21.06.2012 - UNESCO

UNESCO champions OERs at 2012 World Congress

Tribune of the Pre-congress event: Introduction to Open Educational Resources - CC-BY

This week, UNESCO is hosting the first-ever World Congress for Open Educational Resources (OERs), a major international conference that brings together nearly 500 representatives from government, academia, NGOs, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to promote and share best practices in OERs. The Congress began on Wednesday, 20 June and continues through Friday, 22 June at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

OERs are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution. UNESCO has long been a champion of OERs and continues to promote them through its Education, and Communication and Information Sectors.

UNESCO has three primary objectives for the 2012 Congress: to release the 2012 Paris Declaration, calling on governments to support the development and use of OERs; to showcase best OER practices from around the world; and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of UNESCO’s 2002 global forum that launched OER.

The conference is a two-part event that includes the official Congress, with a negotiation component by UNESCO Member States, and an Open Seminar that will feature cutting-edge examples of OER practices through numerous workshops and seminars.

The Congress includes multiple keynote speeches, high-level sessions, and panel discussions on opportunities and challenges in OERs, with a special emphasis on regional application of OER platforms. Featured participants include:

  • Dr Larry Lessig, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University;
  • The Honorable Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training for South Africa;
  • Sir John Daniel, Project Director of Fostering Governmental Support for OER Globally;
  • Dr Anant Agarwal, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.

In the run-up to the Congress UNESCO organized regional OER Policy Forums in the following areas:

  • Africa,
  • The Arab States,
  • Latin America,
  • The Caribbean,
  • Asia and the Pacific.

The results of these Forums will help guide discussion at the Congress and ultimately inform the Paris Declaration.

UNESCO live-streams both the official Congress and the Open Seminar. Remote participants are encouraged to submit questions through the Twitter and Identi.ca hashtag #oercongress.  More information is available online at www.unesco.org/oercongress

The 2012 World Congress is organized in full partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and with the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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