Asha Singh Kanwar

Professor Asha Singh Kanwar, one of the world’s leading advocates of learning for development, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) since 2012. Before joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa.

Prior to that, Professor Kanwar was at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), India, where she served first as Director, School of Humanities, and then Pro-Vice Chancellor. Her career of over 35 years covers teaching, research and administration. She has written and edited a dozen books, published over 50 papers and articles and delivered numerous keynotes at prestigious international conferences. Her areas of expertise include open and distance learning, technology-enabled learning, open educational resources, quality assurance, gender and organizational development.

A recipient of several awards and fellowships, Professor Kanwar received her undergraduate, Master’s and MPhil degrees from the Panjab University in India and a DPhil from the University of Sussex. She was a Fulbright Fellow for post-doctoral research at Iowa State University, where she was later invited to teach. She received the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Prize of Excellence and the Meritorious Service Award for outstanding contributions in open and distance education from the Asian Association of Open Universities. Professor Kanwar has also been conferred six honorary doctorates from universities in Asia, Africa and Europe.