Exclusive Interview with Dr. Miguel Cardenas: An Innovator, and a Visionary in International Distance Education and eLearning

July 28, 2003

Dr. Miguel Cardenas: My initial academic backround as an electrical engineer in communications, my years of involvement in pioneering global modelling and international development programs in the seventies, and my growing frustration in the eighties of witnessing so many failed telecourse and distance education projects in the U.S. and other countries were three main reasons. Our abuse of telecommunications technology in distance education is the greatest evil we have in this field…

Distance-Educator.com: Distance-Educator.com: ITC has been involved in the field of distance education for close to two decades. What are your current activities and the vision behind them?

Dr. Miguel Cardenas: The ITC has been producing and transmitting via satellite its monthly multi-lingual live video-conferences to connect with a vast network of member organizations in almost 20 countries. In addition, the ITC has developed in recent months a robust and unique web infrastructure through its new websites

www.itc-group.org and www.sdgu.org with the purpose of expanding its international professional development programs and competency certification services, launching the first on-line, video-course based , multi-lingual Master’s degree program in "International Managerial Leadership". Our vision is to become the first truly global distance collaboration network ITC-GNET connecting educational institutions, private enterprise, government and civil society through satellite, digital telephony (ISDN lines) and the Internet, where each participant shares its programs and services of excellence to the others. That’s the real essence of networked collaboration, and the pillar for success of distance education and training.

Distance-Educator.com: Distance-Educator.com: Who do you think would benefit most from participating in programs offered by ITC, and How would those who are interested in learning more about these programs and activities contact your team and you

Dr. Miguel Cardenas: Any organization or individual interested in developing their human and technological capacity to work at a distance and to become more competitive internationally will benefit from participation. Of course, educational institutions have a vital need today in this regard given the explosion of knowledge and the ever more limited resources available to them. Interested parties can contact us directly through our web-sites or via any of our member organizations in their respective countries.

Distance-Educator.com: Distance-Educator.com: What are some of your future plans, and how they relate to the emerging global trends in the 21st century?

Dr. Miguel Cardenas: First, we will be placing increasing emphasis on our on-line training and certification program for distance activity coordinators, instructors and consultants, as well as our other two global competency certification programs: International Managerial Leadership and English Language as a Work-skill. Human competency-building is the key to the future success of our organizations, communities and nations, and we must incorporate this approach to all our distance education and training efforts around the world. Secondly, we will place special importance to the development of strategic alliances with well recognized organizations such as "distance-educator.com",so that ITC-GNET can become a global "network of networks", thus putting in practice what we preach. The networked organization will become the most important development of this century!

Distance-Educator.com: Distance-Educator.com: How do you see the future of the field of distance education in general and its contribution to international development?

Dr. Miguel Cardenas: I believe the urgency to re-invent public and private education around the world is enormous. Distance education through multi-modal, multi-media and multi-technological formats is the only practical solution to this growing challenge. International development today and in the future depends on the success of this human capacity- building effort. It is as simple as that.

Miguel A. Cardenas is a graduate of San Diego State University, where he obtained a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering “Summa Cum Laude.” He later attended

UCLA, having been distinguished with the “Chancellor’s Teaching Fellowship,” a four-year award which represents the highest academic honor to an entering graduate student at the University of California system. There he completed a Master of Science degree in the field of Operations Research and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering.

During the seventies, Dr. Cardenas was a full-time faculty member of the prestigious Systems Engineering Department at Case Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was co-chairman of the first-ever regionalized international global modeling project called “Mankind at the Turning Point,” sponsored by the Club de Rome. At that time he also published the first ever textbooks on systems engineering and applications in the Spanish language.

Dr. Cardenas has written and has collaborated on numerous books and articles, and has presented courses and seminars in systems thinking, regional planning and organizational development. He has been a consultant to corporations and public agencies internationally. His activities have focused on the areas of educational and professional development programs, instructional technology, projects for private enterprise, creation of new regional study centers and technical assistance projects to private organizations and public institutions in Latin America. From 1977 to 1983 Dr. Cardenas served as chief government administrator (Oficial Mayor de Gobierno) and Secretary of Education and Social Welfare for the State of Baja California, Mexico.

Currently he is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of both San Diego Global Educational Institute and the ITC Group, entities dedicated to innovation in technology-based international distance learning and collaboration, in addition to serving internationally as an advisor to public organizations and corporations. As Executive Director of the International Training Center, he is the creator of the titles and themes of the ITC multilingual videoconferences and the owner of its copyrights.