Featured Guests

Below are some of the distinguished guests we have hosted. Among our affiliated lecturers, speakers, and moderators are professionals in academic, private, and public fields.


Thoai Nguyen

Thoai Nguyen is SEAMAAC’s CEO. He is a first generation Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States in 1975. Thoai is a long time community organizer and advocate for more than 30 years and has worked on community organizing and development projects in communities throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America. Thoai was a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship in 1988, and the Charles Bannerman Fellowship in 1995. He was a 2008 recipient of Harvard Business School Asian American Alumni Association’s scholarship to Harvard Business School’s Strategic Management Program, and has been honored by Bread & Roses Community Fund, Penn Asian Senior Services, HIAS PA and 6ABC News for his social justice work. He serves on the Board of Philadelphia Community Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, and PASSi. Thoai has also served as Commissioner for five Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission in the past decade and currently serves on the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs, Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council and the Mayor’s Commission on Poverty.

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Dr. Dan Wagner

Dr. Dan Wagner is a Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy, Director of the International Literacy Institute, Founding Director of the federally-funded National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL), and Director of Penn GSE’s International Educational Development Program (IEDP). Dr. Wagner received his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Michigan; he has also attended or worked at Harvard University, University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Paris, and Cornell University. He later served in the Peace Corps in Morocco.

Dr. Wagner has extensive experience in national and international educational issues, and has been an international development advisor to UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, USAID, DFID, and others. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Wagner has also served as Chair of the Brookings Global Research Task Force on Learning. He was the recipient of the 2014 UNESCO Confucius International Literacy Prize. 

Dr. Nancy Hornberger

Dr. Hornberger is internationally known for her work in bilingualism and biliteracy, ethnography and language policy, and Indigenous language revitalization. She researches, lectures, teaches, and consults on multilingual education policy and practice in the United States, the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador), Brazil, China, Singapore, South Africa, and other parts of the world. Dr. Hornberger received her Ph.D. in educational policy studies in 1985 and joined the faculty at Penn's Graduate School of Education the same year, later also joining Penn’s Anthropology Graduate Group. She served as acting and interim dean of Penn GSE from 1993–1995, held the Goldie Anna chair from 1993–1998, and has directed/chaired Educational Linguistics for more than 20 years. From 2000–2015, she served as convener of Penn GSE's annual international Ethnography in Education Research Forum, now in its fourth decade.



Dr. Nikhil Anand

Dr. Anand is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology here at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the political ecology of urban infrastructures as well as the social and material relations that they entail. Through Ethnographic research, he studies how natures, technologies, and specific gatherings of experts and publics are mobilized to effect environmental projects and relations of difference in postcolonial cities. His first book, Hydraulic City, explores how cities and citizens are made through the everyday maintenance of water infrastructures in Mumbai, India.