Follow Bonnie and Roger to Macao!

Follow Bonnie and Roger as they head out to Macao to prepare for the 2019 World Forum event!
Keep coming back for updates, exclusive photos, and videos taken by Bonnie and Roger themselves!

DAY 13 – April 23, 2018

Goodbye Bangladesh

Here are some views of Dhaka as we make our way home.  Our hearts and heads are filled.

DAY 12 – April 22, 2018

A Play Day with BRAC

Our last day in Dhaka focused on play as we visited two of the BRAC Play Labs on the outskirts of the city and observed the energy and spirit of joyful, focused play among children, facilitators, and parents.  The environments were filled with color and art created by the community.  We had the honor of speaking with some of the mothers before we left; they shared the importance of this program in the lives of their children and their families.  A meeting with BRAC staff followed this visit:

Dr. Erum Mariam, Director, Brac Institute of Educational Development; Syeda Sazia Zaman, Senior Research Fellow, ECD Academic & Research; Ferdousi Khanom, Senior Lecturerer, Early Childhood Development Resource Centre; Nishat Fatima Rahman, Assistant Professor, ECD & Educational Leadership Mental Health & Research; Sarwat Sarah Sarwar, Communications and Advocacy Officer, BRAC Institute of Educational Development; Nahid Parvin, Program Specialist, BRAC Institute of Educational Development; and Shakila

DAY 11 – April 21, 2018

A Filled Day

Our meetings with Save the Children —  Meherun Nahar Shapna, Project Director-MLE; Roxana Khanom, Manager-Early Years Development; and Janet Zannatun-Nahar raised many ideas and leads for developing the program for 2019 World Forum and encouraging delegates from the region


A fascinating and connected conversation followed at UNICEF with Pawan Kucita, Chief, Education Section about language and the situation for the Rohingya people who suffer uncertainty and peril.  Brief and chance encounters with Salimah Kassam, Chief Executive Officer, AGA Khan Foundation (Bangladesh) and Salimah Kassam, Chief Executive Officer, AGA Khan Foundation (Bangladesh) and Mohammed Mohsin, Education Manager, UNICEF added surprise and depth to our day.

Our day also included a visit to the National Museum and a delicious dinner with Rabeya Begum and her husband Mujibor Rahman and Manjusree at Sajna Restaurant.


DAY 10 – April 20, 2018

Bangladesh Early Childhood Network (BEN)

After a visit to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum and a hearty chance encounter with Md. Nazrul Islam Khan, Curator, we prepared for our meeting with leadership representing the Bangladesh Early Childhood Network:  Dr. M. Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission; Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Professor Emeritus, BRAC; Mahmuda Akhter, Executive Director, ICHD, Institute of Child and Human Development, and, of course, Manjusree Mitra. 

Visit to a Program Serving Children and Parents Living in a Challenging Environment

Manjusree Mitra, World Forum National Representative for Bangladesh, who made all of the arrangements for our visit here, set up a visit to Mohammadpur and Aparajeyo-Bangladesh, a school for children who live in the slum. We met with Wahida Banu, Human Rights and Social Activist, Executive Director, Aparajeyo-Bangladesh; Md. Tohidul Islam, Controller Finance & Accounts; Mr. Julfiker, Co-Ordinator; and Ms Rojina, Centre Director – and, of course, the children! We received flowers and welcome and enjoyed classroom visits to teachers and children, listened to stories and songs and lessons of various types, and were entertained with song and dance performed by the children – and then we all danced!  It was wild and happy.

DAY 9 – April 19, 2018

Reunion in Dhaka

Our first Bangladesh experience was a reunion dinner Flambé restaurant with old friends who have been to World Forums over the years. You will remember meeting them — Manjusree Mitra and her sons Shounok and Shoumick, Mohammed Shah Alam, Anjum Nahid Chowdhury and her son Galibe Ishrat Chowdhury, Golam Kibria, Rabeya Begum and her husband Mujibor Rahman, and Mohammed Shaheen. We are eagerly suggesting that our next reunion be at 2019 WF in Macao!

DAY 8 – April 18, 2018

Sharing World Forum Plans with The Salvation Army

Elsa Tsang, Senior Programme Officer, Learning Diversity & Projects, Educational Services Department, The Salvation Army, Hong Kong and Macau Command shared her passion around children with special needs of all kinds. This issue has come up several times in recent discussions and we’ll need to strategize how it can best be included in the 2019 WF program. We toured a nursery school, met talented staff and eager children and learned about the work of The Salvation Army. This was a good finale to our brief work opportunity in Hong Kong. And warm pineapple buns on the street for dinner.

DAY 7 – April 17, 2018

Meeting with Environmental Activists

Our first meeting in Hong Kong was with Baohua Yan, Deputy Secretary General, Mangrove Conservation Fund; Huan Cao, Project Manager; and Sharon Lin, CSR Manager, Danone. What a way to start the day! We learned about the outdoor learning environment that they are creating in collaboration with Nature Explore that will be the first nature playground for children in China. It was so exciting to see how they integrated a profound respect for nature with local plants, birds, designs. Brainstorming with them was delightful and set in motion many ideas and future discussions. 

DAY 6 – April 16, 2018

Farewell for Now, Macao

We wrapped up this visit to Macao with lengthy meetings with Sherwin Lucas, Director, Events Service and Tyrone Chan, whom you’ll remember from a previous report and lunch at the Xin Asian Hotpot & Seafood Restaurant, my new favorite restaurant at the Sheraton. Roger met with Christie Lai, Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, about subsidy application and visa support. Karen Choo, Director of Sales at the Sheraton, joined Sherwin and Tyrone to send us on our way. We took the water ferry to Hong Kong and had dinner at the Celestial Court, Chinese Restaurant.  The baked fried rice with mango and seafood was fabulous. 

Visit to Hou Kong Middle School (Macau) 

Even though the children had left for the day, Jane Niu, Assistant Principal, gave us a memorable tour of this large school, serving 1400 children from 3 years through secondary with an emphasis on the arts, sports, play, and language.  Think koi, pianos, dance, studio, gardens.  It’s quite a school.

Visit to Macau Anglican College

Roger toured this school and met these passionate educators on his first trip to Macao, so I’ve been hearing about them. It was a delight to meet them in person and spend time with children and teachers as well. One class was learning the teddy bear version of what I know as the Duck Duck Goose game—they were having a a great time as they got the hang of it, choosing where to gift the bear and then running to place.  Robert Alexander, Principal; Lanny Thedy, Head of Kindergarten Section; and Joanne Georgeson are eager to welcome delegates on the 2019 Center Tours. They will be helping spread the word about 2019 and encouraging educators here to present their expertise in the program. Joanne agreed to serve as the WF National Representative for Macao—we welcome her to this new role.  

DAY 5 – April 15, 2018

Touring Macao

Destination China arranged a tour of Macao with Wilma Lao, who took us many places and shared much about the culture, architecture, history and stories of Macao. Wilma loves to talk and we listened as fast as we could. Some of our sights included: St. Dominic’s Church, the Ruins of St. Paul’s, Senado Square, Coloane Village, Mount Fortress and the Macao Museum. We’ve also visited Taipa, seen Mainland China across the water, viewed the shipyard damaged by the typhoon, and enjoyed diverse areas and neighborhoods. And yes, we gave in to temptation and enjoyed another egg tart—or was it two?

DAY 4 – April 14, 2018

Dining in Macao

Destination China Team of Gunther, Bruno and Sam, took us to lunch at Vic’s Restaurante in the Rocks Hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf. Bruno introduced us to Executive Chef Martinho Moniz who shared his love of cooking that came from growing up close to the earth in a farm in a small town in Portugal.  Note his beautiful seafood below. The egg tart, from Lord Stow’s Bakery, is very popular here and quite delicious. 

Meeting with Destination China

Our meetings with the team of Destination China focused on buses, decorations, details, no host dining, center tours, city tours, event staff, printing and audio-visual.  Our six hours with Gunther Homerlein, General Manager, DOC DMC Macau/Hong Kong; Bruno Simões, Managing Director; and Sam Li, Project Manager; were productive and exciting as we found this team to be creative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

Our Work with Grand Sheraton Staff Continues

We are beginning to know the Convention Services staff of the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central who will be our teammates in creating a spirit of welcome for you.

We met for several complicated and productive hours with Manager, Tyrone Chan; Events Service, Karen Lei; Assistant Manager, Kuan Tong Hoi; Technical Manager, Joanne Lio; Assistant Director/Reservations, Kirsten Si; Supervisor Front Office, and Savannah.

They are committed to take the best care of everyone and to make sure that everything runs smoothly and tastes delicious.

First Views of Macao and Grand Sheraton

Visits to The Education and Youth Affairs Bureau and The International School of Macao

This first day of on the ground planning began with a visit to the department of education in Macao where we met with Ng Mei Kei, Chief of Division of Pre-School and Primary Education and Hon I San Candida.  We asked for their permission and support in selecting centers for the Center Tour program for 2019 World Forum.  They are eager to work with the World Forum to create the opportunity for delegates to learn about early care and education in Macao. 

Next we toured The International School where, as always, we enjoyed the stories of the environment and interactions with the children and teachers.  Observing programs in action has always been one of our great pleasures, and this beautiful school is no exception.  We met with Howard Stribbell, Head of School; Nick Chignall, Kindergarten Coordinator; John Crawford, Founder, International Quality Education and were taken care of by Pauline Ma, Executive Assistant to Head of School.  Nick did a wonderful job of helping us understand the vision of the school, the children were most welcoming and eager to introduce themselves, Howard  helped us understand the regulation of schools in Macao, and John shared the history of TIS.  TIS will be one of the schools on the Center Tours and we look forward to working with them to spread the word about 2019 World Forum to other international schools.

DAY 3 – April 13, 2018

We arrived late at night, travel weary and excited to be “home”.

DAY 2 – April 12, 2018

We’ve arrived in Taipei. Wayne offered to take our photo so we asked him to join us!

DAY 1 – April 11, 2018

Back to the Café More Specials

On our way.  Macau here we come. 2019 World Forum is happening!