Monday, September 9, 2013

Tom Friedman's Take on Syria

Same War, Different Country -
This column by Tom Friedman pretty much sums up my sense of the issues facing us in Syria and, generally, in the Middle East.  We need to take a broader view of how to help the people of the Middle East establish a stable political and social society.   In the end, the kind of interventions we've seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya don't seem to solve the underlying issues in these countries--issues that have shaped the lives in the region since before World War I.   Middle Eastern culture demands a different kind of balance among politics, religion, and economics than we have the in West.

We continue to need a strong United Nations--or the equivalent on a regional level at least--to deal with issues like these.  Take away veto power from any one country and let's start solving the underlying problems.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

ICDE Conference Focuses on Global Open and Distance Education

Back in the 1990s, I chaired the ICDE World Conference when it was held at Penn State University in the US.  This fall,  the 25th ICDE World Conference on Open and Distance Learning will be held in Tianjin, China, 16-18 October 2013.  It promises to be one of the best.

Based around the theme of New Strategies for Global Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, the ICDE World Conference this year offers an impressive list of keynote speakers:

Pauline Gonzales-Pose, Chief, Section for Higher Education, UNESCO
Hans d'Orville, Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning, UNESCO
Asha Kanwar, President & CEO, Commonwealth of Learning
M.S. Vijay Kumar, Senior Associate Dean and Director, Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.
George Siemens, Associate Director, Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, Athabasca University, Canada
Yang Zhijian, President, The Open University of China
Mpine Makoe, Senior Researcher, Institute for Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa
Two plenary panel discussions will be held - on open educational resources and study support - with expert discussants representing varied perspectives:

Open educational resources panel:
Rory McGreal, UNESCO/ Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Open Educational Resources; Professor, Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University, Canada
Dr. Nizam, Executive Secretary, Board of Higher Education, Ministry of National Education, Indonesia
Griff Richards, Manager, Technology, Teaching and Learning Resources, African Virtual University
Wayne Mackintosh, Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Open Educational Resources; Director of the OER Foundation
Study support panel

Grace Javier Alfonso, Chancellor, University of the Philippines Open University
Alan Tait, Professor of Distance Education and Development, The Open University UK
Weiyuan Zhang, Head and Chief Researcher, Centre for Research in Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, School of Professional and Continuing Education, University of Hong Kong.
Yngve Troye Nordkvelle, Professor, Lillehammer University College, Norway; Chair of the Expert Group on Quality in ICT-supported education, Norway Opening Universities.
Almost 400 papers have been accepted for the conference on themes ranging from the Culture of ODL, to Educational Technology and Assisted Learning.

For more information and registration please see the conference website: