to this the final substantive session of the conference and congratulations
on staying the course. The session addresses the important and topical
subject of variations in American and European models of HRD. This to some
extent assumes that there can or might be such a thing as a single European
model of HRD, and indeed the same assumption is being applied to the USA
in the theme of the session. Whether we can talk sensibly about a single
European model of HRD has provided a topic of research for many of the
EC funded projects which provide a major focus for the EHRD Base project.
Some of those have and are also addressing directly the comparison with
alternative models such as what might be termed the American model of HRD.
But, we don't know whether it is possible or sensible to talk of a single
American model either! The session then is timely in addressing these difficult
questions which, as well as being of interest to European researchers in
their EC funded projects, are also of interest to members of both UFHRD
We are fortunate to have two very distinguished speakers with us to stimulate
our discussions. I want to welcome and thank first Professor Gary Mclean
from the University of Minnesota, who is also President of the AHRD. Gary
is well known to HRD academics and practitioners across the world as one
of the leading thinkers, researchers and writers in the field of HRD, and
I am very grateful to him for agreeing to speak at this session. Second,
I want to welcome Professor Joseph Kessels from the University of Twente
in the Netherlands. A special thank you is due to Joseph as he has stepped
in at the last minute to replace Professor Jim McGoldrick, who unfortunately
had to withdraw from the conference because of urgent and unexpected circumstances.
Professor Kessels too is well known across Europe and in the USA for his
original thinking on HRD, and I know from personal experience that, whatever
he has to say, it will be both thoughtful and thought provoking.
The session is intended to be participative and to stimulate discussion.
The format therefore will be that Professor McLean will speak for about
15 minutes on US models of HRD. I will take questions at the end to amplify
or clarify any of his points. We will then hear from Professor Kessels
for the same amount of time on European models, again followed by a short
time for questions. After hearing from both speakers, it will then be an
open debate rather than a question and answer session. So, I would now
like to invite Gary to begin the session.
of the author; recording of the session 'HRD Practice: A comparison of
European and US models' held at the HRD conference in Edinburgh, January
2002 (see proceedings).