Keynote speakers

Tony Belpaeme: What we learn from social robots

Tony Belpaeme is Professor at Ghent University and Professor in Robotics and Cognitive Systems at the University of Plymouth, UK. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and currently leads a team studying cognitive robotics and human-robot interaction. Recently, he coordinated the H2020 L2TOR project, studying how robots can be used to support children with learning a second language, and coordinated the FP7 ALIZ-E project, which studied long-term human-robot interaction and its use in paediatric applications. He worked on the FP7 DREAM project, studying how robots can be used to support Autism Spectrum Disorder therapy. Starting from the premise that intelligence is rooted in social interaction, Belpaeme and his research team try to further the science and technology behind artificial intelligence and social human-robot interaction. This results in a spectrum of results, from theoretical insights to practical applications.

Emer Beamer: What if we radically re-imagined the way we see children? What if saw children as people, people with great creative abilities who can make a contribution to the world?

Emer Beamer founded Designathon Works in 2014 to empower children globally to design a better world. Previously she co-founded Butterfly Works to co-create social change with young people in the Global South. The eLearning programs she co-created, ‘the World starts with Me’ (Uganda 2004) and ‘Learning about Living’ (Nigeria 2007) have been adapted for 15 countries in Africa and Asia and won prizes from the United Nations.┬áHer very first social enterprise was NairoBits, a web design school for young people from informal settlements of Nairobi. What began as an art project in 2000 is now a family of schools in 5 African countries with graduates securing jobs in the formal tech sector. Emer was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2016, and a Global Innovator of Dubai Expo 2020. She holds a BA in Economics from University College Dublin and a degree in Design from the Rietveld Academy. The connecting principle in her work is empowering learners to learn by becoming the author, creator and maker of their own world.