In Berlin we celebrated the 13 th Adult Education Conference together. I think this word is quite appropriate for this Conference. It was a wonderful event, and participants were motivated by genuine high spirits, as I have rarely seen at an educational conference. It was possible to feel the full extent of the work of Adult Education Centres, their firm roots as local training centres in the communities, the esteem which they are given in politics both great and small and which one can only hope will be reflected in equally handsome budgets. The forums and workshops made it clear that Adult Education Centres pick up on and move forward the key social and cultural debates, with great vibrancy and diversity, on the basis of a solid common basic understanding. This consensus on their position and their responsibilities was particularly evident in the new position paper of the Adult Education Centres, under the title “The Adult Education Centre – Education as Public Responsibility” which was published to mark the occasion.

Many guests from abroad – more than 100 – were with us in Berlin and brought an international, cross-border perspective to the discussion. They were infected by the positive atmosphere, but some also wished that the topic-spectrum of the conference had reflected the international interconnectedness of educational work in a stronger way and had presented the challenges of global developments more decisively.

We have taken this event as an opportunity to take, first, a more intense look at the work of Adult Education Centres, and to look at the type of commitment and how some of them make global learning and direct contact with distant culturally diverse regions a theme of their work. The question of how the immediate coopera- tion of Adult Education Centres with institutions from other parts of the world, from Africa, Asia or Latin America, is of mutual benefit, we want to continue to explore more deeply in the future.

At the Adult Education Conference, the Federal Ministry for Economic Coopera- tion and Development (BMZ) also presented to an international audience the strat- egy with which it wants to organise its services in education cooperation holistically on the basis of ten targets. The Federal Republic is one of the largest international donors to education, and its position sees education playing a key central role in achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs), for combating poverty, for economic growth, for the strengthening of democracy and building peace, and is certainly of importance for international cooperation. We have addressed this question in this issue of the magazine and want to explore it more deeply in coming issues with a look at the development strategies of other donors.

A second event was meaningful for us adult educators in the past six months, the VIII ICAE (International Council for Adult Education) World Assembly, from the 15 th to the 17 th of June 2011 in Malmö, Sweden. 1 Most of all, there were two main topics discussed there that we would like to address with our readers: Lifelong Learning for sustainability in a climate changing world, and follow-up to the MDGs, the EFA Goals and the CONFINTEA agenda – that is, our educational policy task, which always accompanies us.

In Malmö we said goodbye to an old friend and partner. Like no other, Paul Bé- langer as Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg, and as President of the ICAE, advanced international education. Alan Tuckett has now taken over his responsibilities at the head of the ICAE. We are confident that we will continue to meet Paul Bélanger again in the future, and wish him all the best in this new phase of his life. Every age has its challenges, and because Paul, like all of us, is firmly convinced of Lifelong Learning, he will learn to cope with whatever he is faced with now.

We had to say goodbye to another longtime companion. Raúl Leis, with whom we were connected for so long, primarily as General Secretary of the Latin American Adult Education Association CEAAL, died suddenly on the 1st of May. He leaves behind a significant mark on Adult Education on his continent. We express our respect, and for the CEAAL we wish that it may quickly succeed to repair the hole that has been torn open by his death.

UNESCO is preparing the next General Monitoring Report, which deals with Objective 3 of the Education for All campaign, access to “Appropriate Learning and Life Skills”. We have taken this as an opportunity and noted in a Supplement that the teaching of Life Skills for all is the core task of non-formal and informal Adult Education. Maybe we will be able to contribute to this EFA goal so that not only formal vocational training for young people will be seen as securing their employability. We recommend our Supplementary Issue for your reading, just like the issue that you now hold in your hands, and look forward to your feedback.

Michael Samlowski


1 http://www.icae2.org/?q=en/event/2011/06/14

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