Community, International, People, Research

Jun Li elected CIES Vice-President and President Designate

June 03, 2021

Education professor Jun Li has made history at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). He is the first East Asia-born to be elected Vice-President and President Designate to office, and also the first from Western University.

“I’m extremely humbled, honoured and thrilled to be taking on this huge leadership role. I am so thankful for the wide trust from CIES members, and I appreciate that very much and I will try my very best to serve the international community,” said Li. “The election is solid evidence and action that the CIES community respects diversity and inclusion.”

Li would like CIES to meet the sustainable development goals for education and development of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030, including alleviating the unequal educational conditions that millions of children face around the world, including those in Canada, such as Indigenous students.

“We have kids who are treated unequally in terms of educational opportunities, and we also see unequal learning outcomes in addition to their potential success of life,” said Li.

Li said his election provides Western with opportunities to increase its impact in international communities through leadership, and to enhance its global partnerships with other universities, organizations, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies, such as UNESCO and the World Bank.

“CIES has members from almost every corner of the world, so we can hear their voices, and we can spread and empower these voices around the world for educational initiatives that we are advocating, especially with regard to social justice and educational equality,” said Li, “This is timely and particularly meaningful to the global movement fighting against Anti-Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) racism.”

At the same time, COVID-19 has provided CIES a role to play in pandemic recovery, said Li. In particular, CIES needs to aggressively approach educational inequality among different groups, especially the underrepresented groups whose situation has been made worse during the pandemic since March 2020.

What’s more, while there’s a desire to go back to how things were before the pandemic, we have to move forward, added Li. We have to face a new normalcy and find new ways to be more inclusive and more innovative to improve our learning, teaching and education.

“We have to keep our hope in solidarity. We have to keep it optimistic and work together, make concerted efforts, so that our situation can be better in the near future and eventually we can win in fighting against the pandemic,” said Li.

Established in 1956, CIES fosters cross-cultural understanding and scholarship and has more than 3,500 members representing over 1,000 universities, research institutes, government departments, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral agencies across the globe. Members explore educational issues related to schools, students, teachers, and administrators — from early childhood and primary school to secondary and higher education, as well as non-formal education and lifelong learning.

Li’s term ends in 2025 after he serves as CIES past president.