Lisbon with the eyes of the President

This entry to the blog is written shortly after the Executive Committee meeting in Lisbon, preparatory to the main EDEN Annual Conference to take place there from June 11-14 this year (see details of the conference elsewhere on this website).

beautiful Palacio CeiaThe Committee enjoyed the hospitality of our partners for the conference the Universidade Aberta of Portugal, and we met in the beautiful Palacio Ceia.

One of the real joys of working for the EDEN is the access it gives you to the cultures, cities and landscapes of Europe, and Lisbon is one of the most charming cities I have ever visited. The Rector, Professor Carlos Reis was generous with his time, as was Pro-Rector, Antonio Teixeira, and have made preparations for the conference a real pleasure.

The Belem Conference Centre has some very exciting features in ways in which the space can be used for social networking, and I hope that as many readers of this blog as possible can come and see for yourselves how we will use this to conference participants’ benefit.

One of the things we discussed at the Executive Committee meeting was the emerging definitions of blogging and how we should optimise the blog that appears here. We have agreed that all members of the Executive Committee should have the opportunity to contribute as and when they can about their work for EDEN, so that we keep members in touch, and we hope reflect in our work what EDEN members want to see the Network doing.

There were a number of signs about the high levels of interest that exist in EDEN amongst members, including the new members both at institutional level (5 new members) and individual level (nine new members). This is a really strong sign that EDEN continues to build as the hub of distance and e-learning for Europe, and is increasingly being seen as such outside Europe too: we have particular strong interest from the USA with relations with the Sloan conference and the US Distance Learning Association, and with China.

We were also very pleased to see that there were 10 nominations for the 6 places on Network of Academics and Professionals Steering Committee, a very strong signal of member interest in EDEN’s life.

Last but by no means least we reviewed with Vice President Martine Vidal preparations for the 2008 Research Conference to take place in partnership with UNESCO in Paris from 20-22 October. The themes will be on research investigations into access and the contribution that distance and e-learning has been able to make.

I arrived home to enjoy a lunch for my birthday with my family, and to discover that my daughter will have a son in June: our third grandchild! So altogether a wonderful week professionally and personally.

I’ll be in touch again soon.

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