Sir John Daniel
former President & Chief Executive Officer
Commonwealth of Learning
Sir John Daniel served as President and C.E.O. of COL from 2004 to 2012. He is now working on a variety of international projects, notably as Education Master in the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy, China and Chair of the UWC (United World Colleges) International Board.
Sir John brought wide international experience in universities and the United Nations system to his eight-year tenure as President of COL.
He obtained his full-time university education in Metallurgy at the universities of Oxford and Paris and later demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning by taking 25 years to complete a part-time Master's degree in Educational Technology at Concordia University. The internship for that programme, which took him to the UK Open University in 1972, was a life-changing experience. He saw the future of higher education and wanted to be part of it.
This quest took him on an international odyssey with appointments at the Télé-université (Directeur des Études, 1973-77), Athabasca University (Vice-President for Learning Services, 1978-80), Concordia University (Vice-Rector, Academic, 1980-84), Laurentian University (President, 1984-90), the UK Open University (Vice-Chancellor, 1990-2001) and UNESCO (Assistant Director-General for Education, 2001-04).
His non-executive appointments have included the presidencies of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, the Canadian Association for Distance Education and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. He also served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation.
Among Sir John's 330 publications are his books Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education (Kogan Page, 1996) and Mega-Schools, Technology and Teachers: Achieving Education for All (Routledge, 2010).
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for services to higher education in 1994, holds 31 honorary doctorates from universities in 17 countries and was awarded the Symons Medal of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
In August 2002, prior to joining COL staff, Sir John was named an Honorary Fellow of COL.
He is a citizen of Canada and the UK.
Professor Asha Kanwar succeeded Sir John Daniel as President & C.E.O. of the Commonwealth of Learning on 1 June 2012.