Conference Speakers


Philip O’Brien

President, Association Montessori Internationale

Philip O’Brien is currently Senior Adviser at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. He was previously Executive Vice President for Communications Advocacy and Development at the Foundation. Prior to joining Elizabeth Glaser, Philip worked for UNICEF in a number of positions and roles, including as Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe, and Director of Private Partnerships and Fundraising. He has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, US and Europe. He holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Wales, Swansea UK.


Lynne Lawrence

Executive Director, Association Montessori Internationale

Lynne Lawrence has been the Executive Director of AMI since June 2008, and prior to this held the position of AMI General Secretary ad interim (2007). She was also head of the AMI Human Resources Committee. Lynne was Director of Training and Schools at the Maria Montessori Training Organisation (MMTO), now known as the Maria Montessori Institute, since 1989. Lynne actively promotes AMI’s involvement in Montessori educational projects in developing countries, alongside the many other areas of the association’s work, including teacher training programmes globally and ancillary Montessori programmes, research and development supported by the AMI board, committees and staff.


Anne Mette Friis

Head of Children’s Rights Education UNICEF Denmark

Anne Mette Friis has been employed at UNICEF for 14 years. She deals with the UN Child Convention and is the organisation’s expert on children’s rights. She is especially concerned with advocacy and information, but she is also involved in UNICEF’s global work. She has visited many UNICEF projects worldwide and she has for many years been chairman of an international board of directors consisting of rights experts from several OECD countries.


Kristine Høj Johnson

Montessori Teacher, Denmark

Kristine Høj Johnson is Head Teacher at Montessori International Preschool in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelors degree as a social worker from Skovtofte Seminarium in Virum, Copenhagen. Thereafter, she moved to Arizona, USA where she worked as a social worker for Prehab of Arizona for 5 years in behavioural health treatment homes and domestic violence shelters. She became an AMI Montessori Teacher in 2005, graduating from the Montessori Education Centre of Arizona. She trained in children’s yoga through Bright Yogis and was certified in 2012.


Bolette Daniels Beck

Assistant Professor, Music Therapy Education, Aalborg University

Bolette Daniels Beck has a PhD in Music Therapy and works as an Assistant Professor at Aalborg University. She has 20 years of clinical experience with different groups, including children in the autism spectrum. She is currently researching the effect of music and imagery with stress and trauma patients. She has also earlier worked as composer, musician and music pedagogue. From the ages of 18-22, she was active as a musician in the peace movement.


Madlena Ulrich

Montessori Teacher and Trainer, Norway

Madlena Ulrich trained as a Preschool Teacher in Norway at the University College of Buskerud and Vestfold (HBV) and took her original AMI 3-6 training in Dublin, Ireland in 1994-95. Since then she worked at a 0-15 environment situated in Eastern Norway. She did her AMI Training of Trainers with Molly O’Shaughnessy in Minnesota, USA and Ulla Wikefeldt, Sweden in 2008 – 2010. She is a member of the China Faculty who holds AMI 3-6 Training in Hangzhou and Shenzhen. She is also training students on AMI courses in Romania, Russia in addition to students in Norway. She is lecturing frequently all around the world.