OLI Workshops 2021

Our OLI workshops are intended as sources of professional and personal development or corporate training that may be used on-the-job, to market yourself, and to find peers with whom to network. By attending, participants agree to share their names and Email addresses so they can follow up with one another as they please. Please contact us with any questions or for more information.


As current consultants or former implementors within departments, agencies and organizations that contribute to public and foreign policy, deliver international aid programs or shape the international agenda, members of our network tend to be practitioners within the area of international affairs rather than scholars of the field. However we can recruit academic and other expertise as needed for a given subject area.

Topics, prices, timing

Below is our syllabus for which we have background. Topics requiring an expert or more, and who we have on the sidelines, are marked with an “E”. The final price, if not already stated, will be determined by taking their quotes into account. These cases are marked with “TBD”.

We would love to offer our OLI workshops for free, but as a start-up we don’t have an earmarked fund to draw upon to cover costs. Many of the workshops include one or more paid facilitators who we hire on a gig basis. Sooner or later we may have more options, however for now we can promise you independence from any influence as a platform offering learning, training, discussion, networking and even some humour.

The workshops are offered on a drop-in basis with the prices assigned below. To determine what time the workshops are held in your own time zone, check the World Clock Meeting Planner.

A.  Building our Scientific Literacy in Health Innovation
  • State-of-the-art for viral vaccines, therapeutics and other anti-virals ~ E

For general background on the novel coronavirus and the pandemic, we launched a blog here, early spring 2020. But clearly there is massive information and we have been waiting for some settling out.

Currently we are investigating the companies behind the leading 14 vaccine contenders as of March 2021.

Contact us if you are interested in this topic. Experts can be assembled should workshop subscribers wish, with the price TBD.

Price and scheme: Without experts, $10 per person, drop-in.

B.  Science, Technology and Innovation to Address Climate Change (STI4CC)
  • A surge in microgrid energy sources and their applications for rural development ~ E

A draft White Paper has been prepared under our informal, Crowsnest Collaborative by three network members with field experience in low income countries: Mr. Steve O’Gorman, Mr. Ken Robertson and Ms. Meg Barker.  The White Paper describes the promise of co-deploying thermal energy storage devices with solar-powered microgrids in rural communities not adequately served by national grids. Falling costs of solar energy, digitization and pay-as-you-go models open up the possibility of electric clean cooking as a service. The challenge is to tackle the problem of hazardous biomass-based cooking by 2.8 billion of the world’s people, most of whom are women and girls. Sustainability may be enhanced by incorporation of food cooling and storage components. Our vision is to address SDG5 and SDG7.

Payments to this workshop series will help to cover the operating costs of this start-up project and Community of Practice. Two women engineers in graduate studies at the University of Calgary are working with us, we are thrilled to report.

Price and scheme:  Two 1-hour sessions, $10/person/session or by donation.

  • The impact of the 2020 US election on the Paris Agreement ~ E

With the Biden administration in place, we propose an up-to-date workshop series that will address the following topics:

  An insider’s view on the current status of the 2015 Paris Agreement, from which the Trump administration withdrew;

  Highlights of the recent, informal Climate Summit of world leaders, and the new national commitments on carbon neutrality;

  Chances that COP26 in Glasgow will revitalize the global commitment to climate change with sincere pledges;

  Investment in the clean energy sector ;

  Reversal of climate deregulation launched by Trump, and its impact on green tech.

Mr. Art Levin will provide this workshop series from an American perspective. He is a telecommunications lawyer based in Florida, and a former Chief of Staff of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). He was ITU’s Lead Delegate sent to the UN global climate change negotiations for many years. Mr. Levin was among the team of drafters whose ultimate outcome was the Paris Agreement.

A climate change primer workshop, for anyone who has delayed gaining knowledge about the road from Kyoto to Paris, is also offered by Mr. Levin. See more about him, and the earlier workshop series, here.

Price and scheme:  Three 1-hour sessions, price TBD. Contact us to negotiate a group price.

C.  Deciphering International Affairs and Foreign Policy
  • Perspectives on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats (2012)

This year we are launching an OLI book club that may be of interest to those who wish to discuss public policy and international affairs. To begin, we have chosen Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (2012)The author of this book, Ms. Chrystia Freeland, is the Minister of Finance for the Government of Canada, as of August 2020. She is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. A brief bio for Ms. Freeland is here.

Currently Offered:

  Fridays, 3:00pm EDT.  Facilitators in Kelowna, with other locations TBD.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, $10/person.

D.  Creative English and rehearsal platform for engineers, scientists and others
  • Science, Diplomacy and Shakespeare

Are you feeling that with each new scientific article, engineer’s drawing, legal brief or simplified stakeholder instruction that your grasp of literary writing is fading? Or that you are at a loss for new English words to better convey your meaning? Or that your appreciation of the literary arts could use a creative infusion?

We have designed an OLI workshop to enrich English and gain further appreciation of the literary arts. Using theatre as our inspiration, this workshop will help you develop further confidence in speaking, learn new words and practice performing as a voice actor. We read plays on-line, so, over time, you learn to speak with the aplomb of a celebrity.  The play scripts, written by creators at OLI-works, are modern adaptations of some of Shakespeare’s comedies.  We record the sessions so everyone can hear themselves.

Three themes are highlighted in this OLI workshop series: the level of science and technology in the age, the authorship debate and the nature of diplomacy. Though that all sounds very serious, this creative OLI workshop is zany and fun, for anyone who needs a laugh while learning.  Details are here.

Currently offered:

  Wednesdays, 9:30pm EDT.  Facilitators are in Kelowna and Calgary.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $10/person.

E.  Re-booting or Improving Oral Language skills

Thinking of marketing on-line to new locations, or travelling again when it is safe to do so?  We offer language workshops that are intended as oral, conversational practice that might be part of one’s own devised course of learning. There are ample resources on the Internet. We may assemble a list of resources for each language workshop in due course.

We have designed our OLI language workshops to suit high beginners and intermediate levels (which we define as an ability to comprehend the language, when spoken slowly, and at least partially). We are using a standard format across all language workshops, with more details here. To determine what time the workshops are held in your own time zone, check the World Clock Meeting Planner.

  • Informal, French conversation – Bonjour!

  Mondays, 2:00pm, EDT.

  • Informal, Spanish conversation – ¡Hola! 

  Tuesdays, 8:00pm, EDT.

❖  Thursdays, 7:00pm, EDT.

Here’s a photo of our first workshop of 2021.

  • Informal, Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

  Wednesdays, 2:00pm EDT.

Additional sessions with different timing and facilitators may be arranged if the number of subscribers grow. Contact us if you want to inform us of your preferred times.

Price and scheme for all of the workshops above: Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $15/person.

Minimal technology

Participants will require high-speed Internet access, a device (computer/laptop, tablet or mobile phone), headset with microphone, or a built-in microphone in a private, quiet setting. The total length of time for signing on, introductions, presentation and discussion at an OLI workshop is set at one hour.

Is anything for free?

Normally, we are happy to provide up to 1 hour of free, one-on-one training, including on how to make on-line payments. Contact us to book a time.

Why OLI workshops instead of on-line courses?

  • Our OLI workshops are designed to allow everyone – facilitators, experts, participants – to talk, make presentations, engage in live Q&A and network. Unlike webinars, our workshops are oriented to small groups.
  • OLI workshops provide a rehearsal platform in the on-line space. Your on-line participation, delivery and language will be enhanced with practice.
  • OLI workshops are often attended by existing professionals with a wish to interact with peers.
  • Networking among attendees is encouraged.
  • Our workshops are informal, oriented to the development of your marketability. There will be no tests unless requested.

Your suggestions welcome

Please feel encouraged to be in touch with us on any of the topics above, and to indicate your interest in registering, if you are so inclined. If you have a subject you wish to see included in the syllabus, let us know.