Homa’s work has spanned co-creating the first country strategies through a gender lens for the World Bank in the 1980s, to guiding schools and leaders through inclusive, anti-racist strategic growth during the pandemic. She is the author of the best-selling Growing Up Global (Random House), a sought after expert for television and other interviews, a leadership coach and an advisor and trainer for schools, colleges and companies around the world.
Homa is the co-founder of the Oneness Lab, where she helps schools and companies go ‘deeper than diversity,’ and the Big Questions Institute, where she leads professional learning opportunities to build capacity and design the future with fearless inquiry for individuals, schools, districts, boards and education-related organizations.
I believe we are at a collective turning point. We must learn to fundamentally re-imagine society’s institutions starting with those that serve our children. Outmoded mindsets rooted in scarcity, division and exclusion lie at the root of the profound challenges threatening our relationships, our livelihoods and our planet — systemic racism, extreme poverty and wealth, health and education disparities, gender violence and climate change.
We need to tap into fearless inquiry, to find opportunity in crisis. To do this, I believe we must learn to:
1. Make global citizenship the new normal. As an exile from my birth country, reflections on identity, home, belonging and justice feel baked into my DNA. Embracing a mindset that simultaneously loves my culture and the wider world has empowered and inspired me, and I strive to share what I have learned, widely. Through a longtime, regular practice of action, reflection, study and consultation, I came to see there are tangible and simple solutions that empower people to bridge “us” versus “them” and help every citizen, across the life cycle, consider themselves as truly global citizens. And, with this awareness, take action to build a better world, starting at home.
2. Build purpose and belonging into every step. Through my writing, speaking and advising I help my clients build purpose and belonging by deepening connections to each other — and to our wider world. I link a global mindset with action through a deeper understanding of authentic diversity, equity and inclusion. Creating coherence between what is deeply personal and hyper-local with what is impact-making and global in scope requires new skills and dispositions.
3. Seek service beyond ourselves. When we feel what we do matters, when we live with a sense of service beyond ourselves — we find purpose. Learning and working with purpose builds motivation, quality work, and ultimately, joy.
4. Create safety to unleash innovation. Research shows psychological safety is the single biggest contributor to unleash innovation — the safety to bring our whole selves to our work, to feel truly seen, and to reciprocate empathy embodied as “belonging.” In this context, global citizenship and deep inclusion address core human needs for living and thriving on our planet today — and for making a contribution that matters.
5. Center unheard voices. Whenever I take on a project it’s vital for me to listen to voices on the margins that have been left out of the conversation, to consider overlooked cultural and human contexts, and research the work of BIPOC authors and elders. This calls for a process that is ‘invitational’ more than confrontational, that calls people in, not out.
For 30 years, I’ve brought my experience across a wide range of sectors to provide creative solutions for diversity, inclusion, innovation, global citizenship, globalization trends and futures thinking. Together with our collaborators and communities, I believe we must learn, together, to create authentic, lasting change.
Homa leading Zoom calls. Since March 2020, Homa has led dozens of groups through interactive online “workinars,” virtual board retreats, reflect + recharge self-care sessions, online courses, coaching sessions, webinars, workshops, keynotes and more.
Born in Iran, raised in the U.S., and having lived in South America and Africa, Homa Sabet Tavangar’s life and work have led her on a journey exploring the roots of purpose, innovation and belonging.
Homa connects timely topics with the timeless desire to work with intention and make a difference — whatever one’s circumstances. As co-founder of BigQuestions.Institute and OnenessLab.com, she partners with thought leaders dedicated to re-imagining learning and work while centering equity, inquiry and innovation.
Homa is the author of widely-acclaimed books, including Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World (Random House, 2009), Global Kids: 50+ Games, Crafts, Recipes & More from Around the World (Barefoot Books, 2019), The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners (Sage/Corwin, 2014), co-author of a 3-book series with Professor Yong Zhao on educating creative, entrepreneurial World Class Learners (Corwin, 2016), and contributor to Mastering Global Literacy, by Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, ed. (Solution Tree, 2013). Most recently she co-authored 9 BIG Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going “Back to Normal” (*Because “Normal” Wasn’t That Great to Begin With).
Her work has been hailed by international education and business leaders and media — from Dr. Jane Goodall to the BBC, NPR, NBC, ABC, Washington Post.com, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, Boston Globe, PBS, Scholastic, Parents Magazine, Rodale, and many more. Growing Up Global has been a best-seller in Parenting, Education, and Globalization categories, and introduced the possibilities of raising and educating global citizens to a wide audience. Her article on Empathy was Edutopia’s most shared piece for four continuous years. Global Kids is the winner of the 2021 Tilliwig Best Children’s Products award.
Homa translates culture, diversity, innovation and globalization trends and breakthroughs into academic and social-emotional learning in ways that empower CEOs, teachers, parents and learners from Kindergarten to graduate students thrive in a global context — and have fun along the way. She advises entertainment pioneers Disney Channel and Empatico.org on cultural bias, and NBC’s Sprout TV on script development and cultural elements in the ambitious, young children’s animated series “Nina’s World,” based in part on Growing Up Global, and starring Rita Moreno and Mandy Patinkin.
Homa has helped teachers and leaders reimagine how diverse people can work together — and thrive. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and an Adviser to Barefoot Books, International Schools Services, Quiet Revolution, Lincoln Financial Foundation’s civil rights education efforts, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and KidsHealth.org. Her articles have been published in the Huffington Post, PBS Parents, Momsrising, National Geographic, Edutopia, and ASCD’s Educational Leadership, among others.
With 20 years working in global competitiveness, organizational, business and international development, Homa led engagements with 100s of businesses, nonprofits and public organizations before turning her attention to global education, diversity, equity and inclusion. Early in her career she worked on pioneering microlending programs with USAID in Kenya, helped devise one of the World Bank’s first economic development initiatives focused specifically on women, and co-organized the Bank’s first Ethics and a Career in International Development conference.
Homa has helped build boards and has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including International House of Philadelphia, Temple University’s Center for International Business, Education and Research, the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls and the Tahirih Justice Center, a national leader protecting women and girls fleeing violence, where she served on the Executive Committee, development and DEI committees, and chaired the organization’s first multi-million dollar capital campaign during her eight years on the board. Currently, she serves on the board of the International School Services, the world’s nonprofit leader in international education. Homa also offers Board retreats and support to independent and international schools through the Big Questions Institute.
A global citizen, Homa has lived on four continents, speaks four languages, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA and Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. She is married, the mother of three daughters, ages 27, 25 and 17, and is an active volunteer in her home community outside Philadelphia.
``After 12 years of teaching on three continents I feel, deeply, the vital responsibility to instill global and cultural competence in my students. During my workshops with Homa, she empowered me to feel equipped and driven to meet these needs. She gave me the assurance that I am not alone in what drives me to teach – empowering and inspiring youth thought, consideration, and action. Our time together touched the origin of what energizes and excites educators. It also empowered me to shed the unnecessary aspects embedded in my teaching and encouraged me to make each moment count toward “becoming a friend to the whole human race.” Through her lens, I see my teacher-self as one who is in the business of happiness. My responsibility is to help my students meet that universal desire for meaningful relationships and purposeful contribution. I walked away with tools to make our learning personal by: opening with rich starts, zooming in and zooming out as we strive for global connections and competencies, providing me with more than 20 amazing resources I can build into my curriculum, and ways to give language and real-estate to empathy in our policy, curriculum, and assessment. As a teacher in an uncertain world I now feel like a coach ready to write the playbook for that world we want to live in.``
``When I think of Homa Tavangar the words that come to mind are warmth, caring and purpose. These traits comfort and inspire as Homa guides us to take brave steps to reinvent education. As author, consultant and presenter, Homa's body of work is impressive. Educators who listen to Homa and learn with Homa leave feeling empowered. As one of our NESA delegates, following Homa’s keynote, shared: ``Transformation is not impossible; it is within our reach. The transformation is real and we will emerge changed; As we reinvent education, there is great hope for the future.`` Always with a focus on student learning and well-being, Homa Tavangar helps educators see possibilities and make transformation real.``