As part of the celebrations of the silver jubilee of EDEN (1991-2016), I’ve invited all the past Presidents to contribute to this blog, in order to share some of their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field. Last week, I published the first contribution of this special series of posts. This was a most inspiring account from EDEN’s founding President, Erling Ljosa.
In today’s post, we give continuation to the initiative, sharing the reflections of Alan Tait, who was President from 2007 to 2010. Alan was also a Vice-President, NAP Steering Committee Chair, and the editor in chief of EURODL. In fact, it was he who introduced the EDEN President’s blog amongst other innovations. Alan’s strong connection with EDEN has followed the entire history of EDEN and no one knows the Association and its development throughout these past 25 years better than him.
On a more personal level, Alan has also been a great mentor and a very dear friend. He was the President at the time when EDEN held the Annual Conference in Lisbon, in 2008, and the 7th Open Classroom Conference in Porto the following year, in collaboration with my institution, Universidade Aberta. Then, he welcomed me on the Executive Committee and I became Vice-President during his term. More recently, during my own Presidency, Alan was again a very close and strong inspiration.
In his impressive contribution, Alan shares with us a deep reflection on his personal experiences spanning from two decades and covering very different phases of the history of the Association. At the end of his post, Alan calls our attention to the challenges of communication in multicultural environments. In fact, EDEN is fundamentally a network of people with many shared interests but also diverse cultural backgrounds. As such, the experience of leading in such complex environments can become quite a difficult challenge. But I can assure you this is an art that Alan masters superbly with charm and wit!