated journals. He has been consulting with the government and also numerous international organizations including the UNEP, UNDP, UNECA, UNCTAD, IISD, World Bank, ADB, ILO and RMCE amongst others. E-mail: email@example.com
Dr. Purna Bhadur Nepali is Associate Professor, and Program Director, Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM), Kathmandu University School of Management (KU SOM), Balkumari, Lalitpur. Dr. Nepali is Research Fellow (non-resident), Harvard Kennedy School and Hutchins Center, Harvard University, US where he is undertaking his research on Political Economy of Inclusive Agrarian Transformation: Comparative Analysis of Race-Caste of US and Nepal/South-Asia. He has recently completed his Fulbright Visiting Research Fellowship (2017-18) in Global Development and Sustainability at Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, USA.
His research was on Reorienting Political Economy of Agrarian Transformations, focusing on marginalized communities in Nepal. Previously he was the Regional Project Coordinator, Regional Food Security Governance Project in South Asia and East Asia (Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar) funded by the European Union. For the past decade he has researched land rights and food rights, and advocates for evidence-based policy and reform in South Asia from a civil society perspective. In addition, he teaches graduate courses for masters and PhD students as an adjunct professor at the Kathmandu University and the Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal. As a lead editor of the Journal- New Angle, he recently edited a special issue of the peer reviewed article called Agrarian and Land Issues that can be found here: http://www.nepalpolicynet.com/new/new-angle/new-angle-december-2016/.
Dr Benny Lim (Singaporean) is Associate Professor of Practice in Cultural Management and Director of the Master of Arts in Cultural Management programme with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He is also Visiting Professor with the Design School of Taylor’s University (Malaysia) and Adjunct Professor of Communication and Media Studies with UniPegaso (Italy). Prior to his current appointments, Benny was in the executive leadership team of both Berjaya University College and KDU University College in Malaysia. He was a Visiting Scholar of Peking University’s Institute of Cultural Industries (2019-2020), Honorary Research Fellow of University of Nottingham’s (Malaysia) Asia Research Institute (2019), and Visiting Assistant Professor of Macau’s Institute of Tourism Studies (2015-2016).
Benny started his academic career in Singapore back in the 2000s. As Country Co-Director for Singapore, he intends to develop a position paper outlining a possible vision for the role of private higher education in the city-state.
Chua Lian Choon (Richard) holds a PhD from the University of South Wales and a Fellowship in Trinity College London in Education Studies (Applied Drama). Having been a theatre practitioner and an educator in higher education for more than twenty years, he has designed and implemented the Diploma in Entertainment Arts as well as the Bachelor of Creative Arts programme at KDU University College (Malaysia), to which he served as its founding programme leaders.
He has also taught subjects in media and communications, notably film studies from bachelor’s degree programmes from Teesside University, University of Sunderland and University of Portsmouth, all public universities in the United Kingdom. Currently, he is also an adjunct professor — having taught in the Master in Media and Communication programme — with Universita Telematica Pegaso (Italy).
Prior to his academic work, he has performed, produced and directed Chinese Language theatre in Singapore and Malaysia. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for the Singapore DBS Life! Theatre Awards in 2003 and 2006 respectively. The production he directed Lovers Words was also nominated for Best Set Design in 2005. His Chinese productions have also toured Malaysia, China (Kunming), Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
As a theatre writer and critic, he has also attended Chinese performing arts festivals in Hong Kong and Macau as a theatre reviewer (艺术评论）.
He is keen to develop more research on and bring attention to the role private higher education brings to individuals’ learning journeys and career development.
More information about his work: https://richardchua.info/biography/
As Country Director for South Africa, Dr. Kolawole Samuel Adeyemo is creating trainings and forums to share best practices on matters related to electronic questionnaire design, ethical consideration in cross-border research, big data, and analytics. He is developing a roster that will include basic information about STAR organization, calendar, the academic profile of members. He hosts critical scholarship seminars to facilitate collaboration, partnership and increase membership among academics and institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Dr. Adeyemo is developing a research handbook on topical issues in the field of international education will be initiated and contributions will be invited from scholars from Africa.
Dr. Kolawole Samuel Adeyemo is a senior lecturer in the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Adeyemo is an internationalist who has studies in various countries and cultural contexts in the past. He is also assistant editor for the Journal of International Students, a flagship publication in international education. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Management from Cavite State University, Philippines, and a postdoc training at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School, Executive Education. Dr. Adeyemo says, “I am interested to represent STAR Scholars in South Africa as Country Director in order to support the vision of this organization in South Africa for both South African and immigrant academics. I would expect STAR to foster strong bilateral and multilateral partnerships and/or collaboration with South African leading scholars in various institutions. I am willing to coordinate these activities through The Kola Scholars (TKS) networks. TKS is the organization I founded to support the internationalisation agenda in Africa.”
As Country Director for Spain, Dr. Elena de Prada Creo is promoting global citizenship, inclusion and diversity management in higher education institutions. She works to develop higher education teachers’ ability to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion in their teaching practices but also their ability to teach effectively in a diverse environment; and she is enhancing the capacity of higher education institutions at large to develop and implement courses on Global Citizenship and Diversity Management.
Dr. Elena de Prada is an associate professor in English for Specific Purposes at the University of Vigo. During the last eight years, she has been the vice-dean for International Affairs at the Business and Tourism faculty. She coordinates European double degree programs in Management studies and Tourism and organizes International Joint Seminars and International weeks for students and professors.
Her publications and research guidelines are focused on foreign language learning, ESP, teacher training, innovative teaching, learning methods, continuing education, multilingualism, interculturality and creativity.
Dr. de Prada Creo says, “Being part of the STAR community is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other researchers and share valuable insights about their different experiences. Our main concern is the internationalization of our faculty, located in Galicia, northwest of Spain. For this reason, we are carrying out a project that aims to offer ALL students opportunities to have at least one experience abroad, even if it has to be a short-term exchange. Fostering international interactions is the best we can do for our students and colleagues. Considering the current complicated situation and the difficulties in travelling, we are especially interested in finding ways to maintain international contacts and foster intercultural exchanges through training courses and virtual communication”.
As Country Director for Viet Nam, Dr. Hiep-Hung Pham is developing an open searchable database of Scopus’ indexed research on international student mobilities and their metadata information such as DOI, authors, abstracts, and keywords.
Dr. Hiep-Hung Pham is the director of Center for Research and Practice on Education at Phu Xuan University. Dr Pham also affiliates with Center for Educational Research and Development EdLab Asia as director of research. Dr Pham is a high-profile figure among education sector in Vietnam. He is well known not only as a productive education researcher who has published 20+ papers in international journals but also as an education activist who has had a strong network among education community including education policymakers, universities and schools’ leaders and managers as well as education researchers. Over previous years, Dr. Pham provided advises for government in several policy documents and consultancy for several educational institutions.
Dr. Pham says, “I know STAR through Journal of International Students where I have served as Assistant Editor since January 2020. I am interested in the position of STAR Country Director since there are several commonalities between my current work and STAR. At the present time, I am a key member of an education research network with hundreds of education scholars across Vietnam. I would like to organize annually or bi-annually conferences/seminars on education-related topics under the auspice of STAR. The high-qualified papers at these conferences/seminars would be introduced to STAR’s journals for possible publications.”
Mr. Hoang is a research fellow at Center for Research and Practice on Education at my university. Mr. Hoang is a top-tier educator who works in K-12 education in Vietnam. Since 2018, he was one of the essential trainers of ETEP (Enhancing Teacher Education Program, Ministry of Education and Training), who deliver Project-based learning courses for lecturers in seven pedagogical universities in the middle and the south of Vietnam. Duc Hoang, an education evangelist who was honoured as Forbes’ 30under30 in 2020.
Mr. Hong says, “I know STAR Scholars Networks since 2018, during a discussion of my PD at Harvard Graduate School of Education and always keep a post-it-note of joining STAR on my to-do list. I would like to organize regular and special conferences/seminars/workshops on education and education management, regarding the aims and scopes of STAR’s journal.”
Former Country Directors
Dr. Catherine Gomes is an Associate Professor in RMIT’s School of Media and Communication. Catherine is an ethnographer whose work contributes to the understanding of the evolving migration, mobility and digital media nexus. As a migration and mobility scholar, Catherine specialises on the social, cultural and communication spaces of transient migrants, especially international students, their wellbeing and their digital engagement. Catherine’s work covers the themes of identity, ethnicity, race, memory and gender. She is a specialist on the Asia-Pacific with Australia and Singapore being significant fieldwork sites. Catherine has also written about gender and audience reception in Chinese cinemas, and multiculturalism in Singapore cinema.
Catherine is leader of the Migration, Digital Mobilities and Diverse Communities Research Lab (formerly Migration and Digital Media Research) housed in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), co-convenes the AsiaPacific@RMIT Seminar Series and leads the Mobilities Reading Group. Catherine is editor of the Media, Culture and Communication in Migrant Societies book series (Amsterdam University Press) and founding editor of Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration (Intellect Books).
Catherine was also a recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher (DECRA) in 2013-2016. She has held Visiting Research Fellowships at the Singapore Management University, Nanyang Technological University and Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Catherine’s research has appeared in numerous journals (e.g. Current Sociology, Journal of Youth Studies, Migration Studies, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of International Students and Asian Ethnicity).
Dr. Fred Boateng is a lecturer at the department of Educational Studies and Leadership at University of Ghana. He specializes in International Education and Development, Higher Education, Qualitative Research, School Management, and STEM and Gender Studies. Prior to his Legon appointment, Dr. Boateng, while a graduate student and an alumni fellow at the University of Florida, was a Regional Coordinator of the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Council’s International Student Affairs Committee. Dr. Boateng holds five degrees. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and the Study of Religions at the University of Ghana in 2005. He later earned two master degrees concurrently in 2010 at the University of Oslo in Norway (together with the University of Tampere in Finland and the University of Aveiro in Portugal). The first Master’s degree was an Erasmus Mundus Master in Higher Education while the second was a Master of Administrative Sciences. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida.
Dr. Mousumi Mukherjee is an Associate Professor & Deputy Director of the International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building (IIHEd). She is Member Secretary of the Research Ethics and Review Board (RERB) and founding Executive Director of the Centre for Comparative and Global Education (CCGE), O.P. Jindal Global University. She is a Fellow and Country Director (India) of the Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR). She is a Steering Committee Member of the Association of Commonwealth University’s (ACU) Supporting Research Community. She is a Research Standing Committee Member of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), an Executive Committee Member of the Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES) and a life member of the Comparative Education Society of India (CESI). She has received several awards for her exemplary teaching, research, and community engagement. She was a Fulbright teaching fellow in the United States in 2005.
She received Phi Beta Delta Honor Society Medallion for her contribution to International Education, the Washington Centre Civic Engagement award, and Graduate Women Victoria International Doctoral Scholarship. Her doctoral thesis received honourable mention as a runner-up to the 2016 Gail. P. Kelly award for an outstanding doctoral dissertation that addresses social justice and equity issues in an international context by the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).
In 2016, she was also selected as an Emerging New Scholar fellow of the Oceania Comparative and International Education Society (OCIES). She was awarded the University of Melbourne Teaching Certification from their Centre for Studies of Higher Education in 2015. She has published over 20 research articles in internationally peer-reviewed journals and edited books. She has served for over 4 years as the Associate Editor of Routledge journal- Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education. Currently, Dr. Mukherjee is working on 2 book projects and serving as an International Advisory Board member of the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education and an editorial board member of the Journal of Underrepresented and Minority Progress.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Dr. Liem Gai Sin currently serves as director of the Association of International Business and Professional Management (AIBMP), an international, interdisciplinary organization committed to advancing international business, business communication research, education, training, and professional management practice. He is also Full lecturer at the School of Business at Ma Chung University and visiting professor in multiple universities in Indonesia and overseas.
Liem Gai Sin is also the founder of International Youth Collaboration (IYC) and owns a logistic and export-import company. He has been involved in many research projects, received several research grants, scholarships, and educational awards. He has published numerous journal articles in venues including IEEE, APBITM, JIBM and wrote a book chapter in The Handbook of Experiential Learning in International Business that is published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. He was also a columnist on Entrepreneurship magazine and was an external reviewer of AIB and APIBTM.
Cross-culture, international business, organization structure, education, entrepreneurship, marketing
Interested in Serving as a Country Director?
If you are located in a country where we have a current Country Director (listed above), please reach out to the Country Director to see if there are opportunities to collaborate and work with them.
If you are located in a country where we do not have a current Country Director, we encourage you to apply if: (1) you are interested in serving as an ambassador for STAR, and (2) have an idea for an initiative that aligns with the mission and vision of STAR.
Please fill out the application find more information about application materials here. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Please e-mail Dr. Natalie Cruz, Director of Cross-Border Initiatives, if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.