ICDE Secretary General, presented on the global challenges on the occasion of the signing of an agreement to give life to the ‘Academy of Civilizations’


The agreement is based on an agreement between a network of traditional and distance universities of the whole world to realize a common platform spreading new educational and cultural strategies.

The press release relating the signing of the agreement can be found here.

The speech given by ICDE on the occasion of the signing is provided below:



Speaking points: ICDE Secretary General

General Chancellor Michael Perry,
Rector Maria Amata Garito (UNINETTUNO)
President Anja Oskamp (EADTU)
Chair and rector
Ladies and Gentlemen

Globally we have two main challenges for all us in education:

  • To achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. This is also the new sdg 4

  • The governments and main stakeholder secure education as a public good. This was last year reagreed among governments.

And in this context I am very happy with General Chancellor Perry underlining the importance of ethics – which I agree is in the core of the challenges.

But even we have a broad agreement among all countries prime-minsters, heads of state, education ministers and heads of state, and the education community in broad, we are far behind our own set goals. For example for universal upper secondary education the set targets for 2030 will first be achieved globally by 2084, in southern Asia in 2087 and in Africa south of Sahara after 2100.

Last month UNESCO even stated

“Education needs to fundamentally change if we are to reach our global development goals”

I repeat?

Ladies and gentlemen, 

ICDE is an old organisation, even older than UNESCO that since mid 1960ties is our main partner on the international government side. ICDEs members together with UNESCOS members, as the Italian Government, collaborate to achieve the new global goals. The most important is off course the daily work to ensure and expand quality education within their domain, for the sake of the individual learner, the state, the national and regional economy, for sustainability and peace.

But the new global situation, the combination of challenges and opportunities, put the responsibility  for collaborative crisp actions on our shoulders – a responsibility for the future of  humanity we should be proud to accept.

Our members, like UNINETTUNO, like EADTU,  committed to the interest of the learner,  has through time contributed to innovate and renew  education – increase inclusion, access and equity. 

During the 1960-90 ties Open Universities came as a fresh breeze to the world, opened up education and made education flourish in Europe,  Asia and Africa. 

In the 1990ies and onwards the first online universities innovators, like Open University Catalonia, Spain, Maryland University College, US blew life in hope and vision for real quality massification of higher education. 

Now online, open and flexible higher education has come to age and maturity and we need a new, powerful wind to fill the sails towards on of the most noble goals of our time: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.

From being only for the elite, today higher education has become a comprehensive and diverse knowledge infrastructure for all aspects of education. We need to call for the higher education stakeholders and governments to mobilise this infrastructure for achieving the SDG. 

The new concepts, the pedagogies, methodologies and technologies of online, open and flexible education is absolute necessary for achieving our new sustainable development goals, to achieve quality education for all and to strengthen democracy and peace.   

In this context

ICDE is happy to sign the agreement towards the Accademy of Civilizations, and hope this agreement can facilitate collaboration, knowledge exchange and mobilisation of higher education institutions that share same values regarding the democratisation of  access to knowledge. READ A SHORT EXERPT FROM ART 3 in the MOU.

 Ladies and gentlemen,

I warmly congratulate UNINETTUNO with its 10  years anniversary

I congratulate the Italian Government with the initiative for putting Education and distance education in the center of its G-7 presidency.

I wish EADTU success for this conference

And wish us all success with the agreement  towards the Accademy of Civilizations!

NewsRita Chan