Introduction

Adult Education Conference


Every five years, the German Adult Education Association organises a major conference for the Adult Education Centres and Adult Education. This Adult Education Conference – as the event is called – took place for the 13 th time this year. On May 12 and 13, 1500 employees from Adult Education Centres, researchers, community representatives, policy makers and other interested parties came together in Berlin to participate in the largest German Adult Education Conference. Among them were more than a hundred guests from abroad. This is an opportunity to present the work, to take stock, to discuss new topics and fields, to analyse problems, to make demands for better conditions, but also to be proud, together, of the successes of the work and, simply, to celebrate.

The importance attributed by politicians to Adult Education cannot be better emphasised than by the presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Christian Wulff, who gave a noteworthy speech in Berlin in recognition of the work of Adult Education Centres.

Regularly, high profile personalities from the field of education and science are guests at the Adult Education Conference. One of the most prominent female speakers was HRH Princess Laurentin of the Netherlands who, as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Literacy and Development and as Chair of the High Level Group on Literacy for the European Commission spoke about an urgent worldwide challenge – especially in Germany and Europe.

Paul Bélanger took one of his last opportunities as President of the International Council of Adult Education (ICAE) to promote – in front of a large audience – Adult Education and its proper respect and support from government and society. DVV has had a long, close and productive cooperation with him since the the UNESCO World Conference on Adult Education, CONFINTEA V, in Hamburg in 1995, which he had organised as the former director of the UIL.

Another long-time partner of DVV International is Rajesh Tandon, President of the Delhi-based Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA). He opened the eyes of the Adult Education Conference to the global connection of Adult Education and the need to look at issues of social development globally and to solve them globally.
We wanted to know what impressions our foreign guests came away with from their participation at the Adult Education Conference and how relevant the questions that move the German adult educators are for their work under different geographical, economic and cultural conditions. We have compiled a number of responses.