Robert Adamson

I have been involved in education, mentorship and innovative approaches to learning and entrepreneurship for over 20 years around the globe.  I teach at the Beedie School of Business and am also the Executive Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada.

I have worked at international law firms, university think-tanks, as well as with various governments, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in over 20 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.

I have been involved with publishers and educators in the design and review of innovative educational approaches and new technologies. I have been involved with governments in the design of educational policy and regulation. I have been involved in the education strategies while teaching and running research programs at universities, think-tanks and consulting firms.

I have been particularly focused on the essential role that education plays in providing opportunities. More specifically, education plays a critical role in affording opportunity to disadvantaged communities around the world who struggle to create the skills and find the support to improve their lives. Having access to education and mentorship truly transforms lives.

One of my earliest experiences was working with local educators and officials in creating long-distance education program for remote communities in Viet Nam. We took on this project in the late 1990s when technology limited what we were able to achieve. But the impact of this small project was demonstrable as children and local elders were not only receptive to new learning opportunities but wanted to take whatever next steps possible to improve access to education for both the young and old.

Technology has changed so dramatically today that innovation in education has greater promise and fewer limits than ever before.

Technology also makes it easier to collaborate with local networks of educators and directly with students regardless (almost) of their location.

But there are many challenges that remain, and some that grow more daunting. Many children do not have access to school and educational opportunity.

Even if there is access to school, there is often little access to mentorship and meaningful support.

The reality for many in most parts of the world is that jobs are not easy to find. This applies to the developed world as well as the developing world. As a result, the role of entrepreneurship will continue to grow in importance and focus.

In particular, social innovation and entrepreneurship will grow in focus as entrepreneurs -young and old- imagine and design ways to create value and opportunity alongside socially beneficial outcomes and impacts.

I have also spent a lot of time as a student myself. I received a B.A. (Hons.) from McGill University, an LL.B. from the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia and the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen, and a Masters of Laws (LL.M.) from the London School of Economics. I was law clerk to Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada and a member of the Canadian Bar Association.

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