Editorial

Paulo Freire was one of the great educationists, and his influence conquered the world, spreading from Brazil throughout both the socalled Third World and many industrialized countries. He died exactly ten years ago – but his thinking lives on in theory and in practice. We commemorate this by devoting a section to his pedagogy of liberation.

In the last issue we already noted that CONFINTEA VI is just around the corner. Every twelve years, starting in Helsingör in 1949, then in Montreal in 1960, Tokyo in 1972, Paris in 1985 and most recently at CONFINTEA V in Hamburg in 1997, UNESCO convenes an International Conference on Adult Education. The two final documents, “The Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning” and “The Agenda for the Future” contain a rich array of analytical, political and practical insights.

The preparation for CONFINTEA VI, to be held in Brazil in 2009, is gathering pace. A Consultative Group is assisting the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in this complex process, which will eventually involve representatives of all UNESCO member states, of governments, NGOs and professional organizations. Intensive work is being carried out on the drafting of “Guidelines for the National Reports on the Development and State of the Art of Adult Learning and Education”, which are to be sent to the UNESCO Commissions in each individual country by the end of 2007. These will in turn be responsible for National Reports, to be drawn up in spring 2008 and evaluated during the first half of the year. Further major documents currently being prepared are on benchmarks for adult education and a Global Report on Adult Learning and Education.

The regional preparatory conferences will also start in 2008. As things stand, the Africa conference will be held in Kenya, the Asia and Pacific conference in South Korea, the Latin America conference in Mexico, and the Europe and North America conference in Hungary, while a suitable location is still being sought for the Arab States. These preparatory conferences will discuss major issues concerned with the development of adult education from a national, continental and global perspective, looking back at the past and forward to the future. The way in which civil society specialist organizations are involved will also be crucial, while a wide range of media will provide information and communication facilities. These already include www.unesco. org/uil , www.icae.org.uy (please add your name to the mailing list for their newsletter VOICES RISING) and www.dvv-international.de

Another important international initiative that has been given renewed impetus through a series of regional conferences is the United Nations Literacy Decade (2002-2012), which is to issue a midterm review next year. In this issue we provide information about the African regional conference, which was held in Mali; the international conference is scheduled for mid-2008 in Azerbaijan. Further details of the UN Literacy Decade can be found at www.unesco.org

In Europe, one significant process of adult education policy-making has reached a temporary conclusion. In the wake of the EU Communication “Adult Learning: It is never too late to learn”, a Plan of Action has now been agreed, entitled “It is always a good time to learn”. This was preceded by extensive consultations, and we publish here the report submitted by the German Adult Education Association. Complete information can be found at europa.eu.int/comm/ education We also commend the study prepared as part of this process by the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), “Adult Education Trends and Issues in Europe” (in English), copies of which may be ordered from dvv international.

We hope our readers will find this issue of interest, and we should be delighted if some of them were to become our authors, writing articles for us.

Heribert Hinzen