Yaacov Hecht is the founder and chairman of Education Cities - the Art of Collaborations. He is internationally recognized as a leader in democratic education, learning theory, and societal change. In 2005, The Marker, Israel's largest economic magazine, named Hecht one of the 10 most influential people in the social and educational areas in Israel. He convened the first International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC), an annual conference that continues to connect educators, schools, and organizations, and founded the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel (IDE), which focuses on making change in the public schools system through democratic education principals. He lives in Hadera, Israel.