About us

About us

Education in the 21st Century is seen in its longitudinally of life-long learning, bridging K through 12, to post-secondary education to the work place, and its horizontality, recognizing the important complementarity of formal, informal, and non-formal learning opportunities.

As noted above, the goal of E21 Consortium is to encourage participation in developing a strong and global network of parties interested in uniting thoughts and actions to imagine Education in the 21st Century.


An annual international symposium hosted by the University of Ottawa in collaboration with Carleton University, Algonquin College, La Cité, and the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pedagogique (CFORP).


The Consortium E21 is made up of 4 interlocking spheres of engagement.

  • Sphere 1: The members of Consortium E2, responsible for identifying themes, participants and resources necessary to undertake the design and development of a yearly Symposium on Education in the 21st Century.
  • Sphere 2: Thought leaders, innovators, philosophers and “dreamers” – who all have a deep-seated interest and knowledge in the broad contours of Education as they might play-out in both contemporary and future society. These thought leaders will explore key issues, themes, challenges, emerging technologies and transformations unfolding in the realm of higher education today and into the future – as part of ongoing innovative, critical and challenging public Symposia;
  • Sphere 3: The community of Stakeholders is represented by faculty members and administrators, students, educational IT professionals, private sector representatives, government representatives (municipal / provincial / federal) and non-profit organization representatives.
  • Sphere 4: The community at large for whom the topics explored stimulates and encourages participation across a large cross-section of interested parties.

The Consortium E21 sees the value of ongoing dialogue between actors within the 4 spheres as the scaffolding of ideas and interests that will continue to generate new ways of exploring the question of Education in the 21st Century for future Symposia. In this way – the yearly symposium are not designed as discreet, stand-alone events – but rather as a continuum, informed by an ongoing dialogue that continues from year-to-year.


  • Each yearly event focuses on one big question/key issue/challenge/emerging technology/transformation unfolding in the realm of education today and into the future, which are explored through different lenses (academic, cultural, societal, local, global, …) and within the 4 spheres of engagement.
  • Every year the Consortium E21 invites 4 or 5 thought leaders and innovators of the sphere 2, selected for the vision and/or critical look they bring related to the specific theme of the symposium that year.
  • The one-day symposium differentiate itself from other conferences as a highly participative event, based on a Design Thinking approach, where participants of the 4 spheres actively engage in critical discussions, thought provoking problem solving activities and networking activities.
  • In order to ensure high level of engagement throughout the day events are limited to 100 to 150 participants, representatives of the 4 spheres of engagement: all levels of educational institutions, organizations and associations directly or indirectly linked to education, government agencies, and private sector companies.
  • Each symposium defines and announces clear outcomes to reach, as each of these outcomes serve as a basis to build upon for the next symposium. However, one recurrent outcome for each symposium strengthens and expands the Consortium E21 network and community, enabling meaningful dialogue and exchange of ideas throughout the year, in between symposia.
  • Each symposium include sufficient times at strategic moments during the symposium to enhance networking activities.

As noted earlier, the goal of the E21 Consortium is to encourage disruptive dialogue within and across four spheres of engagement to break conventional thinking and explore alternative ways of imagining, conceptualizing and conveying a wide-range of emerging and evolving questions in the educational arena writ large.


The impetus of this initiative is to bring the right people together to engage and provoke a strong dialogue from which will emerge a vision that anticipates the broad ramifications of education in the 21st Century.