Board of Directors
Dr Christine Chen
Dr Christine Chen joined ARNEC as a member of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Dr. Chen is the Founder President of the Association for Child Care Educators (ACCE) and Founder and current President of the Association for Early Childhood Educators (AECES). Dr. Chen received her BA in Social Work from the University of Singapore, continued with her Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, New York City and the Doctor of Education from the George Washington University. Her first work experience in Singapore was in the company sponsored child care centre for factory workers’ children, she learnt about the importance of having qualified teachers to ensure quality education for ALL children. As a resulted she initiated the Association to advocate for teacher development, continuous learning and career pathways. She has been advocating for professional development and learning for early childhood educators for 25 years.
Internationally, she is the President (2015-1017), Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and Deputy Chairwoman (2014-2019) of the Asia-Pacific Preschool Education Association. She represents Singapore in the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) and serves on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Early Childhood Education and the International Journal of Early Childhood Education and Care. She is also a Member of the Advisory Board of IndoCare – Indonesia Centre for Autism Resource and Expertise and has done voluntary work in Vietnam with the National College of Education, Hanoi through the Singapore International Foundation. In her advocacy work in Singapore, Dr. Chen served as a Member of the Child Care Personnel Accreditation Committee with the then Ministry of Community Development to look into accreditation matters as well as professional development for the child care profession. She sits on the Early Childhood Care and Education Manpower, Skills and Training Council. And she served as a Member of the Policy Study Workgroup on Education and Human Capital Excellence (2007-2009).
For all her voluntary and community services, she was awarded the Public Service Award, the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (PBM – 1994) and Volunteer of the Year Award, 2010 from the President of Singapore.
Cliff Meyers joined ARNEC as a Members of the Board of Directors in June 2017. He is considered the ‘Founding Father’ of ARNEC, instrumental in establishing the ARNEC network in 2007 in his role as Regional Education Advisor for UNICEF EAPRO. He also played a significant role in negotiating the transition of the ARNEC Secretariat from the EAPRO Office in Bangkok to its first location in Singapore. He has over 20 years of experience as Education Chief and Technical Advisor with UNICEF in Nepal, Thailand, Lao PDR and most recently in Myanmar where he oversaw a team of 20 education staff implementing early childhood development, primary, non-formal and middle school education programmes. He co-led the Education sector and coordinated with Development Partners, civil society and Government of Myanmar.
Dr Mae Chu Chang
Dr Mae Chu Chang joined ARNEC as a Member of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Prior to her retirement from the World Bank after 30 years, she was the head of the Human Development Sector in Indonesia and Lead Education Specialist of the World Bank. She led a comprehensive program of support for Indonesian education from early childhood to higher education amounting to about US$1.5 billion. Prior to her posting in Indonesia, she was the Lead General Educator for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. She worked intensively in countries such as Iran, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan to help the governments develop comprehensive education reform strategies. In Egypt and Jordan, she led a sectoral policy dialogue which resulted in a comprehensive development framework for the education and training sector from the early childhood to the tertiary education stage. These government strategies were supported by World Bank’s technical advice and financial support through projects and programs in partnership with other donors. Prior to joining the MENA region, she served in South Asia for six years and won a Human Development Award for Excellence for her work on girl’s education in Pakistan. Before South Asia, she worked in education in a diverse set of countries in East Asia, including China, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos.
Prior to joining the World Bank in 1983, Dr. Chang held various positions in the U.S. Department of Education including: Coordinator of International Affairs, and Team Leader for bilingual education. She also undertook various advisory and consulting assignments to Boston school districts, OECD and United States Information Agency.
Dr. Chang holds a Doctoral Degree in Education and M.A. in Psycholinguistics from Boston University, U.S.A. She graduated with a B.A. from Melbourne University, Australia.
Dr Sheldon Shaeffer
Dr Sheldon Shaeffer joined ARNEC as a Member of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Dr Shaeffer was Director of UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok for over seven years, retiring at the end of 2008. A citizen of Canada, he was educated in history (B.A.), anthropology (M.A.), and comparative international education (Ph.D.) at Stanford University. He has taught, done research, and worked in development programmes in Southeast Asia for over 25 years – as a high school teacher in Malaysia, as an anthropologist and an education programme officer for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, and as the regional education advisor for UNICEF in Bangkok. He was also for 10 years the Director of Education and Population Programmes for the International Development Research Centre in Canada and later was a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Educational Planning (UNESCO) in Paris. Before moving back to Bangkok with UNESCO, he was head of UNICEF’s global education programme in New York for three years. His current interests, reflected in numerous consultancies for a range of development agencies, include early childhood development, language policy in education and the use of mother tongue, teacher management and development, inclusive education (both in regard to disabilities and more broadly defined), child-friendly education, school-based management, and HIV and AIDS and education.