We build programs that empower people to create the future.

We build programs that empower people to create the future.

About Bon Education

Bon Education is an educational consultancy and program design studio. We engage with, research and understand our clients' problems, goals and values. Then we explore creative ways to translate those values into action.

Bon Education takes its name from the Japanese word bonsai - 盆栽. Both of Bon Education's founders started their education careers in Japan. “Bon” means a container for growth. When we design educational programs, we always endeavor to create containers for growth and conditions that are conducive to learning.

Explore this page to find out about Bon Education:

Our Impact

We believe in the power of programs to make the world a better place. Programs provide support. Programs teach new skills. Programs bring people together to meet and network. Programs expand horizons and open up new perspectives. Programs are all around us! Programming is how we organize our world. Programs can help your organization take responsibility for the impact that you are designing through a creative, systematic process.

We help our clients harness the power of programs to translate their values into action...not just talk.

Over the past 12 years, we have been fortunate to work with amazing clients, supporting their vision to reach out and empower thousands of people. Scale certainly does not tell the whole story, but it is an indicator of our capabilities.

Key Stats

2009 50,000 8+ years
More than a decade of experience building programs in developing markets More than 50,000 beneficiaries directly impacted through our programs Our clients stay with us, some for up to 8 years or more!

Read some case studies about the projects that we have completed over the past decade.

Our Approach

We design solutions using a programmatic approach that considers the various systems involved in a particular area of focus. Based on our analysis of those systems, we propose solutions that create sustainable engagement, motivation and learning over time.

These systems may include:

  • National and international priorities (like the UN SDGs)
  • Local and community-based factors
  • Individual intrinsic and extrinsic systems of motivation
  • Governing frameworks (like national curriculums)

By taking a holistic, ecological view of programs, we are able to deliver programs that are more sustainable.

Our approach to learning design draws on a multi-dimensional framework with many influences. Our core design philosophy centers around these main theories:

  • Challenge & Project-Based Learning
  • Design & Innovation Studios
  • Social Constructivism
  • Universal Design for Learning

Our Team

We are a team of learning designers, program managers, coaches and consultants. Our team has experience designing and delivering learning programs, content and engagement initiatives for organizations across the Middle East, North America and Asia.

Anna Batchelder, CEO & Co-Founder

Anna is passionate about using experiential education and technology to promote meaningful learning, cross-cultural understanding and great ideas. She has lived and worked in the UAE for 12 years and has led education program development, product development and professional development initiatives for organizations across the Middle East, North America and Asia for nearly 20 years. Anna regularly presents on topics about learning, mentorship and coaching. Anna holds an MA in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from the College of William and Mary, with additional studies at the Columbia Business School, Oxford University and The Coaches Training Institute. She is a mother of three, yogi, entrepreneur, wife, CPCC (certified professional co-active coach), and lover of travel and learning.

Christopher Batchelder, Creative Director & Co-Founder

Christopher is a creative ideator, designer and learning experience curator. He draws from a vast collection of diverse interests to find inspiration for his learning and education designs. He has lived and worked in the Middle East for 18 years and has led creative multidisciplinary teams in the UAE to develop experiential STEM programs, cyber defense and computer learning workshops, entrepreneurship trainings, hospitality trainings, online virtual learning modules, hands­-on leadership and coaching programs and interactive courses for prison inmates, to name a few. Christopher’s first question to ask when designing is, “What if I didn’t know ANYTHING about this problem? Where would I start? What would we create?” Christopher holds a professional certification in coaching from The Coaches Training Institute. He studied Ancient Greek Classics at Northwestern, receiving his BA from the Weinberg College of Arts and Science. He has worked and lived across the Middle East, Asia and North America and is a dedicated, life­long multiculturalist and art lover.

Danna Herradura, Program Operations Manager

Danna’s interest in organizing programs and creating experiences started when she worked as a backstage assistant and stage manager for various theatre shows in her university years. Her passion for empowering and enriching lives through the creation of heart-centered projects led her to pursue a career in a start-up company that aims to enable anyone, including those without bank accounts, to easily access financial services in the Philippines. Her experience varies from spearheading fundraisers for nonprofits, hackathons for start-ups, tours and shows for multinational companies to camps and workshops for schools and government organizations. Having coordinated multiple trainings, workshops and long-term educational programs for clients across the country, Danna understands what it takes to run effective learning programs in the UAE and works tirelessly to ensure their successful delivery. She holds a BA in Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines and a minor in Theatre Arts.

Michelle Hollett, Senior Editor & Content Developer

With backgrounds in journalism and international education, Michelle pulls from both fields and works at their intersection to encourage learning opportunities and intercultural connections. In addition to reporting for a newspaper, Michelle has worked in a university study abroad office, co-led conflict resolution teacher trainings in Colombia and co-written curriculum for various clients in the Middle East on topics including teacher and corporate professional development, distance education and STEM. She has spent the past eight years focusing on educational content for youth and adults located primarily in the UAE. Michelle has also been a part of various international organizations, including UNESCO and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. Michelle holds a BA dual degree in Journalism and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a Master of Arts degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Laura Marino, Education Program Manager

Laura’s passion for developing and inspiring young minds is what steered her into the educational world in the first place. A fully qualified teacher, Laura has had the opportunity to teach in various countries, from the UK to Belgium and more recently in the UAE. This has allowed her to learn and understand the importance of integration and the value of learning in different languages and cultures. She has lived and worked in the UAE for 11 years, where she also gained experience in various event management and project management positions, leading projects for private and public entities (FP7, Modhesh and several start-ups). Laura holds a BA (Hons) in Primary Teaching (specialized subjects art and drama), receiving a First Class Honours and the Bruno Canigiana Award for Outstanding Contribution to Drama for the Bachelor Thesis. Laura is a mum of three rambunctious kids and, in her free time, she enjoys musical theatre and dance.

Sarah Taylor, Learning Designer & Educational Content Developer

Sarah combines her interdisciplinary and multicultural experience to create engaging educational content that encourages depth of thinking, builds understanding and broadens intellectual horizons. Sarah has a diverse range of experience, from developing community engagement practices in urban planning in both the UK and UAE, to conducting research in the fields of heritage, engineering and place-making. She has also worked with the UAE government designing a number of training and educational programs for youth, families, businesses and government entities, including initiatives that foster social cohesion and promote widespread understanding and adoption of tolerance within society. With an MSc in Urban Studies from University College London and a BA in Geography from King's College London, she has a fascination for exploring how people interact with one another and the world around them. Her desire is to inspire this sense of curiosity for the world through her work, encouraging new insights and perspectives.

Extended Team, via interstory Network

In addition to the core team, we engage consultants and advisors from the interstory network to support our work. interstory is a global community of program directors, L&D managers, community organizers, civil servants, marketing and CSR professionals who support each other in creating, leading and managing high-impact programs. Our network includes program professionals across the world specializing in museums, STEM, culture, workforce readiness and more.

Contact Bon Education

Reach out to us to start a discussion about how we can create positive impact together!