Speaker profile: John Daniel, O.C.
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 served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation in the 1990s and later as chair of the UWC (United World Colleges) International Board (2013-18).
Currently, he is Chancellor of the Acsenda School of Management (Vancouver).
Among Sir John’s 380+ 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).
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