The annual conference of the Asian Association for Open Universities (AAOU) took place from 16–18 October in Chiba, Japan, and was attended by more than 300 open university presidents, administrators, teachers and researchers. Open Universities are among the largest global providers of learning opportunities in adult education and lifelong learning. A large number of their adult students are professional teachers seeking continuing education and new subject knowledge for career development or to improve the quality of their teaching. The 52 members of AAOU have a combined student body of over 12 million, while three open universities have enrolments of more than 2 million students each. 
The conference focused on the issue of Open Educational Resources (OER). Many open universities in Asia are already engaging with OER, by making learning materials available online free of charge, and collecting and collating existing free online material. These practices have reduced student costs considerably.
In his keynote speech, Mr. Arne Carlsen, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), focused on the role of open universities in lifelong learning for all, particularly in relation to inclusion and sustainable development. He referenced the Paris Declaration on OER, adopted at the World Conference on OER, which was organised by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning in June 2012. In another keynote speech, the President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, Ms. Asha Kanwar, invoked many cases of OER at the global level. Ms. Kanwar also spoke about Mass Online Open Courses (MOOCs), and presented an example of a MOOC involving more than 160,000 participants.