Professor Dr Ger Graus OBE is a renowned figure in the field of education. He was the first Global Director of Education at KidZania, and, prior to that, the founding CEO of the Children’s University KidZania, where children aged 4 to14 can experience the world of work through role-play, is designed to inspire and empower: “from inspiration to aspiration”. Since its inception in 1999 in Mexico City, KidZania now has a presence in 30 cities on 5 continents with plans for further developments in some 20 locations including the USA, Canada, China and South Africa.
Professor Graus has been and is at the heart of innovation and project development such as the ‘Global Barometer of Children’s Aspirations’ concept, ‘KidZania World Online’, ‘Individual Pupil Participation Profiles’, ‘KidZtalks’, ‘KidZania Careers Weeks’, education ‘Think-Tanks’, ‘Ambassador Schools’, and independent evaluations by, amongst others the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Cass Business School, Havas Helia, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, and the Pinsky Centre as part of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia. Based on these evaluations’ findings, Professor Graus is now advocating a ‘Futures Awareness’ campaign in partnership with the world of work to globally introduce careers education into the primary school phase. After all, as he frequently reminds us: “Children can only aspire to what they know exists.” Professor Graus started at KidZania London in 2014, where he was responsible for developing the UK-wide education strategy, including partnerships with schools, Higher Education, commercial and third sector learning partners.
Before this, in 2007, he became the founding Chief Executive of the Children’s University. Under his leadership, the Children’s University became a multiple-award winning international charity providing 5 to 14-year-olds with exciting and innovative learning opportunities outside school hours. The Children’s University’s global reach now extends as far as Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East.
Professor Graus moved to the UK in 1983 when he began his teaching career at Taverham High School in Norwich. He next moved on to a management position at Winifred Holtby School in Hull. Subsequently, he became Education Adviser for Manchester City Council, introducing Modern Foreign Languages into the primary school phase, and later Senior Inspector for Salford City Council. After that, he became Director of the two Wythenshawe Education Action Zones based in the south of Manchester, leading improvements in both quality and standards across 29 schools.
Ger Graus was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Staffordshire University in 2011 and was made an Adjunct Fellow by the University of Adelaide in 2013. In 2018, he was granted the Education Leadership Award by the World Education Congress in Mumbai, India and, also in 2018, he was appointed as Academic Leader at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey. In 2019, Dr Graus was invited to become a Visiting Professor and Adjunct Fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. He is also a Guest Lecturer at the Moscow School of Management, Skolkovo. In 2022, Dr Graus was granted the award of Iconic Leader Creating A Better World For All by the Women Economic Forum (WEF).
In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List Ger Graus was made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to children.
Professor Graus now works with and advises organisations globally on the learning agenda in its widest sense, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); WISE as part of the Qatar Foundation; the UK Information Commissioner’s Office; Ashoka; the Oman Society for Educational Technology; the Instituto Ayrton Senna; the Polytech Museum Moscow; Young Guru Academy (YGA), Turkey; the Centre for Educational Technology (CET), Israel; as well as the business world, including the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA); The Insights Family; Twin Science; Verofax; the Education Company; Dorling Kindersley; Atlantic Productions; and Independent Films.
Professor Dr Ger Graus OBE is a member of the Bett Global Education Council; chairs the Beaconhouse School System’s Education Advisory Board, Pakistan, and the Kabuni Advisory Board, UK; is a Board Director at Hello Genius, USA; is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide’s Global Council; advises the Fondazione Reggio Children, Italy; and has been invited by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai to help shape the future of education in Dubai as a member of the Dubai Future Councils.
Professor Graus is a regular contributor in TES Global and for TommorrowsChild.TV. In 2020-2021, he hosted a Pearson webinar series, ‘#TheNewNormal, and had a column, ‘Becoming Me’, in The Week Junior.
Ger is also a frequent keynote speaker at some of the world’s leading education conferences, including Bett London, Asia, Brazil, LatAm, and Middle East; GESS Turkey, Indonesia and Middle East; CIIE, Mexico; EdCrunch, Russia; Innovate, USA; LEAP, Saudi Arabia; TEDx, USA; YGA, Turkey.
In his book ‘Natural Born Learners’, author Alex Beard says of Professor Graus: “In learning terms, Ger Graus is Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka.”
“Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka' is how I describe Ger in my book, and I'm standing by it. He's a brilliant education thinker, a champion of true learning and a wise and wonderful human being.”
Alex Beard, Author ‘Natural Born Learners’
“Ger's exceptional vision, total focus on developing the 'whole child' and ability to realise incredible opportunities for children outside of the classroom are inspiring. The fact that he was able to take this work to his role at KidZania where so many children on a global scale are able to experience these real-life inspirational 'eye openers' as I term them is not surprising given his energy and drive and belief in the 'hands on' experiences of the real world in developing young people. Eleven years and three organisations on after I first heard Ger first speak I am delighted that our children still benefit from his contributions and leadership.”
Hilary Macaulay, Chief Executive at Venturers Trust
“… Ger is a pioneer and a visionary. His dedication and passion for making a positive impact on the lives of all children is truly inspirational. You can't help but glow under his light …”
Mohammed Isap Co-Founder Tauheedul Education Trust
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