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More about HEC Global Learning Centre

HEC Global Learning Centre, based in London, promotes the values, aims and principles of global learning through all areas of education. 

HEC is part of the national Consortium of Development Education Centres (DECs) and a partner of Local4Global, the regional group of DECs in London and the South East.

Working globally: HEC works in partnership with schools, Local Authorities, Initial Teacher Education institutions, Development NGOs and other organisations. Leading for London on the DFID (Department for International Development) global learning strategy, HEC manages the London Global Teacher Network, launched at the British Museum and is developing a model for schools of Learning in a Global Context. 

HEC works closely with Think Global (formally the Development Education Association), DERC (the Development Education Research Centre based at the Institute of Education) and national sustainability and linking networks including SEEd (Sustainability and Environmental Education), Sustainable Schools Forum and Global Schools Partnership.

Working locally: HEC Global Learning Centre works closely with schools in Tower Hamlets through the Schools Library Service. HEC provides global learning resources including a series of leaflets, global boxes and Storytents on the themes of environment, homes, journeys, play and waste in addition to the Bengal box and tent.

HEC works with pupils and young people on a range of student voice and participation projects many of which are highlighted on the East End Talking website.

HEC developed the East End Talking website with children and teachers, to enable primary pupils in Tower Hamlets to create and present their work to share with other children and to learn about being active young citizens.

To find out what HEC has been doing click here to read about recent projects featured on this site or look at the HEC Newsletters.

Who we are

Mark Thorpe 
Originally trained as a secondary teacher, Mark has been working in Development Education for the last 10 years in projects around child labour, the Millennium Development Goals, youth participation and global dimension themes such as sustainability, diversity and global citizenship. He is a practitioner in Philosophy for Children (P4C), literacy and media, theatre and storytelling, child-centred mapping and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). Mark has lived and worked for a number of years in Southern Africa, as a teacher trainer, HIV/AIDS Educator, and international development consultant. He has a Masters in Development and Education.

Michael O’Meara
Michael trained as a primary school teacher and has worked in Tower Hamlets schools since 1983. In the early nineties he set up a charity The edIT Exchange to bring corporate funding into the classroom, to develop IT in Schools, as part of this he co-founded the UK Education Forum on CompuServe. Michael specialises in digital technologies and has been an IT consultant to HEC, Global Learning Centre, since 1996.


Michael teaches young people digital video skills and webpage design to create short film clips and webpages for HEC's website East End Talking of which he has been the coordinator since it's inception. The courses he runs for teachers on Digital Video have been described as “inspirational”. Michael is a Sapere trained Philosophy for Children facilitator for practice in the classroom.

Sharifa Khanom
Sharifa was first introduced to global learning in year 8 while she was involved in the Spanish Voices project, and has been keen to continue her understanding of development education ever since. Sharifa spent the last 10 years developing skills in projects around global issues, workshop delivery and administration. She delivers stop motion animation, bag making and refugee workshops. As an experienced seamstress, she has used her skills in the Storytents project - a literacy resource for schools. Sharifa organises and manages events and training for the Centre.

Margaret Burr
In addition to developing and running HEC Global Learning Centre for 20 years, Margaret has been involved in linking between communities in the global North and Global South for 25 years. She has developed a number of linking initiatives which have been funded by the Department for International Development and the European Union, as well as running workshops in the UK and Europe. She developed the ‘Toolkit for Linking: opportunities and challenges’ for BUILD (Building Understanding through International Links for Development) and UKOWLA (UK One World Linking Association) which was launched by Archbishop Tutu in 2007.  She is a Global School Partnership trainer.