Mathias Urban, Phd - Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC) at Dublin City University, Ireland

Professor Mathias Urban, PhD, is Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC) at Dublin City University, Ireland. 

Mathias works on questions of integrated early childhood systems, diversity and equality, social justice, and professionalism in diverse socio-cultural contexts. He continues to be intrigued by how what one might call the colonisation of childhood in modern society has been mirrored by the colonisation of our professional field and academic discipline by external agendas, interests, and ‘idea-forces’ (a term he learned from Pedro Sotolongo). He comes to this work with an appreciation of the self-organising power of complex systems (autopoiesis), and John Dewey’s ‘faith in the capacity of human beings for intelligent judgment and action if proper conditions are furnished’, all linked to the wonder and light in the eyes of a two-year-old and their persistent question: WHY? Taken seriously, that all renders our work profoundly political, asking fellow academics to be actors, not bystanders, in the policymaking process. The ‘ecosystem’ that he agrees it takes, needs careful consideration of its context and strategic engagement with its inequities, injustices, and vested interests. 

Mathias’ ‘notable achievements’ in this regard? Probably developing the concept of ‘competent systems’ and establishing the concept in the global early childhood debate. Something less known about Mathias? The story behind his Twitter handle @froebelbanjo. 

News on the Keynote Speakers will follow soon!