Visionary Leadership for Digital Transformation 2017

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The event will be organized in partnership with ICDE, UNESCO and the project D-Transform, who together take the initiative to mobilise globally for visionary leadership of digital transformation of higher education.

The event will address and call for action on the key opportunities and issues for fostering and implementing good governance and visionary leadership for digital transformation in higher education. Below you can find information on the programme, registration for information and venue.

Participation is by invitation only.

Below you can find information on the programme, registration and venue. 

Background: The Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Education 2030“

Having the sustainable development goal (SDG) as a backdrop, the event shall set agenda for how leaders can initiate and develop actions to transform higher education through digital supported learning and teaching.

Higher education has demonstrated the capacity for transforming societies, sectors and the life of individuals. Higher education also plays a crucial role in delivering the knowledge infrastructure for all education, for example for teacher training and teachers. Higher education is also important for all SDGs, in particular.

Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, target 4.3:


A well-established, properly regulated tertiary education system supported by technology, open educational resources and distance education can increase access, equity, quality and relevance, and can narrow the gap between what is taught at tertiary education institutions, including universities, and what economies and societies demand. The provision of tertiary education should be made progressively free, in line with existing international agreements.

 Why focus on Leadership for digital transformation?

A number of accelerating change processes take place in post-secondary education globally, fueled by digitalisation and demand for up-scaled, quality higher education. While these changes hold great promise for a more sustainable future as envisaged in the Incheon and Qingdao declarations, governance and leadership are emerging as critical factors for facilitating successful change.

The trajectory of the changes, the transformation in and around education, the desired outcomes from higher education, the speed of change and costs of enabling and facilitating factors as well as pedagogy and didactic development are issues that are becoming increasingly relevant for senior management. In addition, new requirements and challenges for higher education institutions from society, public and private sector and surrounding communities in which university function play an equally modulating role for the strategies for the universities.

For example, the need for a skilled work force, reconnecting education and jobs, strengthening quality outcomes, increasing affordable and equitable access, support for refugees and migrants learning are all relevant issues. In all instances, the common denominator is the demand for the relevant and appropriate use of digital means to better meet these challenges.

Thus, against this background senior managers are asking the following questions:

  • Do I have to reinvent myself?

  • Do I have to reconfigure my university? 

  • How do I navigate my institution trough the trials and tribulations of digital transformation?

  • And whilst the leadership focuses on transformation, ordinary operations such as production, education, outreach and research according to set goals are expected to continue seamlessly.

  • Therefore, one may say that there is a double whammy for senior managers: How to reinvent while delivering set goals?

View the draft programme here.

Venue and travel

The event will be held at UNESCO Headquarters.

UNESCO Headquarters are located at 7, place de Fontenoy in the heart of Paris. The site is considered international territory and belongs to the Organization’s 195 Member States.
UNESCO does not offer parking facilities. We recommend using public transport.

  • By Metro: Ségur-UNESCO, Cambronne, Ecole militaire

  • By Bus: 28, 80

  • Velib'Sation: n° 15009 Suffren, 140 avenue de Suffren

Please note: Delegates who are registered for the 2017 ICDE Leadership Summit, 22-23 May, 2017, Nancy, France if arriving in Paris on the morning of the 24 May 2017 between 8.00-9:00am please notify to help in arranging transportation to UNESCO Headquarters from Gare d´Est.

About the partners

ICDE has since 2013 addressed leadership for change as concept for better developing quality online, open, flexible and technology enhanced higher education for the future we want. 

  • UNESCO regards senior management in governments and the education sector as potent and key resources for utilising digital means to support Education 2030.

  • D-Transform gathers a consortium of 7 European partners to build a Leadership program aiming at strengthening the visionary capacity and the persuasiveness of the university governances in the use of advanced digital education.