The event is expected to attract more than 800 delegates to Wellington’s new convention centre, Tākina, in November 2025.
The bid for the event was led by Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa and Te Pūkenga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, with support from Tourism New Zealand and Business Events Wellington. Conference Innovators will be the local PCO for the event.
ICDE board member and co-chair of the New Zealand conference, Dr Mark Nichols from Te Pūkenga, said the event was a big opportunity to platform the work being done by the two local bid leaders in the distance education field.
“Many of the open universities represented across the ICDE global membership have student numbers greater than the entire New Zealand tertiary sector,” he said.
“Internationally, the trend is toward increasingly available, time independent solutions to learning where providers ensure they remove or reduce barriers to place, pace, and access. The small, distributed population of Aotearoa makes open and distance learning a key feature of our ako (learning and teaching) provision.”
His co-chair, Professor Giselle Byrnes, from Massey University, highlighted Wellington’s alignment with the conference.
“Besides being the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington brings together the very things any conference of this nature is concerned with – accessibility, a hub of political and policy decision-makers, a warm and welcoming Aotearoa New Zealand experience, close proximity to the outdoors, and a great launch-point for further exploration north and south,” she said.
“Tākina, the new conference venue, is also a natural drawcard with its centre-city location and proximity to a vibrant selection of entertainment, restaurants, and accommodation.”
Business Events Wellington manager Irette Ferreira pointed out further alignment with the city.
“Hosting a conference focused on removing barriers to education also directly supports the city’s Economic Wellbeing Strategy which identifies lifelong learning and online learning as important components in the development of Wellington’s future labour market,” she said.
Wellington was announced as the next host of the biennial conference at ICDE’s 2023 meeting, being held in Costa Rica this week.
“We are thrilled to be organising our next World Conference in Wellington, and to highlight the diverse OFDL [open, flexible and distance learning] experience and knowledge in the region,” said ICDE secretary general, Torunn Gjelsvik.
“We need local solutions to help tackle challenges to education on a global level and welcome OFDL experts and enthusiasts to join us in 2025.”