Heribert Hinzen

This paper points out that the need for dialogue between cultures and religions acquired a new dimension through the events of 11 September. What does this mean in practice for the work of the IIZ/DVV? The Institute is increasingly active in crisis regions in the fight against poverty and terrorism. Other relevant areas of work are, for example, projects on the theme of “intercultural dialogue” and the issue of EU eastward expansion. Prof.(H) Heribert Hinzen, Director of the IIZ/DVV, provides an overview. He has occupied various posts within the Institute since 1977 in Germany and abroad. He has taught and researched at universities in Germany, Sierra Leone and Hungary.

After 11th September ... Development-Oriented Adult Education as World Domestic Policy?

On 11th September 2001 I was sitting in an aeroplane on the way to Azerbaijan, one of the three countries in the Southern Caucasus, in order to conduct negotiations there on a new project office that we were opening. The combination of flying time and change of clock meant that I was late reaching the hotel. Whenever I unpack, I usually welcome the chance to catch a glimpse of television news. This time I was greeted by an Azeri station with what I took to be a science fiction thriller in which aircraft were crashing into skyscrapers. But I was looking for news, and so I clicked on to another channel, a Turkish station which was showing the same, barely recognisable footage. It must have been a good film if it was on in several languages at once! I still did not grasp what was going on as I clicked on the next channel, a Russian one, in the background of which the same film was showing, while President Putin was giving an interview in the foreground. Since the same film sequence was inserted several times while he was speaking, it gradually dawned on me that something quite awful must have happened. Unfortunately I could not find any of the usual global (?) channels such as CNN, the BBC or Deutsche Welle. I had therefore to wait until next morning. I then discovered what had happened from the Embassy. I still could not imagine it.

I learnt from telephone calls to head office and the Ministry about the regulatory response: aircraft grounded and security controls. A few days later I took a 24-hour train journey from Baku to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where the northern mountain valleys join those of Chechnya, providing a through route to its capital, Grozny.

About four weeks later I was talking to a German representative at the World Bank in Washington, for which we were conducting the study “Literacy and Livelihoods”.1 Naturally the conversation got around to 11th September, and the salvage and clearing-up operation in New York. It was the time when diplomatic moves were being made to put together as wide an anti-terrorist coalition as possible. We spoke of what had struck us on the day itself. I told him of my impressions of the journey to the Caucasus, of our plans there, and of our discussions with the local World Bank offices. He then said that he had been flying from Frankfurt to Washington on 11th, and that they had been informed half way there that the airspace over the United States was closed, so that the plane had to return immediately to Germany. No one mentioned the unthinkable.

In the many conversations that I have had since, especially in connection with the allocation by the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, of special funds to combat terrorism, and with the Action Programme 2015 (more about this later), I found the observation of one colleague particularly unnerving: we are so bemused by that brutal terrorist attack that we overlook the depressing fact that people were also dying of poverty throughout the world on 11th September 2001, and on 10th and 12th, as on every other day of the year – so are these millions of deaths to be accepted as normal? UNICEF alone speaks of 40,000 children a day dying of illnesses born of poverty. Where is the alliance fighting with the same determination in this case? Of course, one cannot set off the one against the other. But it is important to look further, as does Prof. Czempiel of the Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Resolution, when he remarks that although poverty cannot be seen as the only cause, it must be regarded as a “breeding ground for terrorism”. We still have to face up to the question: has education any relevance to this, and can it do something to improve the situation today, or failing that, tomorrow?

On the very day when I started responding to the Editor’s invitation to write about “Globalization and Regionalization from the Standpoint of your Institute”, I came across two interesting publications dealing with the notion of world domestic policy. In its latest edition, das forum, the journal of the Bavarian Volkshochschulen, focuses on this question, discussing future economic and globalization issues associated with the local Agenda 21, and dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims. It concludes with the message “Many cultures – one Volkshochschule”. The Foundation for Development and Peace has also just brought out its latest Policy Paper on “World Policy at the Cross-roads”, in which it argues: “In response to 11th September, world policy needs to aim at cooperative world domestic policy. Europe must be willing and able to give a lead in this change of direction. And other world regions must play a greater part in shaping the world economy and world policy.” The term “development-oriented adult education” in my title may now make more sense.

If interested readers do not know as much about the work of this Institute as they would like, they can find out more from www.iiz-dvv.de, from our annual reports or from a publication that appeared in 1994 looking back on the last 25 years.2

I. What Particularly Concerned the IIZ/DVV and its Partners in 2001

Education for All – Lifelong and Crucial for Living

Regardless of all the discussion about the relationship between education and development – whether the one comes before or after the other – it is clear that education is a “must”, a prerequisite, a key or a catalyst. The figures put forward at the World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 were less surprising than shocking: nearly 900 million young people and adults cannot read and write, while over 100 million children of school age are deprived of their right to education. The year 2015 was declared to be the date by which decisive advances were to be made (a halving of the illiteracy rate, schooling for all children, equality of opportunities for girls and women).

More than eighteen months have elapsed. The coordinating committee specially set up by UNESCO, Unicef and the World Bank met in Paris in October and found that little had improved and much had grown worse. The press release of 29th October from the German UNESCO Commission was therefore right in choosing as its title “Education falling behind”: for further information, it refers readers to www.unesco.org/education So far it is still far from clear where the additional 15 billion euros that are needed are to come from. Demographic growth means that another 150 million school places have to be found every year for Africa, the Arab States and South Asia alone; at the same time, around 90 million adults need to become literate each year. Although the main burden is to be borne by the countries themselves, it is obvious that they cannot succeed without support and funding from the donor community. Surely no one can doubt that this would be a wise investment. No one dares to ask, for example, what the Israel-Palestine conflict, which has currently flared up again into open warfare, is costing in lives and material resources.

Education in Development Cooperation

It might be assumed that anyone who cares about a fairer world and the development policy that may achieve this would give generous support to education – in its own right and as part of other programmes. Unfortunately there has recently been an opposite trend, to which the IIZ/DVV Advisory Board and the DVV Board of Management called attention in clearly worded statements at its June meetings (which are worth reading at www.iiz-dvv.de): education is currently receiving less funding via development cooperation than in the previous decade. And this applies particularly to school and out-of-school basic education and to higher education; vocational training is an exception for the time being, having been maintained as an element of economic support.

One thing should be understood. This trend does not imply a policy decision to give less support to education. The Federal Government’s Action Programme 2015 on combating poverty, which was adopted at Cabinet level and is thus part of an attempt to coordinate all areas of policy, contains in several places an explicit call for more and better education, especially when linked with AIDS education, environmental education and gender equality. What has happened, however, is an indirect, gradual shift of emphasis in bilateral negotiations between governments, as a result of which education is mentioned increasingly rarely as a separate project area: last year, education was mentioned explicitly in only four agreements with recipient countries, far less often than fields such as economic reform, water management, health and democratization. They are all important – but will they work without education?

Fortunately, increasing recognition is being given to this worrying trend: together with the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the IIZ/DVV called for the establishment of a committee to pool efforts to reverse the trend. This has now been set up with additional partners such as the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German UNESCO Commission (DUK) and members of the NGO Association for Development Policy (VENRO).

Adult Education Conference: Learning through International Cooperation

At the December meeting of the DVV Board of Management it was observed that international involvement and events concerned with European and global issues had been high on the agenda of the 11th German Adult Education Conference, held under the slogan “The Future needs Learning needs a Future”. The IIZ/DVV can be proud of having been responsible for this element. In the fifty-year history of these meetings there had in fact never been so many participants from literally all European countries, as well as from the Caucasus, Southeast Asia and the United States, among the thousand or so colleagues discussing their achievements and prospects, not to mention a total of over 150 representatives from UNESCO, the EU and the World Bank. Those who are interested are referred to the latest issue of our journal “Adult Education and Development”, which contains some of the contributions – including those of Federal President Rau, EU Commissioner for Education Reding and Prof. Nuscheler – in English, French and Spanish.3

Nearly 25 sessions provided information and opportunities for discussion. The variety of topics, only some of which can be mentioned here, speaks for itself:

  • Agenda 21 – Eight steps towards Local Government of the Future

  • Stability through Adult Education? Projects and Partners in South East Europe


  • Learning: Lifelong and Globally?

  • Adult Education and EU Enlargement in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Globalization: Is the South Losing Touch?

  • International Cooperation and New Partnerships

  • European Voices on the EU Memorandum on Lifelong Learning

  • Adult Education Centres in the Context of Globalization

  • Education for All and Lifelong Learning

A fuller report would include the many workshops on intercultural and cross-border adult education, and language learning and certification in the European Year of Languages, in the context of course of the consequences of improved policy on integration and changes in citizenship. This Adult Education Conference may indeed have ushered in a greater internationalization of adult education, to which we need to react positively.

Dialogue between Cultures

In 1998, the General Conference of UNESCO declared that 2001 would be the “International Year of Dialogue between Cultures”. It was stressed “how important tolerance is in international relations and what a significant role dialogue plays as a means of achieving understanding, overcoming threats to peace and strengthening interaction and exchange between cultures...”. Every Member State was asked especially during this year “to plan and implement appropriate cultural, educational and social programmes” which would help to attain this great goal. Examples of best practice were to be documented as a form of recognition and to encourage their dissemination.

This special publication presents almost 75 such projects from the fields of visual art, literature, music, drama, festivals, the media, science, human rights – and education. This last heading includes references to the German Foundation for International Development (DSE) for activities in Chile (conflict management in schools), Indonesia (vocational colleges) and Ethiopia (school supervision), and to the work of the Georg Eckert Institute for International Schoolbook Research on foreign cultures in geography teaching. The IIZ/DVV is singled out in the section on Democracy and Human Rights for the project on Adult Education in South East Europe with its effective involvement of the Volkshochschulen.

II. What the IIZ/DVV and its Partners Can Expect in 2002

The need for dialogue between both cultures and religions has acquired new meaning with the appalling events of 11th September, as its consequences make plain, and the Gesellschaft für Deutsche Sprache (German Language Society) has declared it to be the Word of the Year 2001. Politicians worldwide reacted very swiftly with more than military action. And no one could have missed the view expressed that more attention needs to be paid to analysis and future strategic planning in order to deal with the growing gulf between rich and poor due to globalization, the social impact of which has not yet softened to an acceptable degree. As Kofi Annan’s initiative entitled “Bridges to the Future. A Manifesto for Dialogue between Cultures” says, “Can there be peace without justice?” And, “How can we appeal to people’s consciences throughout the world so that they recognise that poverty is an issue wherever it appears? Questions of this nature must be addressed at local, national, regional and global level.” The document is dedicated “to the innocent who died because their only guilt was that they were different from their murderers.”

Hence it is not only projects aimed at crisis and conflict prevention that must be given greater prominence in development work and in foreign policy on culture and education, but also those dealing with poverty, because of the close connections between the two.

Steps Taken under the Action Programme 2015: Combating Poverty

Development policy must be part of overall structural policy. It has to be measured by its contribution to the reduction of world poverty. The Action Programme 2015 was not only adopted by Cabinet; it also reflects the aims of international development. In other words, there is a remarkable echo effect at work, which was discernible at the international conference just concluded in Mexico on development funding.

Firstly, the federal budget presented in November 2001 contained a separate heading for measures to combat poverty. This was to provide back-up funds to reduce extreme poverty. Some of these special funds are to be made available for use in existing projects by the IIZ/DVV and other bodies working to strengthen social institutions (Arbeiterwohlfahrt [Workers’ Welfare Organization], Caritas, the Education Service of the Federation of German Trade Unions, the Adolf Kolping Society, and the Raiffeisen and Giro Association). There was lively discussion in the Institute and with our project teams and partners abroad on how to improve the profiles of our projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which are in fact already working to reduce poverty. Proposals were put forward, activities suggested, and calculations made. Finally, a variety of applications were submitted to the Ministry:

  • Ethiopia: Support for non-formal basic education and income-oriented training in regions affected by poverty


  • South Africa: Information and education about HIV/AIDS – Initial and inservice training for community workers


  • Caucasus: Income-oriented craft training in selected urban and rural areas


  • India: Improving living standards of disadvantaged women through support for their self-help organizations


  • Asia Region: Inservice training for multipliers to promote equal rights and representation for women


  • Central America: Intercultural education in village communities with largely indigenous populations

We shall need to focus on effects in our implementation and reporting as both we and the BMZ are under pressure to demonstrate success. The programme will continue next year, subject to agreement by the Bundestag, which may approve additional funding. We therefore propose to make one person at the Institute responsible for monitoring these special activities (and their successors).

Measures to Combat Terrorism (Anti-Terrorism Package)

For the first time, the Federal Minister of Finance adopted a less rigid approach to budget consolidation in the Bundestag debate following 11th September. An Anti-Terrorism Package (ATP) was proposed as a response to national and international requirements. The largest part was to be played by the Ministry of Defence, but the BMZ and the Foreign Office were also given special funding. Once again, the IIZ/DVV was drawn into the discussions as a potential user, particularly as we are working in many of the crisis regions in the world. It gave me plenty to think about when I read in the remarkable publication “The Fragile Peace. Failed States, Violence and Development in Crisis Regions” that three sample regions were to be investigated – the Southern Caucasus, Central America, and Ethiopia plus the Horn of Africa, where we have been working with partners for years.

There was intense discussion in the Institute about how to use these funds too. If the nexus of “poverty, exploitation, deprivation of rights, oppression and powerlessness” was in fact the breeding ground for terrorist acts, then specific steps to strengthen projects should be taken in selected countries, together with our partners, aimed at development-oriented adult education that would improve people’s general conditions and particular circumstances. This discussion resulted in a list of suggestions to the BMZ as to how expand such activities:

  • Sierra Leone: Education for peace and democracy, reintegration of refugees and ex-combatants

  • Central Asia: Institutional support for sponsoring bodies, model income-generating vocational training projects

  • India: Educational events providing intercultural and inter-religious dialogue between leading public figures

  • Asia Region: Education for democracy and peace in regions of religious (Indonesia) and ethnic disturbances (Solomon Islands)

  • Colombia: Education and strengthening of citizens’ groups and civil society initiatives

  • Latin America Region: Terrorism as a threat to democracy – Education for peace and human rights

The Culture and Education Department of the Foreign Office, whose main beneficiary is the Goethe Institute Inter Nationes, was also given funds. The following project proposals were discussed with the IIZ/DVV:

  • German-Afghan cooperation on adult education, currently undecided whether in Afghanistan or for Afghans in Germany

  • European-Islamic cultural dialogue focusing on German-Turkish cooperation in adult education

Formal applications are being drafted.

Applications for EU Support and the Conference on Intercultural Dialogue

The conference on “Intercultural Dialogue”, which attracted high-level participants, was also devoted to the political and cultural issues needing more urgent attention than ever after 11th September, from the EU as well as others. The focus was on the Mediterranean region. Topics ranged from economic and other forms of globalization, and the image of Europe in the world, to dialogue between religions. In his opening address, President Prodi said: “The fault lines are also produced by political injustice, economic disparities, grinding poverty, a lack of future prospects – the consequences of uncontrolled globalization that are perceived as cultural and political oppression … Dialogue is not something that takes place only elsewhere, beyond our borders; it has to start here, in Europe itself, in our inner cities, which are all too often the seedbeeds of intolerance and prejudice.”4  This dialogue will unquestionably need also to address cultural globalization, the detrimental aspects of which have been pointed out by Prof. Senghaas:

Anyone trying to arrange intercultural dialogue today should take the cultural world that really exists as the starting point rather than the fiction of homogeneous cultures.... If it took that form, intercultural dialogue would make an important contribution to the gradual development of a cultural globality that will be marked by numerous criss-crossed links.”

Back to the harsh reality of applying for project funds: the IIZ/DVV submitted two pre-proposals last year to the EU Grundtvig Programme, which is concerned with adult education. The response to these was an invitation to draft full proposals. These are aimed at

  • Intercultural Learning in Europe (a network of partners working in adult education in 15 countries, plus European specialist institutions; duration 3 years)/font>

  • Tolerance and Understanding – our Muslim Neighbours in Europe (a project with 6 countries, plus specialist institutions; duration 2 years)

The IIZ/DVV is not breaking new ground for itself and its partners with these proposals. In the mid-1990s we were already involved in projects on “Youth and Adult Education for Ethnic Minorities in Europe”. But if these new projects begin in the autumn, the VHS will also be drawn in in many ways. They could play a part in the field of “Global Learning”, which is concerned with public information and development education, where intercultural issues are of great importance.

Adult Education in South East Europe – and EU Enlargement

These are not new but are very important project areas, with a wide variety of aspects and dimensions. From the point of view of timescale, it is evident from the figures in the federal budget and discussions with our funding bodies that support from BMZ funds for the countries in the first round of EU eastward enlargement – the Baltic States, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary – will run out very soon. In consequence, the relatively large-scale bilateral projects which have been managed by local IIZ/DVV project offices will come to an end. All the partners involved would have liked this to have been postponed somewhat, but there is no prospect of another donor of comparable size with long-term security for planning purposes. It would appear, therefore, that we must try to pool the content, organization and funding of various smaller projects and regional cooperation initiatives dealing with specific topics such as adult education policy and legislation, and cross-border procedures between Poland and Germany, by involving the VHS Land Associations and their partnerships with Slovakia and Hungary.

The picture looks different in South East Europe. A second stage of the Stability Pact for the Balkans has just been agreed and approved in the federal budget. The funding will not be as generous as might be desirable or necessary, but at least it looks as though the EBiS project – see www.inebis.org – will continue to provide support for national (in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia), regional, cross-border and inter-ethnic initiatives for a further period. The crucial concern is that the steering group set up with representatives from all the countries involved should be able to deal productively with differences by building on common ground. Two interesting points of convergence are the Adults Learners Weeks that have now become established in nearly all the countries, and the efforts to introduce political education in the Stability Pact region.

Lastly, one other project should be mentioned, which the IIZ/DVV is trying to launch together with the VHS Land Associations. This will provide the citizens of Europe with information and understanding about the future of Europe, and specifically the enlargement of the EU, particularly towards the east. One recent study states: “In the candidate countries, attitudes towards Europe are predominantly positive… A majority of 59 per cent of the population regard their country’s joining the EU as a good thing. But a large proportion of people feel badly informed about the EU and the joining process.” Further details are given in the figure. A similar survey in Germany showed 52% in favour in 2001, while a declining percentage, 42%, stated that they were against. The VHS can do much to provide good information and clarification. We are attempting to persuade the EU Delegation in Berlin and the press and information office of the Federal Government of this, and have submitted an application for co-funding.

Prospects: Local and national, regional and global

The future of Europe is at stake: internal integration and external expansion, not only eastwards, must succeed simultaneously. This is not just true when some crisis occurs and things do not go as anticipated in some country (we might recall our neighbour Austria). Mutual acceptance is called for, going well beyond mere economics. The EU is thus a project for the future in which education, communication and culture must be given high priority. Whether they receive this will depend in part on the educational institutions themselves. President Prodi points to what has been done, and warns of what remains to do: “Intercultural dialogue does not mean that the whole world has to bow down to the Western way of life or commercial values … if a dialogue between cultures is really taken to heart by civil society, it can become the fertile soil in which an amicable political dialogue can grow and bear fruit.” 5

Let us now turn from intercultural dialogue to the importance of education in development cooperation once more. The last report on the development policy of the Federal Government made it clear: 

Education is both a human right and a key to solving many problems of human development: education is an indispensable requirement for reducing poverty… education is indispensable if more people and regions are to be able to make use of the increasing opportunities of globalization being opened up in the world economy and through the worldwide use of new technologies, and if they are to acquire the skills needed to shape the future in the direction of sustainable development.

Our everyday experience shows, whether we like it or not, that European, international and global considerations are becoming as important as local, regional and national concerns. The one dimension is not separate from the other, or some sort of afterthought, but the two are intimately intertwined. We often hear the call to “shape globalization”. But what does this mean – not just for the poorest of the poor, but also for governments and civil society organizations?

The same might be said of adult education. It is becoming increasing important and complex, especially if it is to be seen – and provided – in terms of lifelong, global learning. Insular approaches – in Germany alone or through education alone – never sufficed in the past. In the future they will be even less valid. “Development-Oriented Adult Education as World Domestic Policy” is thus a call to take into account broader currents which we are already experiencing through social change, but to which we have not yet given adequate theoretical and practical attention.



1 See John Oxenham et al.: Skills and Literacy Training for Better Livelihoods. A Review of Approaches and Experiences. Africa Region Human Development Working Paper Series. Washington. The World Bank 2002

2 Cf. for example the Institute’s recent annual reports and volumes 12 (Adult Education and Development: 25 Years of IIZ/DVV) and 28 (Partnership and Solidarity in Action. International Cooperation Activities of IIZ/DVV) in the series: International Perspectives in Adult Education. Bonn: IIZ/DVV 1994 and 2001

3 See Adult Education and Development, 58/2002, pp. 93-149

4 Romano Prodi: Why dialogue is important. Brussels: Conference on Intercultural Dialogue, 20/21 March 2002, p. 5; www.europa.eu.int/comm/index_en.htm
see also page 183 ff. of this issue

5 Prodi, idem

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