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Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar – ELLTA Association

Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar

Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar

President and CEO, Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada

President and CEO, Commonwealth of Learning (COL)


  • Consultant in open and distance learning, UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA), Dakar, Senegal: To promote and co-ordinate open and distance learning (ODL) in Sub-Saharan Africa and she was instrumental in placing ODL at the centre of ministerial deliberations and the agenda for the development of education in Africa. The West African initiative led to the establishment of an ODL Resource Centre at BREDA and later to the development of a regional Centre of Expertise at the National Open University of Nigeria
  • Vice President, COL (April 2006), additionally Programme Director (April 2007), specifically responsible for stakeholder engagement and programme direction
  • Education Specialist, Higher Education, Commonwealth of Learning (March 2003), with the major responsibility of working with Commonwealth governments and organisations in policy and systems development, within the context of open and distance learning (ODL)
  • Pro-Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, in 1999
  • Director, School of Humanities, IGNOU, in 1996
  • Appointed as Professor (1992), School of Humanities, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
  • Reader, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), in 1988
  • One of the world’s leading advocates for learning for development
  • Over 30 years of experience in teaching, research and administration
  • Has several books, research papers and articles to her credit
  • Made significant contributions to gender studies, especially the impact of distance education on the lives of Asian women; studies have established that better educational opportunities and access to new technologies have made substantial differences to the attitudes, values and concerns of Asian women
  • Recipient of several awards and fellowships; experience of having studied and worked in different contexts, both developing and developed
  • Fulbright Fellow for post-doctoral research at Iowa State University, where she was later invited to teach
  • Visiting Fellow, University of Leiden,
  • Visiting Fellow, University of Toronto
  • Visiting Fellow, the Open University of Hong Kong
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