Dagmar Engels

Foreword

Over the last decades European and international cooperation in adult education has become increasingly important for the German Adult Education Association, the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband (DVV).

We can observe this in at least three dimensions: First, the globalized world is growing closer and more interdependent in all spheres of the political, economic and cultural life. Secondly, we live in a world of diversity, where we have to ack nowledge the complex realities of different societies and cultures, and where we, as the Delors report phrased it, “have to learn to live together”. And thirdly, we all know that this learning has to happen throughout our life, or from the craddle to the grave, and here adult education has the largest share.

For many years I have worked as the director of a large community adult educa tion centre, the Ulmer Volkshochschule. We have perceived on the local level how the European and international developments have influenced our work. We have developed a strong orientation towards intercultural learning, and each semester we have thematic priorities like e.g. the understanding of Islam and our Islamic neighbours. The appreciation of diversity has strengthened our understanding of gender in the organisation and the development of a learning culture for everyone

– irrespective of his or her cultural and ethinic background. As a member of the Board of Management of the DVV, and as chairperson of the Advisory Council of DVV International I am greatful to be closely associated with the work of the Institute. We evaluate its work regularly, and think that its support of the global learning initiatives in the local centres in Germany, its interventions on the European level for the strengthening of adult education policies and programmes, and its cooperation with partners on all continents is of immense importance – at home and abroad. The leadership of DVV is convinced of the relevance of the international work for the overall perspectives of the association and its members. On the occasion of the first fourty years we congratulate the director and all colleagues in the Bonn head quarter and in offices around the world, as well as all partners around the world for their support of our common efforts. We are convinced that adult education is

a key and an important tool in the global struggle for the reduction of poverty and for a world where people can live in justice and freedom.

The DVV is thankful to all those who are funding its international work. There is first and foremost the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which has been with us since the early sixties onwards. We thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and all the other supporting partners.

Finally, we encourage the Institute to continue all its activities to represent the DVV and German adult education in many international associations, networks, and platforms which are related to our profession and with whom we work together in order to strengthen international cooperation and exchange.