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2012: A Propitious Year in Distance Education

The old year has passed behind us in a flurry of talk in some quarters about auspicious dates and times of change. That's an apt metaphor for how we at the Intercultural Open University Foundation are looking at the future of education on this planet: it needs to respect people's time and it also needs to change.

Since we began delivering an alternative concept of higher education in 1981 we have mentored many extraordinary people to their graduate and post-graduate degrees. We're proud of the contributions our graduates have made over the years to the causes of peace, justice and dignity; the world is desperate for their help.

With the dawn of a New Year we've taken some time to reflect upon the things that make us proud of our organization and our role as educators of social change agents.

Here are just some of the highlights of 2012:

  • With the gracious academic integrity of the Universidad Central de Nicaragua and the Universidad Azteca working alongside us, we awarded Dual Degrees to:

Susan Crossman (M.A., English Literature and Writing)

Sohan L. Gandhi (PhD, Social Science)

Bremley Lyngdoh (PhD, Sustainable Development) and

Lisa Shaffner (PhD, LPCMH, NBCC, Psychology)

  • We awarded €25,000 in academic study grants and
  • We continued to support the Vedic Studies program at the University of Rajasthan.

We made a number of strong appointments in 2012 as well that will help shape our delivery of education services going forward. Specifically, we appointed:

  • Susan Crossman, M.A., as Director of Communications
  • Alan Dunning, M.Phil, MA, LLB, as a Fellow in Distributed Education and Communications
  • Dr. Frank Hakemulder, PhD, Associate Professor of Media and Culture at Utrecht University (NL), as an external scholar
  • Dr. Yoshiaki Katuka, PhD, as IOUF Professor Emeritus. Dr. Katuka is a Japanese scientist and inventor of an alternative hydro power plant. We additionally awarded him an honorary doctorate
  • Dr. Bremley Lyngdoh, MEC, MIA, M.Phil, PhD, as a Fellow in Sustainable Development and Social Change
  • Roxanne K. Toothman, M.S., Advisor to the President developed IOUF curriculum: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

We maintained continued memberships in:

  • The Alternative Educational Resource Organization (AERO)
  • The European Distance e-Learning Network (EDEN)
  • The European Foundation for Quality in e-Learning (EFQUEL)
  • Hextlearn/European Commission on Higher Education
  • I-Graduate (UK)
  • The Observatory of Borderless Higher Education (OBHE)
  • The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
  • Worldview Impact Foundation

In addition, Dr. John M. Toothman, member of the IOUF Board of Governors, was granted membership in the International Mentoring Association (IMA) and the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Dr. Sandra Hurlong, President of IOUF, was granted continued membership in the International Mentoring Association (IMA) and the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

We retained our registrations as a charitable educational foundation in the Netherlands and the USA, maintained offices in Spain, and the USA and continued proud partnerships with the Universidad Central de Nicaragua and the Universidad Azteca for Dual Degree Accreditation.

Last year was rich in experiences focused on growing the service we as an educational foundation can provide to social change agents. We're pleased with our results - and looking forward to another superb year ahead. 2013? Bring it on!