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Dear potential M-2009 participant,

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Roughly speaking there are three reasons that make you go to a conference: (i) you may be inspired by the theme of the conference; (ii) you may be excited by the platform and network being offered through the meeting; and (iii) you may be attracted to the venue of the event.

Every chance that these arguments all three hold for the upcoming M-2009 event, which stands for the 23rd ICDE World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education including the 2009 EADTU Annual Conference, to be held on 7-10 June 2009 in Maastricht in the Netherlands. The conference is hosted by Open Universiteit.

The theme for M-2009 is: “Flexible Education for All: Open – Global – Innovative”.
We are witnessing fascinating developments that are in the heart of our profile and that may touch the whole educational system. First of all new concepts and instruments are emerging that are really opening up education for all, which is a major global ambition as formulated by UNESCO. Secondly, society, the labour market, and individual as well as groups of learners require much more flexibility in their acquisition of (new) knowledge and competencies. This implies a major modernisation of the educational system that can build on our expertise and experience. In the third place, the expanding scope of information and communication technology (ICT) is contributing to innovations in education, facilitating a variety of mixed modes of on-site and on-line learning. Finally, globalisation is a real challenge for education. On the one hand it is a driver for (international) competition. On the other hand it is leading to new and rich forms of collaboration, institutional, interpersonal and intercultural, where ICT again is a key factor.

The platform and network of M-2009 offers extra value because it’s a two-in-one conference, where the globally operating ICDE (International Council for open and Distance Education) and the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) have joined forces. You can meet colleagues from different continents around the world while at the same time you may experience the specific European flavour. We expect very significant contributions from all over the world that will shine a light on the developments mentioned above as they take place in   different countries and regions. Plenary keynotes are part of an otherwise very flexible and interactive conference format providing a stage for all of you who want to share your vision, innovative ideas, research results, good practice or experience with the global education and training community.

The venue of M-2009 is the sophisticated and nice Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) which is located in the oldest city of the Netherlands, Maastricht. This beautiful city is situated in the heart of Europe in the southern part of the country and is - together with Amsterdam - a top location attracting many travellers interested in architecture, culture, history, relaxation, sidewalk cafés, good restaurants, etcetera. The conference logo shows the profile of ‘M’ (standing for Maastricht) and includes the distinct St. Servaes bridge. May this bridge be symbol for the links we will establish at the conference between people, institutions, experiences, policies, developments, visions, and cultures. And may this attract you to come to M-2009!

The logistics of the conference are in the capable hands of the Local Organising Committee, supported by Conference Agency Maastricht (CAM), a professional conference organiser.

We hope to welcome you to M-2009 in Maastricht!

On behalf of the Programme Committee:

Image of Fred Mulder          Image of Frits Pannekoek             Image of Carl Holmberg

Prof. Fred Mulder
Chair (Rector Open
Universiteit Nederland)

Prof. Frits Pannekoek
Vice Chair (President
ICDE, President
Athabasca University)

Dr. Carl Holmberg
Secretary General ICDE
Image of David Vincent Image of Piet Henderikx
Prof. David Vincent
EADTU President
Mr. Piet Henderikx
Vice Chair (Secretary
General EADTU)