Sheldon Shaeffer was Director of UNESCO's Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok for over seven years, retiring at the end of 2008. A citizen of Canada, he was educated in history (B.A.), anthropology (M.A.), and comparative international education (Ph.D.) at Stanford University. He has taught, done research, and worked in development programmes in Southeast Asia for over 25 years including as the regional education advisor for UNICEF in Bangkok. He was also for 10 years the Director of Education and Population Programmes for the International Development Research Centre in Canada and later was a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Educational Planning (UNESCO) in Paris. Before moving back to Bangkok with UNESCO, he was head of UNICEF's global education programme in New York for three years. The professional interests to be to be pursued through RISE, in addition to early childhood development, include language policy in education and the use of mother tongue, child-friendly and inclusive education (both in regard to disabilities and more broadly defined), and teacher development and management.