We, the participants at the Sixth World Assembly of the International Council for Adult Education, meeting in Ocho Rios, Jamaica between 9th and 12th August, 2001 affirm the vital importance of adult learning.
From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 through the Declaration of the International Conference on Adult Education in Hamburg in 1997, to the World Forum on Education for All in Dakar in 2000, an international consensus has been reached on the right to education and the right to learn throughout life for women and men as well as on the central role of adult education in support of creative and democratic citizenship. As the Hamburg Declaration has stated,
The informed and effective participation of men and women in every sphere of life is needed if humanity is to survive and meet the challenges of the future.
We have come to Ocho Rios from all parts of the world dreaming of a new international community of justice, democracy and respect for difference. Yet everywhere we see an economic globalisation that widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots creating needs among the ever-growing number of excluded women and men and also degrading the environment. It shifts the focus of learning from the collective to the individual. This context exacerbates diverse forms of discrimination based on gender, race, disability, class, religion, sexual orientation or personal preferences, age, linguistic and ethnic differences; and discrimination against aboriginal peoples, refugees, migrants and displaced persons.
We have taken notice of the large numbers of people from all corners of the world who in Porto Alegre, Gothenberg, Quebec City, Genoa and elsewhere have expressed their profound concerns about the directions proposed by global financial actors. At the same time we have taken notice of emerging forms of active citizenship and the importance of local and grassroots activities in challenging globalisation.
We are caught in a dilemma between the possibilities of a genuinely democratic and sustainable learning society, and the passivity, poverty, vulnerability and chaos that economic globalisation is creating everywhere. We commit ourselves to working for an equitable world where all forms of discrimination are eliminated and peace is possible.
In this context the International Council for Adult Education together with its regional bodies, national associations and networks needs to support people who have been voiceless in finding their own voice. We are committed to being self-critical in our own practice. To this end we have commitments and proposals for action which begins with ourselves.
We call on our partners in governments, multi-lateral and bi-lateral agencies to play their part in supporting us to achieve this programme of work.
We call upon social movements, non-governmental bodies and other civil society formations across the full range of public life and social concerns to work in partnership with us, complementing each other towards the same end.
We call for full support for the UNESCO Institute for Education as the United Nations mandated institution for adult and lifelong learning to hold the international follow-up meeting to CONFINTEA V in 2003.
We are determined to seize the moment to move from words to action.
For more information contact:
International Council for Adult Education,
720 Bathurst Street, Suite 500, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2R4
Telephone: 1-416-588-1211, Fax: 1-416-588-5725
You can search for articles in our article index (sorted by authors, issues, year, regions and countries). It also provides a full text search.
The journal Adult Education and Development is distributed free of charge in English, French and Spanish. If you wish to receive the journal, please subscribe here.