ICDE Honorary Membership recognises distinguished contributions to ICDE. They are appointed by the Secretariat and approved by the ICDE Board.
Recipients are awarded with lifetime membership in the ICDE community. Only 13 Honorary Memberships have been granted during the last 85 years.
This year, ICDE has chosen two special recipients: Professor Emeritus Alan Tait and Professor Asha Singh Kanwar.
Professor Emeritus Alan Tait
Professor Emeritus Alan Tait is a former Director of International Development and Teacher Education at the Open University UK. He was Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Open University UK between 2007-2012, and was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Education and Language Studies. Professor Tait was President of the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) from 2007-2010, and Co-Director of the Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning 1988-2013. In addition, he has held editorial roles in the European Journal of Distance and E-learning (2005-2013), Open Learning (1989-1998) and was the founding editor of the Journal of Learning for Development. He has worked widely in developing countries, and for international organisations such as UNESCO, the European Commission, and the Commonwealth of Learning. Throughout his career, Professor Tait has been committed to the use of Open, Distance and Flexible Learning (OFDL) for social justice and inclusion.
Professor Tait has been trusted with several significant roles within ICDE. He was a member of the Executive Committee from 2016 to 2019, Member of the Editorial Board of Open Praxis until 2021 and Chair of the ICDE Quality Network from 2016 to 2022. He also contributed to several pertinent ICDE reports, such as the report “Student Success in open, distance and e-learning” from 2015. He has supported ICDE in significant policy consultations and undertaken several quality reviews on behalf of ICDE. Professor Tait’s exceptional knowledge and insight have been invaluable to ICDE and the whole global community of OFDL. His inclusive and professional leadership style has been greatly appreciated by us all.
Professor Asha Singh Kanwar
Professor Asha Singh Kanwar is the President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning since 2012, and one of the world’s leading advocates of learning for sustainable development. Throughout her long career, she has made outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, research, leadership and international development.
Professor Kanwar holds degrees from the Panjab University in India and the University of Sussex in the UK. Her areas of expertise include open distance and technology-enabled learning, open educational resources, quality assurance, gender and organizational development. She has written and edited a dozen books, published over 100 papers and articles, and delivered numerous keynotes at prestigious international conferences.
Prior to joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a senior consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA). She has also served asPro-Vice Chancellor at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi, India.
With her inclusive approach, Professor Kanwar has always sought collaborative opportunities between COL and ICDE, and generously shared her time and expertise with the broader global community of OFDL. From 2016 to 2019 she served as a member of the ICDE Executive Committee, and today she is the current Chair of the ICDE Nomination Committee. Professor Kanwar has been an inspiration and important role model to many female leaders of our field, always supporting inclusivity, gender equality and empowerment of women. For this, we are forever grateful.