Issue 19 lifts off from OUM’s pursuit to regional cooperation exemplified by the recently concluded meeting of a collective of five open universities in Southeast Asia dubbed the OU5. The thread is followed through in the “In Conversation” feature with Prof Melinda Bandalaria, the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), who also tackles an array of contemporary issues, including gendered leadership, universal design for learning, decolonising higher education, and the future of open, distance, and digital education (ODDE). Other highlights of the issue include an interview with Prof Datuk Dr Tajudin Md Ninggal, OUM’s Vice President (Academic & Research), a guest feature on the balkanisation of ODDE discourse by Prof Junhong Xiao, and a techno-optimistic piece on artificial intelligence (AI) in education by AP Dr Nantha Kumar Subramaniam.