Mark Bray is Distinguished Chair Professor in Education at East China Normal University, Shanghai, and is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He began his career as a secondary school teacher in Kenya and Nigeria, and later joined universities in the United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea. He has long links with UNESCO, first as a consultant and then as Director of its International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). His decades of work at the University of Hong Kong commenced in 1986 (with four years of absence for the IIEP role), and in 2011 he was designated UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education. Mark Bray has been President of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong (CESHK), the US-based Comparative & International Education Society (CIES), and the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES). He has also played a major leadership role in the Board of Directors of the Comparative Education Society of Asia (CESA). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this interview, part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Dr. Bray talks about his work in international education with organizations such as UNESCO. As Bray puts it:
I have been privileged to work in and between multiple contexts and countries. Although born and educated in England, my first teaching jobs were in secondary schools in Kenya and Nigeria. They were culturally eye-opening, and provided additional exposure to neighboring Anglophone and Francophone Africa. I subsequently taught at the Universities of Edinburgh, Papua New Guinea and London, before moving in 1986 to the University of Hong Kong. From these bases, I undertook many consultancy assignments and research projects for such bodies as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank as well as for various non-governmental organizations and national governments. These arrangements have allowed me to operate “on both sides of the street”, crossing between the domains of academia and of practice in schools and policymaking. They have introduced me to cultures in rich, middle-income and lowincome countries, particularly in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the South Pacific, and to some extent, also in the Arab states and in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus consultancies have been in
countries as diverse as Dubai, Malta, Myanmar, Sudan, and Solomon Islands.
This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also interviewed Kristin Kew and Thomas Hatch.
Supercool! We just read a few of Bray’s publications in my International Education Planning course, and his “living on both sides of the street” sets a helpful example for what scholarship can look like in our increasingly globalized world.