Some two years ago, at the occasion of the 100th meeting of the Executive Committee of EDEN, I had the chance of publishing a dedicated blog post entitled “They are looking at us”. In the post I argue the importance of our Association carrying on its rich legacy of values and expertise. Inspired by the venue of that memorable meeting – Oxford -, I’ve used a classical metaphor to express this idea: «as a river remains basically the same though the waters keep changing, our quest is not essentially different from the one our brave founders embarked on twenty years ago». In spite of the much different historical, cultural and technological contexts, we’ve shared with those colleagues a similar optimism and generosity, along with a shared dynamism and commitment, as well as the same sense of mission and care for our professional community. This is what makes EDEN such a strong organisation.
As we proudly celebrate EDEN’s silver jubilee (1991-2016), I’ve invited all the past Presidents to share with us some of their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field. As announced in my last post, I’m proud to report that they’ve all graciously accepted.
We’ll start today this special series of posts with the contribution from EDEN’s founding President, Erling Ljosa. And what an inspirational way to initiate this journey. As early as 1992, Erling wrote these visionary words: The future of EDEN will grow from our ability to create links across national and regional boundaries, and between people and institutions with either similar or quite different experience, but with common interests and aims in the field of distance learning. Europe is a fragile and complex mixture of societies and people. I hope that by creating new and stronger links in one of the growing fields of education and training, EDEN will contribute significantly to the development of educational opportunities within the whole of Europe (EDEN Newsletter 1, November 1992). You’ll be able to learn more about this here.
Over two decades later, in his unique engaging and sensible style, Erling guides us through his personal memories of the exciting and complex days which lead to the creation of the Association. In his itinerary, you’ll be able to identify many of the great pioneers who moulded our field in Europe and rediscover their wonderfully visionary ideas. At the end, Erling reminds us of the essential – that EDEN should always be a learning environment. Yes, Erling, we’re still learning! This is, in fact, the secret of our enduring success. Thank you, dear friend for your vision and wise guidance. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this excellent guest post.