In December 1982 at the University of BC Faculty Club, lower level, the founding meeting of the International Foundation of Learning was held, sponsored by the then President of UBC, Dr. Doug Kenny, and Dr. Peter Suedfeld, Dean of Graduate Studies (both former Chairs of the Psychology Department). At that meeting, over 50 community and university leaders agreed to support this new foundation, described and led by Dr. Geraldine Schwartz then Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Principal of the Vancouver Learning Centre (VLC), a private organization delivering assessment and rehabilitation services to the student population described above.
In attendance as well were a substantive number of parents, also community leaders in medicine, law and business, whose children had benefited from the Vancouver Learning Centre services, and who were willing to give back their considerable expertise so that the kind of services provided by the VLC could be more widely accessed in the BC community.
Also among the participants were the Honourable Nathan Nemetz, then Chief Justice of B.C. and David Freeman, Q.C., head of a large B.C. law firm and member of the UBC Senate.
This cohort of leaders felt that the stated purpose of the new Foundation to provide the best new thinking in the area of learning (with a special focus on learning difficulties) to the leaders in education and psychology charged with providing services to the province’s learners would serve the constituents of concern. They agreed to form the Foundation.
A Charity is Born
In March 1983, the new Foundation received its charitable status. Dr. Doug Kenny, past President of UBC, and Mr. Nathan Nemetz served as honorary patrons. David Freeman, QC served as Secretary Treasurer and Dr. Peter Suedfeld and many others present at the first meeting, served on the first Board of Directors. Mr. Cam Fraser, then President of Argus International, a substantive business leader who had two children served by the Vancouver Learning Centre, became Chairman of the Board of some 14 prominent citizen volunteers.
Over the years, several Deans of Education at UBC and Faculty Department Heads in psychology at SFU also served on this Board. Dr. Geraldine Schwartz served as President and led the subsequent events of the IFL.
The International Foundation of Learning adopted as its mandate the enhancement of learning across the continuum of all learners. The Foundation sought to improve opportunities for learning by fostering the presentation of world class research, training and applications in the field of learning, its disorders and its enhancement. The Foundation was proud to sponsor events, which brought world leaders in this field together with key thinkers, leaders in business and government and educators and scholars in our own community.
The International Foundation of Learning
The International Foundation of Learning began to offer low-cost world-class programs to leaders in education, to Psychologists and to parents in 1984. By 1985 we proposed to step up our contributions to host a large world-class event that would require partnerships, collaborations, and funding.
The International Foundation of Learning adopted as its mandate the enhancement of learning across the continuum of all learners. The Foundation seeks to improve opportunities for learning by fostering the presentation of world-class research, training, and applications in the field of learning, its disorders and its enhancement. The Foundation was proud to sponsor events, which brought world leaders in this field together with key thinkers, leaders in business and government and educators and scholars in our own community.
It was our objective to encourage the development of pilot projects throughout British Columbia that would reflect and enhance the work of the world leaders we brought to Catalyst Forum events (events geared to turn the knowledge gained into models and demonstration projects).
It should be clear at this time that the friendship and collegial respect and service to parents and children, allowed the Vancouver Learning Centre to provide the network of leaders that enabled the International Foundation of Learning to form and gain credibility early in its journey.
International Foundation of Learning Initatives
The International Foundation of Learning hosted and sponsored many events over the years, in particular five major initiatives:
1. Towards the Quantum Mind: First Steps in Action. May 28-31, 1986; Burnaby, British Columbia. Read more.
2. Quantum Mind II: Unlocking the Brain’s Mysteries. June 24-25, 1988; Burnaby, British Columbia. Read more.
3. Dare to Imagine: A First Nations Project. March 1991; Vancouver, British Columbia. Read more.
4. Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress. April 4-6, 1997; Vancouver Public Library. Read more.
5. Institute for Ethical Leadership. Vancouver, British Columbia. Read more.
A New Mission for a New Century
In 2017, The International Foundation of Learning initiated a partnership with The Visioneers International Network to support, promote and grow the platform.
The mission of the network is to connect Visioneers with each other, building a global network of changemakers, showcasing the good-work projects and lifetime achievements of Visioneers around the world, and providing real-world mentorship and learning opportunities for Visioneers. We are building a Web of Good Work as a counter to the fog of negativity shrouding discourse on current global conditions and future prospects.