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Speaker: Sir John Daniel, O.C. (former President & CEO of Commonwealth of Learning)

Sir John Daniel was educated at Christ’s Hospital and pursued his full-time university studies in Metallurgy at the universities of Oxford and Paris. Later he demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning by taking 25 years to complete a part-time Master’s degree in Educational Technology at Concordia University. The internship for that programme, which took him to the UK Open University in 1972, was a life-changing experience. He saw the future of higher education and wanted to be part of it.

This quest took him on an international odyssey with appointments at the École Polytechnique, Université de Montréal (professeur assistant/agrégé, 1969-73); Télé-université, Université du Québec (Directeur des Études, 1973-77); Athabasca University (Vice-President for Learning Services, 1978-80); Concordia University (Vice-Rector, Academic, 1980-84); Laurentian University (President/Recteur, 1984-90); The Open University (Vice-Chancellor, 1990-2001); UNESCO (Assistant Director-General for Education, 2001-04); and the Commonwealth of Learning (President, 2004-12).

His non-executive appointments have included the presidencies of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, the Canadian Association for Distance Education and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. He also served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

He now works on various international projects: as Education Master in the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy, China; Senior Advisor to Academic Partnerships International; and Chair, pro bono, of the UWC (United World Colleges) International Board.

Among Sir John’s 350 publications are his books Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education (Kogan Page, 1996) and Mega-Schools, Technology and Teachers: Achieving Education for All (Routledge, 2010).

Sir John is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford University (1990), the College of Preceptors (1997) and the Commonwealth of Learning (2002). He won the Symons Medal of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2008 and his 32 honorary degrees are from universities in 17 countries.

The three countries where he has lived and worked have each recognised his contributions with national honours: France – Ordre des Palmes Académiques : Chevalier ‘pour services rendus à la culture française en Ontario’ (1986); Officier : ‘pour services rendus à la culture française au Royaume-Uni’ (1991); United Kingdom – Knight Bachelor ‘for services to higher education’ (1994); Canada – Officer of the Order of Canada ‘for his advancement of open learning and distance education in Canada and around the world’ (2013).


Sub-theme: Quality and Equity in Learning

Speaker: Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil (President & Vice-Chancellor of Open University Malaysia)

Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil, 59, currently serves as the President/Vice-Chancellor of OUM, which is the first ODL institution in the country. OUM was established in 2000 as a private university under its holding company, Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations Sdn Bhd (METEOR), which is a consortium of 11 Malaysian public universities. He is also the Group Chief Executive Officer of this holding company.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Master’s and PhD in Control Systems Engineering, the latter of which he completed in 1985. He served as a full-time lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya for almost 15 years, where he was also responsible for introducing online learning to the lecturers at University of Malaya in 1998.

Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor played an instrumental role in the establishment of OUM in 1999, and has served the University as its Vice President (2000-2007) and Senior Vice President (2007-2015). He has helmed OUM as its President/Vice-Chancellor since January 2016. His research interests include e-learning, mobile learning and technology-led assessment systems.

Sub-theme: Technology and Innovation

Speaker: Mr Martin G. Bean CBE (Vice-Chancellor & President, RMIT, Australia)

Martin Bean, CBE is Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT in Australia. He previously held positions as Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, the UK’s largest academic institution and a global leader in the provision of flexible learning; General Manager of Microsoft’s Worldwide Education Products Group and various executive leadership roles at Novell and other companies involved in integrating technology and learning systems.

In 2012, Martin launched FutureLearn, the UK’s first at-scale provider of Massive Open Online Courses, and in 2014 he was named one of the UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassadors. He has won numerous awards in the US and UK for his contribution to education and was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 United Kingdom New Year’s Honours list, for services to higher education. Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of London in 2013, Martin has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Technology, Sydney. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning.

Sub-theme: Access and Inclusion

Speaker: Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (United Nations Under-Secretary-General & Executive Director of UN Women)

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was sworn into office on 19 August 2013 and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa.

From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, she served as Minister of Minerals and Energy from 1999 to 2005 and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government.

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global programme for young women. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

She completed her PhD on education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

Sub-theme: Efficiency and Effectiveness

Speaker: Dr David A. Wiley (Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning)

Dr David Wiley is Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, an organisation dedicated to increasing student success, reinvigorating pedagogy, and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources by schools, community and state colleges, and universities. He is also currently the Education Fellow at Creative Commons and adjunct faculty in Brigham Young University's graduate program in Instructional Psychology and Technology, where he leads the Open Education Group (and was previously a tenured Associate Professor).

As an academic, Dr Wiley has received numerous recognitions for his work, including a National Science Foundation career grant and appointments as a Non-resident Fellow in the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, a Peery Social Entrepreneurship Research Fellow in the BYU Marriott School of Business, and he is a Shuttleworth Fellow. As a social entrepreneur, Dr Wiley has founded or co-founded numerous entities, including Lumen Learning, Degreed, and the Open High School of Utah (now Mountain Heights Academy). In 2009, Fast Company named Dr Wiley one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.