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ROBERT J. TORRES, PhD

Robert Torres has spent his career creating highly innovative learning environments. He is a learning scientist whose research and philanthropic work has focused on the impact games have on cognitive development. He has vast experience in education, research, philanthropy, start- ups and digital media.

Robert joined the Teach the World Foundation as its Chief Strategy Officer to further its mission of educating  millions of children across the globe using game-based digital solutions.

Before joining Teach the World, Robert served as chief learning scientist at EkStep, a philanthropic organization based in India. While there he was part of the core team that successfully built an Android-based learning platform to educate 200 million students.

Prior to EkStep, Robert served as a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for 5 years. There he created and managed a highly successful Games for Learning and Assessment funding strategy which resulted in the creation of over 10 research labs across the US, including at MIT, the University of Washington, Arizona State University and Electronic Arts. These labs have generated an array of empirical studies showing the viability of games as highly effective learning environments.

Before his work at the Gates Foundation, Robert founded an education consulting firm that created over 30 new public schools in NYC over an 8 year period, including Quest-to-Learn, the highly acclaimed games and learning school for grades 6-12. Prior to that, Robert was the school principal of The Learning Project, a very successful middle school he co-designed with a group of teachers.

Robert’s work is driven by a quest to improve education for poor children around the world. His single teenage mom emigrated to NYC with him when she was 16, and Robert grew up in some of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods. To document the impact of poverty and sub-standard education on his Puerto Rican family, Robert wrote and produced the documentary film NuyoricanDream. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by HBO and won multiple Outstanding Documentary awards in New York, Los Angeles and Paris.

Robert completed his BA at Oberlin College, was a Stanford University Research Fellow and received his doctorate with honors from New York University.

Robert meditates and exercises as much as he can, has traveled and lived in many countries, and almost never gives up an opportunity to learn more.