Editorial

Records are constantly being broken. This time we report on the largest ever German Adult Education Conference. In May, over 1500 participants travelled to Berlin, 200 of them from abroad. Never before had there been such a large foreign contingent in the long tradition of the Conference, which takes place every five years, this being the twelfth. The overall theme was "Learn something new - shape the future - bring people together". There was exchange of information and discussion at a wide variety of plenary sessions, specialist forums and facilitated workshops. For the benefit of our readers we reprint here some of the major contributions, such as the speeches by the President of the DW, by the European Union Commissioner for Education and Culture, by the Minister of Education and Research, and by the President of the German Association of Cities. They consistently stressed the great importance of adult education as part of the process of lifelong learning. The specialist forums were concerned with future trends, vocational continuing education, social inclusion, the education programmes of the European Union, brain research and learning in adulthood, managing diversity, and image and marketing. We have selected one contribution from the forum on "Continuing Education in Europe - who pays what and why?" by the Director of the Volkshochschule of the City of Hamburg, who reports on her experience of financial cuts, organizational change and the successful maintenance of an attractive range of activities. And lastly, we include the Power Point presentation by the Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education in the workshop on Adult education and the reduction of poverty"; what stands out is the hard facts and figures, from which it is clear that we are still a very long way from achieving either the Millennium Development Goals or Education for All and, perhaps most importantly, that this is because our behaviour and our development paradigms are wrong.

We also look ahead to another major event with a long tradition, the World Assembly of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) in January 2007 in Nairobi, in this case back to back with the World Social Forum, with its already legendary legacy of upheavals in Porto Alegre and Mumbai. The ICAE was set up in 1973 as a worldwide association of NGOsin adult education. Its first World Assembly, attended by more than 500 adult educators, was held in Dar es Salaam in 1976 and adopted the first Plan of Action. Only a few colleagues will remember this beginning to what proved to be a somewhat erratic history of the ICAE, which has been trying in the last few years to position itself afresh as a global lobbying body for adult education. Many of the plans drawn up in 1976 were implemented, but many were not, and many hopes and expectations were set too high; the details can easily be found and checked. Now, new visions need to be established, and realistic goals set. In this context it may help to read once more the words of the visionary President of Tanzania, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who was the first Honorary President of the ICAE and opened the 1976 World Assembly with the speech reprinted here. A present-day document then looks forward to the themes and aims of the 2007 World Assembly; we suggest that readers consult Voices Rising via www.icae.org , which reports on the work of the various commissions.

"Literacy for Life" was the title of the 2006 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which placed the emphasis on literacy for young people and adults; in 2007, the stress is on early childhood education, which is surely no less important for lifelong learning. In the last edition of this journal we printed some of the many very substantial background papers that had been commissioned. We publish more here, selecting countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Mozambique, in order to highlight the steps that they have taken towards Education for All in their rapidly growing societies. We should like to thank the EFA/GMRteam once again for their permission to reprint, and invite readers to visit www.efareport.unesco.org

Lastly, we have two individual papers, from which we have certain expectations. We would welcome readers' accounts of their own experience of the difficult issue of remembrance, of dealing with memories and remembering for the future, which can be done through adult education, so that these can be used in crisis and conflict prevention and in post-crisis discussion; the author can be reached at gartenschlaeger@iiz-dvv.de - And by including the article by Anthony Okech we aim to emphasise once again the huge importance of preservice and inservice training for adult educators. Major conferences have been held on this topic in each of the last two years, and are documented in the volume entitled "Capacity building and the training of adult educators" in our series International Perspectives in Adult Education, which can be ordered via www.iiz-dvv.de This reports on various studies in Africa and Asia, discusses the profession and professionalization in the age of lifelong learning, and makes recommendations as to the institutional requirements for research and cooperation.

We have one last minute addition: a major conference on cooperation was held in China at the end of October 2006 between Asian and European adult education. We include in this issue the Report and Statement adopted there.

Heribert Hinzen