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Sir John Daniel
Sir John joined the Commonwealth of Learning in 2004 after serving for three years as Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO.

He began his career with an undergraduate degree from Oxford (First Class Honours) and a Doctorate in Science from the University of Paris, both in metallurgy. During his first academic appointment at the École Polytechnique of the University of Montreal he began part-time study for a Masters in Educational Technology. The programme required an internship, which he carried out in the summer of 1972 at the brand new UK Open University. This was a conversion experience. Inspired by the idealism, the scale, the technology and the focus on students that he found at the Open University, he decided to join the distance learning revolution.

He spent four years helping to establish Québec's Télé-université, moved west to Alberta as Vice-President of Athabasca University, and then returned to Montreal as Vice-Rector of Concordia University. In 1984 he became President of Laurentian University, Ontario and moved to the UK as Vice-Chancellor of the Open University in 1990.

In 1988, Sir John chaired the Working Group that was appointed, following the 1987 meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, to "develop institutional arrangements for Commonwealth co-operation in distance education". This led to the creation of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and in 2002 he was named an Honorary Fellow of COL for his contribution to the development of open and distance education worldwide.

Sir John has been active as a scholar and student throughout his career. The success of his book, "Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education" (Kogan Page, 1996), established his reputation in international university circles as a leading thinker about the role of technology in education and learning. His more recent book, "Mega-Schools, Technology & Teachers: Achieving Education for All", tackles the challenges providing secondary schooling to tens of millions of young people and training very large numbers of teachers.

Sir John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for services to higher education in 1994. He has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in 17 countries, is a past-President of both the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE), and has served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. In 2008 he was awarded the Symons Medal for service to Commonwealth universities. He is a citizen of both Canada and the U.K.
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