Sir John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning

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Sir John's post-COL website
C.V. and publications

DANIEL, John  

Sir John Daniel, O.C.
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 now works on a variety of projects, notably as Education Master in the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy, China, Senior Advisor to Academic Partnerships International and Chair, pro bono, 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 École Polytechnique, Université de Montréal (professeur assistant/agrégé, 1969-73); Télé-université, Université du Québec (Directeur des Études, 1973-77); Athabasca University (Vice-President for Learning Services, 1978-80); Concordia University (Vice-Rector, Academic, 1980-84); Laurentian University (President/Recteur, 1984-90); The Open University (Vice-Chancellor, 1990-2001); UNESCO (Assistant Director-General for Education, 2001-04); and the Commonwealth of Learning (President, 2004-12).

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 340 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).

Sir John is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford University (1990), the College of Preceptors (1997) and the Commonwealth of Learning (2002). He won the Symons Medal of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2008 and his 32 honorary degrees are from universities in 17 countries.

The three countries where he has lived and worked have each recognised his contributions with national honours: France – Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Chevalier–1986; Officier–1991); United Kingdom – Knight Bachelor (1994); Canada – Order of Canada (Officer–2013).

January 2014

Professor Asha Kanwar succeeded Sir John Daniel as President & C.E.O. of the Commonwealth of Learning on 1 June 2012