President: Belinda Tynan

Professor Belinda Tynan is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President  at RMIT University, Australia. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education (DVC(E)) is accountable to the Vice-Chancellor for the academic performance of the University. The DVC(E) has responsibility for the quality and overall design of academic programs, student administration and services, academic performance (including promotion); updating of teaching pedagogy, delivery mechanisms and learning resources; and student access, including the Ngarara Willim Centre. As a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive, the DVC(E) contributes to RMIT strategic planning, in particular education and student services planning. 
Professor Belinda Tynan joined the RMIT University in spring 2016. Previously, she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Innovation) and a Professor of Higher Education at the Open University, UK (2013- 2016) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Quality at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. She has a doctorate in education from the University of Western Australia and is an active researcher with expertise in technology enhanced learning, staff development and scholarship and learning and teaching pedagogy. She has 70 peer reviewed articles, books and book chapters and in excess 3000 views and more than 2500 downloads on ResearchGate. She is a frequently invited speaker, experienced postgraduate supervisor and has more than thirty years of experience in the education sector in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK.
She has significant executive level leadership and management experience and was recently awarded her Principle Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (UK). She has a doctorate from the University of Western Australia, several postgraduate certificates from the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University in education, curriculum and higher education and a Masters in online learning. She is on the editorial board of two major journals, a non-executive director of the Executive Committee of the European Distance Education Network and FutureLearn (UK); on the board of the Menzies Centre at Kings College, London and the Singapore Institute of Management International Academic Panel (IAP 2016). She additionally holds a two year appointment as a member of the Polytechnic Quality Assurance Framework (PQAF) External Review Panel for the Ministry of Education, Singapore and recently was invited to be a member of the BIS Advisory Group for the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Asha Singh Kanwar

President & Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning. Executive Committee member 2016-2019.

Professor Asha Singh Kanwar became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) on 1 June 2012. She has served COL for 12 years, first as an Education Specialist – Higher Education and Policy and then as its Vice President for six years.

Before joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA) in Dakar, Senegal. She has over 30 years of experience in teaching, research and administration.

Professor Kanwar received the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Prize of Excellence in 2009. In 2014, she received the AAOU Meritorious Service Award for outstanding contributions in the areas of open and distance education. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by two universities.


Tolly.S.A. Mbwette

Professor of Environmental Engineering at The College of Engineering and Technology at The University of Dares Salaam as well as a Professor of Environmental Science and Technology at The Open University of Tanzania (OUT,) . Executive Committee member 2018 – 2019.

Prof. Tolly.S.A. Mbwette is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at The College of Engineering and Technology at The University of Dar es Salaam as well as a Professor of Environmental Science and Technology at The Open University of Tanzania (OUT,) where he concluded his two terms of five years each as Vice Chancellor in April 2015. He has previously been an Honorary COL Advisor and a UNESCO COL Professor on ODL. He is currently The President of The Pan African University Council as well as The Chairman of The African Network for Internationalisation of Education (ANIE). He is a former President of The African Council on Distance Education (ACDE) and Chair of The Governing Board of IUCEA. He has served on the Boards of The Association of Commonwealth Universities and The AAU Governing Board.


Hazel Rymer

Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation), The Open University of UK. Executive Committee member 2018 - 2021. 

I am currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation) of the Open University – a university with over 170,000 students across the UK and internationally. Prior to this I was Dean and Director of Studies, Faculty of Science – a faculty which teaches over 20,000 students. I have held a senior leadership position since 2003, when I entered Academic Management as the faculty’s Associate Dean. In my recent roles, I have successfully introduced policy changes and delivered academic leadership in teaching and learning, quality assurance and enhancement and widening participation. These policy and management roles have been undertaken alongside my teaching and research. Retaining academic ‘currency’ alongside the policy roles is important in my view.

I have considerable committee and advisory experience, including six years on the Council of the Geological Society, three of which as an Officer. I have also contributed to various Royal Society committees.

The early parts of my career were research focused, with ten years as a Royal Society University Research Fellow during which time I held visiting professorships at universities in Mexico, Costa Rica and Italy, undertaking both teaching and research. I have over thirty years’ teaching experience, supporting and teaching non-traditional, part-time students, using both face-to-face and distance learning methods. Currently, I am on the module team for an Earth Processes course, directly authoring online, and interacting with and supporting students.

Short vision statement:
Higher Education has always been in a state of change and the pace is increasing. The opportunities afforded by on-line study, for analytics that drive student support and even curriculum in real time are enormous. There is at the same time a need to take stock of good and not so good practice and to learn from each other. The role of ICDE is to enable this learning and to add value by disseminating examples of good practice. Global inequalities are real and we can go some way to mitigating them through education and here ICDE has a role to play through linking governmental and institutional strategies to the benefit of students wherever they are and however they choose to study. The science, engineering & computer science curriculum are areas where I would particularly encourage ICDE to focus. These are subjects we need a greater degree of literacy in, yet they are not always taught through open and distance education methods very well. With faster bandwidths reaching much of the world now, there are new opportunities for students to carry out real time practical and collaborative work. As a member of the executive committee, I would work to enable greater access to online STEM subjects globally.


Ansary Ahmed

President/CEO, Asia e University. Executive Committee member 2018 – 2021. 

Prof Dato Ansary obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He first started his career as a tutor in University of Malaya rose to Professor and held several administrative posts. At the national level, he has been actively involved as Steering committee member of National Bio-technology Group and was the the Project Leader, Senior Vice President and co-founder of Open University of Malaysia. He worked as Special Science Officer at Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) the Science Advisor Office, Prime Minister’s Department. And served as member of several national task forces in science, technology and education and is presently National Chairman for e learning. He is also a member of Academic Committees of IBBM as well as Razak School of Government.

Internationally, he is a member of UNESCO Kornberg 21st Century Visionaries for Higher Education and has served as UNESCO Consultant for the ICT and e learning. He was Project Director for Total e learning solution Ministry of Higher Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He currently serves as an Honorary Advisor for Asia, Commonwealth of Learning and Global Advisor to Santa Barbera Institute, USA.

Professor Dato’ Ansary is the Founding President/CEO of the Asia e University which is a collaborative effort of 32 Asian countries under the Asian Cooperative Dialogue. Dato’ Ansary was awarded by Enterprise Asia the Most Promising Entrepreneur in recognition of Asia e University’s great success as start up. In recognition of his contributions both Nationally and Internationally, he was conferred in 2005 the Darjah Johan Negeri, Pulau Pinang, and in 2007 the Darjah Paduka Mahkota Perak, by the DYMM Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan which carries the title Dato’.

Short vision statement:
The size of the eLearning market is likely to grow by 5% between 2016 and 2023, exceeding USD 240 Billion. In Asia alone its estimated to be USD 11 Billion and in Africa USD 608 million. My vision for ICDE based on AeU experience of offering programmes in rural and remote areas will be to enhance the use of education technology for greater quality and make learning enjoyable, catalyse the sharing of open education resources, narrowing the gap between the haves and have not, encouraging more academic institutions to embrace Flexible, Online and Blended Learning. Goals in line with ICDE 2017-2020 is promote and encourage the use and make available best practice education technology amongst ICDE members, Asia e University having a footprint in 34 Asian countries will facilitate in the co-creation, and curation and can be ICDE’s repository of open education resources for Asia. Taking a proactive leadership role in digital transformation Asia. Help facilitate for the ease of technical and education expertise availability and in the same instance promote ICDE membership growth. Catalyse the interest in trending education technology and teaching and learning research interest, harmonising with ICDE’ Global Doctoral Consortium.

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