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”.  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.

You may wish to investigate the leading vaccines and organizations behind them as of September 2021.

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

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

A White Paper has been prepared under our informal, Crowsnest Collaborative including 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. It is a contribution to the challenge of hazardous biomass-based cooking by 2.8 billion of the world’s people, most of whom are women and girls.  The vision for this project is to address SDG5 and SDG7.

Payments to this workshop series will help to cover the operating costs of this start-up and potential Community of Practice. Two women engineers in graduate studies at the University of Calgary are working with us, we are pleased to report. Contact us for a copy of the White Paper.

Price and scheme:   One hour, $10 per person or by donation, minimum 5 people.  Contact us to arrange timing.

  • 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, J.D. will provide this workshop series from an American perspective.

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 his 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. A brief bio for Ms. Freeland is here.

Currently Offered:

  Fridays, 3:00pm ET.  Facilitator in Kelowna.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, $10/person, minimum 5 people.

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?

We have designed an OLI workshop to enrich and polish 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 you can hear yourself in the “take-away”, if you have opted to perform.

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.  Details are here.

Currently offered:

  By demand for the holidays December 20, 2021 to January 2, 2022, rehearsal style. Facilitators are in Calgary and Ottawa.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, 1-hour sessions, CAD $10/person, or CAD $25 for 3 sessions / tickets. Gift cards are available. See the details or contact us.

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 provide an initial list of such resources for each language workshop.  From time to time we feature experts who speak to us in the target language.

We have designed our OLI language workshops to suit intermediate levels (which we define as an ability to comprehend the language, more or less, when spoken slowly). 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.

  • French conversation – Bonjour!

  Thursdays, 2:00pm, ET.

  • Spanish conversation – ¡Hola! 

  Tuesdays, 8:00pm, ET.

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

  • Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

  Wednesdays, 2:00pm ET.

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 language 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.  Generally, though, we need to charge for our workshops so that we can pay our cherished gig workers and facilitators.

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 are no tests.

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.