As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, EDEN is celebrating its silver jubilee (1991-2016). This is a most significant milestone not just for our Association, but for the whole European academic and professional community. In fact, the creation of EDEN opened a new social and political horizon in Europe for the development of a then still emerging field of practice, which proved to be critically relevant throughout the years. The early nineties of the 20th century were a time of great promises and expectations. An exciting moment marked by a great confidence in the future and an almost blind faith in how it would develop.
Looking back at how it all started a quarter of century ago and realizing how much EDEN has evolved and grown both in size, complexity and impact proves that the ambition of our pioneers was not overoptimistic. On the contrary, the progress has been astonishing. This success however expresses how EDEN has been capable of understanding the evolution of the European open, distance and online learning community and interpret correctly its needs and trends, smartly adjusting the Association’s strategies and modes of operation to the different emerging scenarios.
Looking now into the future and to its difficult challenges, the European academic and professional community can rest assured that EDEN will always remain faithful to this close bond to the field.
As we approach the EDEN16 in Budapest, this is also the best time to revisit some of the most significant moments in the very rich history of EDEN’s service to the European and global community of researchers and practitioners in open, distance and online learning. To help me in this complex task, I’ve asked all EDEN past Presidents to contribute to the President’s Blog and share their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field. They’ve all graciously accepted. As a result, in the next two weeks you’ll be able to find six different but very insightful reflections.
As an introduction to this exciting series of posts, I’ve invited my dear friend and EDEN Senior Fellow, Sir John Daniel to write a special guest blog post on the creation of the Association. In fact, EDEN owes much to John Daniel, who was more than instrumental to set and shape it. Even today, many of the principles, rules and procedures we use were directly inspired by him. It is therefore a great honour and a privilege to be able to share with you an inspiring account on what led to the foundation of the European Distance Education Network, as it was initially called. This reflection is also a wonderful homage to a certain vision of Europe, certainly much more open and generous than most of the current ones, and also to the colleagues who helped shape our field.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading this great contribution. Sir John Daniel will be delivering the official 25th anniversary address at the gala dinner of the EDEN16 in Budapest where he will elaborate in full the ideas and topics presented in this reflection. Be sure not to miss it!