EDEN Goes To Zagreb

September 22, 2014 by Antonio Moreira Teixeira   Comments (0)

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EDEN's Annual Conference last June was once again one of the highlights of the year for the for the European open, distance and eLearning community. Coinciding with the first anniversary of Croatia's entering into the European Union, the EDEN community visited Zagreb for the very first time and what a happy occasion this was. The conference was once again a meeting point for the community, attracting over three hundred experts from all over the world.


His Excellency Mr. Ivo Josipović, President of the Republic of Croatia, was the patron of the conference and gave us the honour of inaugurating the event, delivering a remarkable speech (PDF download) which introduced the quite relevant main topic selected for this year's event: "From Education to Employment and Meaningful Work with ICT: E-learning at work and the workplace".

Opening Plenary with His Excellency, the President of Croatia (seated in the middle)
Photo by SRCE

The University of Zagreb and its Computing Centre, the SRCE, were excellent hosts to an event that was fully embraced by the Croatian professional community. I would like to thank in particular to Vice-Rector Prof. Blazenka Divjak, co-chair of the conference, Dr. Zoran Bekić, Director of SRCE, and Dr. Sandra Kucina, Assistant Director and our colleague at EDEN's Executive Committte, for all their support. Hvala lijepa (thank you very much)! A special word of thanks as well to our conference sponsor, Polycom.

The 2014 conference took place in the attractive and modern Hypo Centre and the adjacent facilities of the SRCE (which significantly means «heart» in Croatian). This year's event was also remarkable for the number, quality and impact of the contributions (see the programme). We had excellent and engaging keynote addresses (see slides and interviews with the keynotes), great parallel sessions with very high quality papers, workshops and posters (see the book of abstracts and synopses of the synergy strand and the winner of the best paper award), as well as significant and valuable discussions both in and out of the session rooms. This was the EDEN conference experience at its best.

As usual since our 2007 conference in Naples, a very important moment of the conference was the appointment of three new EDEN fellows: Sandra Kucina, Ebba Ossiannilsson and Marci Powell. You can find them with me in the picture and learn more details about their contributions to EDEN and the field on the EDEN Fellows page.

From left to right: Marci Powell, Antonio Teixeira, Ebba Ossiannilsson, Sandra Kucina
Photo by SRCE

An additional reference should be given to the EDEN Annual General Meeting. This is a very important yearly moment for our network which coincides with the summer conferences. In this meeting the governance bodies of EDEN and the representatives of our institutional members discuss the results of the previous year of activity, elect new officers and take structural decisions regarding the future. This year we focused more on reflecting on how EDEN is coping with the transitioning in our field. You can find a more detailed analysis on this in my next post.

A final special word to Gottfried Leibbrandt, one of our network's founders and a lifetime member in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of open and distance learning in Europe and for his support for the progress of EDEN. He kindly shared with us at the Gala Dinner a very interesting account of the process leading to the establishment of our organization.

The 2014 EDEN Conference was more open, interactive and diversified than ever, marking the successful introduction of several innovations both in the format and the content of the event. After the memorable Oslo conference last year, when I had the honour of being elected President, and the very successful Fall initiatives - the Synergy Workshop, in Budapest, a unique initiative in our field, and the joint organization of the SCOP 2013 with ICDE and the Universidade Aberta, in Lisbon -, Zagreb culminated a really wonderful year for EDEN.

Next stop in the EDEN agenda is the Research Workshop in Oxford (EDENRW8), co-organized with the Open University. Please mark the dates in your diaries.


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