Celebrating the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme's 25th anniversary


Celebrating the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme’s 25th anniversary

Symposium of Chairs in Open Educational Resources in conjunction with the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning, Toronto ON Canada, 3:00 – 6:00 pm, October 16, 2017, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel,Civic Ballroom North

Organized with the support from International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), Open Education Consortium (OEC), Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), and UNESCO


Session 1: The What? Where? Why?  How? of   OER (1 hour + 30 min. discussion)
Panel Chair: ICDE Secretary General, Norway
Short greetings by UNESCO, OEC and ICDE
Panelists (15 minutes each): 

  • Martin Weller, Open University, UK

  • Jane Agbu, National Open University of Nigeria

  • Rory McGreal, Athabasca University, Canada

  • Daniel Burgos, Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain

Session 2: Open courses (micro & MOOC) and open access (1 hour + 30 min. discussion)
Chair: ICDE Secretary General, Norway
Panelists (15 minutes each):

  • Paul Bardack, Chair Emeritus, US Distance Learning Association, USA

  • Dianne Conrad, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), Canada

  • Wayne Mackintosh, OERuniversitas, New Zealand

  • Marie Soledad-Ramirez, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico


ICDE, OEC, UNIR and UNESCO, in cooperation with the UNESCO, COL and ICDE OER Chairs, invite to this celebration – for the outstanding work and achievements by the UNESCO Chairs, and in this context, the OER Chairs.  The Information document, attached, to the UNESCO General Conference 39th Session taking place in Paris 30 October – 14 November 2017, says (excerpts):

“The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2017. It has helped to establish a vibrant network of over 700 higher education institutions in 116 Member States. These share UNESCO’s values, connecting the Organization with communities, and mobilizing expertise to support the advancement of UNESCO’s goals in education, sciences, culture and communication. Building on a common vision of a world free of poverty and discrimination, this inter-sectoral global network strengthens UNESCO’s links with scientists, researchers and communities of practice. It contributes to the formulation and delivery of UNESCO’s programmes and to achieving the SDGs. Networking – a strategic benefit of the programme – has helped universities and higher education and research institutions play their role fully in society”

Both OEC , ICDE, and UNIR, have for a long time been active participants in the OER movement and supporting the UNESCO Chairs concept.

While the first UNESCO OER chairs were few (2) and it took time to have appointed new chairs, ICDE after request from the chairs in 2012 established a supporting ICDE Chairs programme which efficient could appoint qualified chairs in several regions of the world – so the OER chairs in total now count 15 – and are increasing.

This celebration takes place only 1 month after the successful 2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which adopted the Ljubljana OER Action Plan.

Further information on the background relating the to celebration can be found here

In connection with this celebration, ICDE will launch a new Policy Committee for Global Advocacy of OER.

We welcome all interested to this engaging Symposium, which carries forward the OER Action Plan!