OLi Workshops 2022

Our existing OLi workshops are intended as sources of professional and personal development or corporate training. They are samples of our work and the expertise of some members of our network. They are designed for those interested in pursuing the link between public policy, foreign affairs AND science, technology and innovation.

They may help you build knowledge and develop your on-line presentation skills. They may aid you in your bid to improve foreign language skills. One or two are ideal as ice-breakers and to hone your sense of humour as well as grapple with the history of science.  Who knows? You may find new peers, clients or advisors with whom to network.

We can assemble other workshops on the request of clients. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Participants at our small-sized workshops agree to share their names and Email addresses so they can follow up with one another as they please, though exceptions to this guideline may be made if workshops are unusually large and not all attendees are known to the organizers.  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.  Members of our network have worked in or for Canadian, American and European government agencies, the UN, international NGOs and development banks. We can recruit academic and private sector expertise as needed for a given subject area. The founder of this company and coordinator of related networks has worked at many of Canada’s federal government funding agencies for science and technology, related line departments, the S&T unit of the Canadian department of foreign affairs, and projects in low income countries.

Topics, prices, timing

Below is our syllabus for which we have some 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 calculated by taking their quotes into account. These cases are marked with “TBD”, meaning “To Be Determined”.  Workshop timing is stated in Eastern Time (ET), North America, and Central European Time (CET).  If you live outside these regions, you can determine what time the workshops are held in your own time zone by checking 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 brief yourself by consulting a historical chronicle of the leading vaccines and organizations behind them as of November 2021.

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

B.  Science, Technology and Innovation to Address Climate Change (STI4CC) 

  • OLi STI4CC community of interest

Over the past years OLi-works has brokered a loose coalition of interested and independent consultants into a community of interest that meets regularly to discuss developments and topics in the realm of energy, and applications of science, technology and innovation for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Our perspective is based on international expertise and field experience, often in low income countries, or in agencies with an international scope. A description of our pilot to convert this community into a subscription service is described here.

If you would like to join our community for weekly discussions on Mondays, 14h00 ET, 20h00 CET, the cost is $25 CAD per person for 12 weeks.  Welcome!  For more information, contact us.

  • Global clean cooking  ~ E

Over 2020-21 a trio of us came together to collectively prepare a White Paper under the leadership of Ken Robertson. Ken is a former NGO founder and current consultant for sustainable, small-scale off-grid energy solutions in low income countries. Our White Paper described the potential of co-deploying thermal energy storage devices with solar-powered micro-grids for cooking in rural communities. We were addressing the major challenge of hazardous biomass-based cooking by 2.8 billion of the world’s people, most of whom are women and girls.  The identified sustainable development goals (SDGs) for this project were SDG5 and SDG7. Two graduate students at the University of Calgary’s Sustainable Energy Development Program (SEVD) worked diligently with us over the year.

We remain interested in off-grid energy solutions and global clean cooking as a project area to pursue. If this topic is one you are pursuing, please feel welcome to contact us for a discussion..

  • Summary of COP26 of the UNFCCC, and lead-up to COP 27  ~ E

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held its 26th meeting of the Community of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow in November 2021. The Parties will meet again in November 2022 for COP 27.

On this topic our expert, with behind-the-scenes knowledge and experience, addresses the following issues in the run-up to COP 27:

  Developments with respect to national undertakings to finance technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the status of the United Nations climate fund;

  Revised country commitments in 2021 and 2022 to achieve net carbon zero;

  Investments in the clean energy sector, in particular by the US, and their global implications;

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

Mr. Arthur Levin, J.D. will provide this workshop series from a global and American perspective.

The above is a climate change primer workshop, for anyone who is interested in developments at the global level and the status of funding commitments for clean energy initiatives. A separate workshop is also offered by Mr. Levin tracing the global evolution from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol up to the Paris Agreement of 2015. 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.  Professional English; Deciphering International Affairs and Foreign Policy

  • Perspectives on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats (2012)

One approach for professionals from science, engineering, health or other technology backgrounds to tackle public policy and international affairs, and to practice their English if they wish, is to begin with mainstream books that are accessible, well researched, and by authors with recognized qualifications.  The books (and authors) may be loved or detested by social scientists and others but a little controversy often makes for useful debate. 

For the purpose of launching a general discussion and workshop, 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. We have assembled a short-list of book reviews here

Currently Offered:

  Fridays, 14h00 ET, 20h00 CET.

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

D.  Creative English; History of Science and Technology and the Theatre

  • Science, Diplomacy and Shakespeare

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 English 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.

We also promise a few laughs. 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: 1) the level of science and technology in the age, 2) the authorship debate and 3) the nature of the regime and diplomacy.  Details are here.

Currently offered:

  Wednesdays, 20h00 ET, or at a negotiated time in the case of small groups.

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 Other 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, often free and excellent resources on the Internet. The challenge for many learners, though, is talking in the target language and being understood.   From time to time we feature experts who speak to us in the target language.

We have designed our OLi language workshops to provide a weekly incentive, to be informal and fun, and to furnish a setting to meet other learners and potential friends at different locations. Each workshop has a native speaker assigned as a facilitator. We are using a standard format for these, 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, 12h00 ET, 18h00 CET – Intermediate

  • Spanish conversation – ¡Hola! 

   Tuesdays, 14h30 ET, 20h30 CET – Intermediate, Spanish from Spain and Colombia

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

  • Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

  Saturdays, 14h00 ET, 20h00 CET – Beginner

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 on-line presentations, engage in live Q&A and network. Unlike webinars, our workshops are oriented to small groups.
  • OLi workshops provide you with a rehearsal platform and supportive audience in the on-line space. Your participation, delivery and language will be enhanced with practice, and we can help you with your presentation material if needed.
  • Networking among attendees is encouraged – you may make friends in far-away places!
  • 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.