25 - 27 August 2021


Ms Orla Quinlan

Ms Orla Quinlan is the Director of Internationalisation at Rhodes University, South Africa and has worked in Higher Education in South Africa, since 2011. Ms Quinlan served as the President of the International Education Association of South Africa, IEASA (2019-2020), successfully leading the organization through a challenging period, in response to the COVD pandemic.

Ms Quinlan has participated in panel discussions, presented at conferences and conducted workshops on a wide range of topics in Higher Education. She has served as a reviewer on two academic journals and has written journalistic articles pertaining to curriculum, intercultural competency and internationalization and has published teacher education materials. She co-authored the seminal work Gender Equity in Education, commissioned by the Department of Education 1997.


Formerly, part of Oxfam GB’s Senior Management team, Ms Quinlan provided strategic leadership and oversight to a global team working on Oxfam’s development partnerships, humanitarian and advocacy programmes, managing over 1000 programme-specific donor contracts, located across 70 countries. She has given seminars on leadership and strategy to large international NGOs. Her earlier humanitarian field work included being the Country Director of CONCERN’s programme response to the Great Lakes Crisis in Burundi, as well as the management of a variety of community engagement, education and humanitarian response programmes in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti. Ms Quinlan started her work life as a teacher in a disadvantaged area in Dublin.


Her academic background includes a B.Ed. and an MSc in Social Policy, Planning and Implementation in Developing countries, Education and Planning and Gender and Planning (London School of Economics and Political Science). Ms Quinlan is passionate about education, an advocate for social justice, embraces diversity and a life-long learner.