FlagsThe concept of a “Forum” has a very special meaning! A gathering where ideas and innovation are widely shared, where all the participants both give and receive. Everyone is an “expert”, every participant brings a unique and valuable experience and perspective. Why does this matter? At the World Forum on Early Care and Education, almost half of the participants present on panels with their colleagues, and everyone contributes to discussions that are an integral part of each panel “presentation”, which is lead by contributors from a variety of countries with diverse early education programs and perspectives. Rounding out the Forum are plenary sessions each day shining light on innovation and unique solutions demonstrated by World Forum members from all parts of the global community.

At each World Forum, a group of dedicated “WoFo-ers” arrive who have participated in many Forums since the first in Hawaii in 2001. Just as importantly, each Forum brings inquisitive new “Wofo-ers” who experience and contribute to their first World Forum. The expression, “Change and Be Changed” is often heard around WoFo and it is more than just a promotional line. These words were pivotal to Bonnie and Roger Neugebauer in their idea of starting the World Forum and essential to its successful growth. We each bring to the World Forum our perspectives on early education from our own experience. We leave with perspectives and friendships immensely broader.

World Forum 2024 VancouverApril 16-19, 2024, Canada will welcome a long-awaited World Forum to Vancouver, British Columbia. In Macao, China in 2019, it was excitedly announced that the next Forum would be in Vancouver, BC. Canada in 2021. Our Canadian delegation welcomed the opportunity to host the world! Then the pandemic hit worldwide and there was no forum in 2021. Travel being still restricted in 2022, it was decided to hold a Forum in the United States where Visas were a bit more available. Orlando was a great exchange of ideas and kept the momentum flowing. The Forum in Panama in 2023 brought the first Forum to Central America. Now the Forum will finally make it to beautiful Vancouver when the cherry blossoms are welcoming the World!

Vancouver BC CanadaVancouver is one of the warmest spots in Canada (still bring your jacket and rain gear) and our host committee is planning a warm Canadian springtime welcome for all. We think spring is very fitting for our next Forum as new ideas awaken, new colleagues from around the world make their contributions to the Forum community and new friendships will emerge to carry our field forward with innovation.

There will always be obstacles making the delivery of early education challenging in every part of the world. As we come together for this World Forum, it is more crucial than ever that we hear the stories of both challenges and overcoming obstacles that reflect the strength and tenacity of the incredible people who share a passion for making meaningful care and education opportunities in support of young children and their families. The World Forum comes together in the deepest sense of community building where respect for uniqueness is highly valued and minds are open to unforeseen ideas and opportunities.

Patsy Pillay of South Africa

Patsy Pillay of South Africa at the 2023 World Forum [©World Forum Foundation]

These key factors make the World Forum an experience that changes us, broadens our perspective, and builds a shared optimism that our vital work will prevail. Through exchange of ideas and support for one another, our community of colleagues grows and strengthens with each Forum. The World Forum planning team and the Canadian Host Committee are ready for you! Plan now to “change and be changed for good!” Be a change maker in 2024!

The Canadian Host Committee welcomes the World Forum 2024. Bring your ideas, make new friends, and take away new perspectives and uplifted hope in your mission of service to children and families.

Author, Karen Foster-Jorgensen

Karen Foster-Jorgensen is an early childhood business strategist striving to inspire directors and their organizations to success in their vital missions. She is an Exchange Leader, Canadian national representative to the World Forum, and a frequent presenter at international conferences. In her most recent book, "It's More About Strategy Than Math: Early Childhood Business Financial Success," Foster-Jorgensen shares 36 key strategies for developing successful business models. She invites you to join her directors' community, launching in 2022, and welcomes your ideas at [email protected].

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