The social and individual problems associated with migration and integration - many people also now speak of the opportunities - have not become any less plentiful in the age of globalization, let alone any less complex. The numbers of people leaving their home countries temporarily or permanently, for a huge variety of reasons, fluctuate considerably. If we include internal migration in countries such as China and India, however, the figure very rapidly rises into the hundreds of millions.
It has taken a long time, perhaps too long, to address the issues associated with this phenomenon from the standpoint of the right to education. Furthermore, when education has been mentioned, it has tended to be with reference to migrant children, who frequently have serious difficulties at school and are more likely than others to fail. It has been much less common for general, cultural and vocational education and training for young people and adults to be discussed. But there is now widespread recognition of the impact of migration on development cooperation, and increasing attempts to manage it. It is pointed out with increasing frequency that the financial remittances made by migrants to their countries of origin in the South are now appreciably higher than the total development aid made available by the countries of the North and donor organizations.
This was the background to the conference called by the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) and the German Adult Education Association (DVV) in Bonn in November 2007. They received financial support from several German Federal Ministries and from TELC, the European Language Certificates Company; the Voice of Germany acted as host and media partner. As a result of this broadly based partnership, the conference was attended by representatives of adult education, culture, politics, government and migrant organizations from many countries, guaranteeing considerable added value through exchanges of information and views. These covered reports of occupational preparation for migrants before they leave, advice for people in receiving countries, and language teaching for the purposes of integration. The conference provided a platform for discussion of what this all means for successful poverty reduction, intercultural openness, and the particular needs of women and families, and above all, for discussion of what adult education can deliver, and it sought to give a few preliminary answers. The debate needs to continue, and the regional conferences to be held in 2008 leading up to CONFINTEA VI will provide an appropriate opportunity. We have therefore decided to provide comprehensive documentation: the website www.migrationandintegration.de will be available for some time to come, and a volume in our series International Perspectives in Adult Education (IPE) is in preparation. Major speeches and the Statement are included in this issue of Adult Education and Development (AED).
The other topics in this issue also stand high on the international development agenda. Literacy is a focus of CONFINTEA, EFA and the UN Literacy Decade. In all three programmes, considerable additional information and data will become available in 2008/9, including the major contribution to be made by the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE), coordinated by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). GRALE will be based largely on an analysis of the national reports drawn up by Member States on the condition and progress of adult education.
The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) is concerned with much more than the environment and environmental education. However, what makes development sustainable will surely continue to be subject to varying interpretation, as is obvious from the often widely divergent interests and attitudes of industrialized countries, threshold countries and developing countries. But all agree on the aim of combating poverty. We therefore need to ask ourselves what adult education can do to help. To find an answer, it is worth looking not only at the article in this issue, but also at an earlier issue, AED 63, and at the coverage of the topic in IPE 43, which can be ordered at www.dvv-international.de
We have received a very positive response to our issue in memory of the great Latin American adult educator Paulo Freire (AED 69), who died 10 years ago. His contribution to the development of adult education theory and practice is still widely acknowledged and cherished. It will soon be the 10 th anniversary of the death of the long-serving President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, who also left us a significant legacy, through his "Adult Education and Development" , for example, or his "Education Never Ends" .