Posted on June 14th, 2011 No comments
The International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) World Assembly is the main event that brings together adult educators and learners from around the world every four years. This time, the assembly is accompanied by a range of different side events. The assembly and the side events have together the title A World Worth Living In.
By now, most of the participants have checked in for the VIII World Assembly in Malmö, Sweden, and they are preparing for the informal welcome session at 9 pm (CET). Among the participants are several AWE members representing different organisations.
AWE is there to share
“We are here to get inspiration and to share views on how to bring World Education into the 21st century,” says Rikke Schultz. She is representing AWE in Malmö together with AWE vice president Chris Spicer. Another AWE vice president Edicio de la Torre is present as well, representing the Education for Life Foundation.
“Concretely, I will do my best to share impressions from the conference. Tell members and others to go to our Facebook Fansite,” stresses Schultz from Malmö. “I hope we are connected from the assembly hall.”
“Particularly, we hope to find inspiration for our reflection journey on challenges and learning methodologies,” says Schultz and reminds of the next AWE meeting at Mitraniketan in Kerala, India, in 2012.
There is an option to watch A World Worth Living In by on-line live streaming, just as the organisers has opened a Flickr account for photos. The programme, list of organisers and co-organisers and more social media options are to find at the conference website. The conference ends on the 17th.
Posted on June 3rd, 2011 1 comment
Currently a common position paper of EU’s major education and training stakeholders is reaching EU’s leaders at national and common level.
AWE’s European associate, Association for Community Colleges (ACC), is among the campaigners.
The position paper comes while EU is preparing its multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020. This framework is expected to be published on June 29th.
“We are particularly happy about the inclusive and holistic approach to lifelong learning, that the position paper recommends,” explains ACC board member Lucie Čížková, who is also vice-president of Association for World Education (AWE).
EU and World Education
ACC considers it a danger, if lifelong learning in the EU context becomes solely focused on competitiveness, employability and formal education. The formulations of our common position paper are much more in line with the World Education approach that is also in the Belém Framework for Action, explains Lucie Čížková.
The Belém Framework for Action reaffirms the four learning pillars, namely learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together.
The position paper of the EU education stakeholders resembles the learning pillars with a formulation like “…improving skills, knowledge and competences goes beyond the sole aim of improving employability and encompasses developing active citizenship and social cohesion.”
Posted on April 14th, 2011 1 comment
In the next coming years AWE educators are going to focus on what unites them across borders of all kinds. AWE educators will try to map the common challenges they see for humanity, and the principles and learning methodologies they share.
The longstanding reflection journey will pass the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) in Malmö, Sweden, 2011 and Mitraniketan in Kerala, India, in 2012 before it results in findings presented to the AWE International Council in 2013, and in an issue of the Journal of World Education.
This is stated in an early April letter to the general membership of AWE. It was sent by AWE vice president Chris Spicer on behalf of a steering group.
Important to work with like-minded educators
“I hope the project will help paint a clearer picture of the AWE,” says Chris Spicer on Skype from Massachusetts, “and make our movement more visible.”
“Our Edugame and some exchange programs are already visible on our website, but I am sure there is a lot more to tell and that our pedagogical practices can inspire others.”
AWE’s visibility is also closely connected with the possibility of inspiration the other way round, explains Spicer:
“The project will function as an open invitation for anyone to inquire, to collaborate, and to learn about AWE’s work. It is important to work with as many like-minded organizations and individuals as we can.”
Spicer mentions the ICAE in Malmö as an obvious place for inspiration to go both ways, especially because of the focus on Nordic folk education. Beyond this common theme, he expects of ICAE that it will become a mall of living traditions that can inspire World Educators everywhere.
Time-tested ideas may deliver the links
Spicer has an assumption that he doesn’t hesitate to share. He hopes the common ground will be found in a more encompassing learning practice stemming from old ideas:
“I believe we will rediscover common links in old ideas that have been pushed to the margins, but that I think the 21st century needs badly.”
Spicer refers to the so-called universal thinkers, such as India’s Tagore and Gandhi, Denmark’s N.F.S. Grundtvig, Brazil’s Paulo Freire, and many more.
”But whatever our inspiration from the past, we must make the ideas come alive in a new way,” says Spicer on behalf of the steering group.
Posted on March 5th, 2011 No comments
What is the meaning of acronyms like CONFINTEA and FISC? The answers are likely to slip out of the memory of professionals even. Not to mention, what actually is the recurring “CONference INTernationale de Education des Adultes” all about? Or, what do they do at the Fórum Internacional da Sociedade Civil (FISC)?
The new issue of Journal of World Education offers a glimpse into it. In a series of articles, AWE participants of FISC and CONFINTEA introduce their experiences with and knowledge about the conferences and their topics.
Moreover, the Belém Framework for Action is reprinted in the Journal with the purpose “…to go to our governments and use their official agreement to promote and support lifelong learning from cradle to grave…”, as the AWE President Jakob Erle explains it.
Theme contributors and titles of the new issue of the Journal are Jakob Erle (AWE), CONFINTEA from Hamburg to Belém, Noël Bonam (AWE), An Experience of the Global Agenda, Kirsten Bruun (AWE DK), Meeting a Strong Brazilian Woman, Rikke Schultz (AWE DK), People and Social Movements we met in Brazil, and Ana Maria Barros Pinto (AWE Brazil), CONFINTEA in Retrospect & Interview with Salomão Hage. Ana Maria Barros Pinto is also the editor in chief of the issue.AWE advocates World Education, AWE Travels & Exchanges, Publications Ana Maria Barros Pinto, Belém, Brazil, CONference INTernationale de Education des Adultes, confintea, CONFINTEA VI, Hamburg, International Civil Society Forum (FISC), Jakob Erle, Journal of World Education, Kirsten Bruun, Noël Bonam, Rikke Schultz, Salomão Hage, South America
Posted on February 2nd, 2011 No comments
The points are still the same, explains AWE president Jakob Erle, even if CONFINTEA VI in Belém meant back to normal compared to visionary Hamburg. Erle offers an overview in the new Journal of World Education.
“I try to make aware that each of the CONFINTEA conferences expresses its time,” says Erle about his contribution to the new issue of Journal of World Education. Some were disappointed about the scope and outcome of Belém, while others were happy about the more operational ambitions compared to Hamburg, explains Erle.
“That is why my ambition with this overview is to point at what matters; read and use the Belem Framework for Action! It is meant for adult educators to put pressure on their governments, because they signed it themselves.”
One important contextual recording of Erle goes like this. The hope for a new human world order was still intact in Hamburg 1997, while Belém took place in the shadow of the financial crisis and the war on terror that proved to be a dead end.
The new Journal of World Education is expected to be released within a couple of weeks. The Belem Framework for Action is printed together with Erle’s article: CONFINTEA from Hamburg to Belém.
What CONFINTEA is
CONFINTEA is the recurring conference on adult education organized by UNESCO within the UN-system. Decisions at CONFINTEA conferences are taken by unanimity by government representatives. The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) was hosted by the Government of Brazil in Belém from 1 to 4 December 2009.
Photo by CONFINTEA VI / MEC
Posted on February 1st, 2011 1 comment
The people’s revolution is on the march; When the freedom-loving people march – when the farmers have an opportunity to buy land at reasonable prices and sell the produce of their land through their own organizations, when workers have the opportunity to form unions and bargain through them collectively, and when the children of all the people have an opportunity to attend schools which teach them truths of the real world in which they live – when these opportunities are open to everyone, then the world moves straight ahead … The people are on the march toward ever fuller freedom, toward manifesting here on earth the dignity that is in every human soul
(Henry A. Wallace, Vice-President of the United States setting out US war aims in June 1942).
The wave of the people’s revolution has swept over Tunisia and pushed President Ben Ali to exile in Saudi Arabia. The disintegration of Ben Ali’s government and power base has been closely watched in the Arab world.
Although Ben Ali was not particularly liked by his neighbours, political leaders in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Jordan can see the parallel without too much difficulty – a heavy-handed security state with diminishing popular support and growing demands from an educated, yet frustrated population.
Recent demonstrations in Algeria and Jordan set off by higher food prices have been met by some government action to limit taxes on food. However, higher food prices are only one sign of broader socio-economic weaknesses that have led to high unemployment, high rents and yet a housing shortage.
It is in Egypt that, following the Tunisian example, people have taken to the streets demanding that President Hosni Moubarak must go. The cries of the Tunisian revolutionary movement “Liberty-Work-Dignity” have been taken up by other peoples.
Throughout the Arab world, governments have been unable or unwilling to open serious discussions on socio-economic policies and alternatives. Islamic-based groups have played some role in focusing protests but have not done much in presenting realistic alternative policies.
The violence of some of the Islamic groups in some countries has served as a pretext for the governments to ban all policy discussions without too many protests from Western governments.
The repressive forces of the State are stronger in Egypt than in Tunisia where there was a division of policy between the less-politically-structured army and the more pro-Ben Ali police and palace guard.
In Egypt, there are some 340,000 in the Army and probably as many in the domestic security services – police, riot police, numerous intelligence services. They receive their relatively high wages thanks to US government “aid” of $1.3 billion a year, Egypt being the second highest recipient of US funds after Israel.
In addition, there is a bloated civil service whose well-being depends on their government jobs. What one does not know is if the army is willing to say “we want to protect our prerogatives but we are willing to jettison Hosni Mubarak.”
For the moment, the military and security services have come on the street in full force with heavy tanks and fighter planes overhead. Two generals have been named to the “inner circle” – one as Vice-President, a post unfilled in the past, and one as Prime Minister.
What the army will do is unclear. There is no armed insurgency against the government. There have only been non-violent protests. The army can prevent street demonstrations but they can not force people to work.
A potential opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency is on the scene calling for Mubarak to step down to be replaced by a transitional government until elections can be called.
The Sphinx watches over the scene with the trace of a smile. Most of the tourists who usually crowd around are trying to leave the country, and few are arriving until they see what will happen politically.
The Sphinx was the manifestation of an esoteric philosophy cast in stone. The philosophy stressed the unity of the body, the heart – a symbol of the emotions but also intuition – and the Spirit.
The ways of integrating body-heart- and Spirit was taught to small groups by spiritual teachers. The Sphinx was the doctrine set in stone as words were not the main aspect of the teaching. Knowledge and the aims of action were to come from within each individual.
Likewise, the people’s revolution will not come from without. It will arise from the body-heart-spirit of the Egyptian people. What we see today may be only the first wave, but as an old civilization, the Egyptians have learned to wait.
But the people’s revolution is on the march, and the period of military control is likely to be short.
* Rene Wadlow is representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association for World Education.
Posted on December 11th, 2010 2 comments
10 December – Human Rights Day – marks the anniversary of 10 December 1948 when the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
Since that day, as world citizens, we can take pride that we have contributed to the growth of a universal human rights movement. In all walks of life, brave individuals are standing up for their sisters and brothers who have been reduced to silence by oppression, poverty or injustice.
This struggle for the respect of human rights transcends all frontiers. The struggle is based on non-violence. Our only weapons are knowledge and the life force of conviction. Human dignity must be protected by the power of knowledge.
Therefore we are devoted to education for human rights. The aim of human rights education is to create a universal culture in which there is understanding, respect, and friendship among all peoples.
Human rights education is an important tool to break the cycle of humiliation, abuses of power and violence in which too many people are caught. There is still much to be done in all countries to develop this culture based on human rights.
There is a need to overcome racial discrimination, xenophobia, gender-based discrimination, and negative stereotypes. Schools have an important role to play, but education is broader than schools. We must use all the instruments we have available through media, informal education centers, cultural activities, and non-governmental action to develop these new positive attitudes and values.
Defending human rights requires an objective analysis of a situation, an analysis which is not colored by political motivations or ethnic or religious prejudices. Once such an objective analysis is made, then we must speak out to governments and other holders of power to bring their policies and practices in line with high universal standards.
Speaking out requires courage and occasionally even heroism. Human rights are at a cross road. No longer just a reference to violations of specific rights, they are becoming a way of life, a social contract that fulfils people’s aspirations to life in dignity and democracy. People want to know that they are in full control of their lives and that their society embodies their uniqueness as individuals.
In human history, there have been periods when there is a collective response to new challenges and thus new ways of organizing thought and society. Most of the world’s great religious and philosophical systems were formulated at about the same time: Confucianism and Taoism in China, Hinduism-Buddhism-Jainism in India, Zoroastrianism in Persia, the Prophetic impulse in Judaism, Socrates-Plato and the mystery schools in Greece, and the Druid teachings among the Celts.
We are in such a period today as we face the challenges of a world society and a globalized economic system. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives us a base for a universalistic ethic, one that includes all of humanity. The Declaration recognizes that each individual is a member of the same human family and is linked in harmony with each other. We share a common destiny. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives us a common vision for a just and cooperative future.
* Rene Wadlow, Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association for World Education.
Posted on December 4th, 2010 No comments
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Posted on December 30th, 2009 No comments
As year 2009 is running out, and I have this strong feeling that 2010 will be the first year, where many people in the West will realize, that a new world order is here and that we in the West cannot consider ourselves as the leading centre of the world any more.
Why do I believe that? First of all this became very obvious during the COP15 climate conference that just ended here in Copenhagen. Though I have only been following it through TV, the discussions and the interpretation of the conference makes it visible, that emerging economies such as China, Brasil, India, South Africa and Mexico have a very strong voice and that they have learned the lesson from the West: To speak up and take care of their own interests. New green or clean technologies is not only a matter of decline of CO2 emission, it is also a matter of being able to breathe in cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Rio, Mexico City, and Beijing. Development of new and cleaner technologies will come – with or without help from the West. And if we in the West don’t jump on the train, we will be the ones left behind.
South – South Corporation is here as a part of the globalization process, and thanks god for that, because this is the only way to lift millions of people out of poverty. People in the emerging economies need to fight for an equal share of a balanced economic development. In this sense the West (EU) can still be a role model. Enlightenment and social movements must go hand in hand to achieve this very important goal.
I saw this very clearly in Brazil. I saw the South – South Corporation, the need for social reforms and the importance of social movements.
How to become black inside
“it is about becoming black” said Laila, when she tried to explain the ideas behind black movement. You need to have a black soul and to be proud of what you are. You need to dress like a black woman, to dress your hair in a black manner and to prepare the African food. This is the only way to reclaim your soul.
Identity is a strong and necessary driver in the personal process of development, and education within social movements is very much about identity.
Enjoy a moment of community
“I am here, because I need to know more about the society and how issues are connected, but the school is also a refuge, where you can enjoy a moment of community, a place where someone are wise and everybody can participate”.
Jaô is working voluntarily with alphabetization in the rainforest in Brazil. Serge and Maria are part of a research team at Para state university. The research team is supporting the work of alphabetization by educating teachers and providing teaching methods and material in the spirit of Paulo Freire. They work together with different social movements: in the rainforest, among fishermen, peasants, black communities, among the river people, and in the poor areas in the cities.
Decolonialisation of peoples mind and legal rights
Self-confidence and enthusiasm are important drivers in development. But realism is also important. Adult education and personal – and economical development are important partners. Production is an important issue. In the Amazon region in Brazil, where we were – eco-agriculture was a big issue among the social movement. A good idea but difficult to deal with, especially as a substitute for the agrobusiness industry, when 6,7 billion people in this world need food every day.
But there is a desperate need of knowledge about, how the rainforest can be an income generating resource for people in the Amazon region in a sustainable way with focus on the triple bottom-line: ecological, economical and social development.
But sustainable is not a plus-word for MST (Movement Sem Terre). In their opinion sustainability smells of capitalism, it is built of the idea, that it is possible to restore the capitalistic idea. MST is a revolutionary movement. “La Luta continua” (the struggle continues) is still a one-liner here, but “a united people” is not what we heard as part of the agenda any more. Each social movement seems to have its own agenda, their own lobbyists in the senate and Their own donors. MST’s agenda is a very important one. They fight for legal rights for land to the people. Lack of land reforms and lack of legal rights to land and property is maybe the biggest challenge in Brazil. Not only in remote areas as the rainforest and the countryside. Also in the cities, property rights are a big issue, and an important tool to bring people out of poorness and a criminal way of life.
The decolonialisation of peoples mind is a matter of gaining self-confidence. Legal rights and knowledge about ones legal rights is maybe the most important tool. N.F.S Grundtvig - the Danish philosopher and educator – stressed that more than 150 years ago in Denmark. And he also stressed that people don’t need to be able to read and write to know their rights. Spoken words are for everybody – and public enlightenment and dialog is a precondition for a human society.
Democracy and South – South Corporation
In AWE we have worked with the idea of democracy for quite some time. Very concrete we have supported the idea of an Edu-game about multilayered democracy, and we have taken part in the development of the game, and we have tested this game many places together with our chapters. Most lately we have presented it in Brazil: At Para University at FISC (Forum International Societé Civile) and at Confintea VI. Professor Salomaô Hage said after the workshop at the university: “A game that make people angry and encourage them to invent new types of institutions is maybe not so bad”.
But anyway – something is wrong, because we receive more and more messages from the South: Stop talking so much about democracy. We do not believe in your talk about democracy. AWE’s president Jakob Erle presents a very nice definition of democracy, when he presents the EDU-game:
Democracy is to deal with common challenges through political institutions that are controlled by the citizens through political participation
But in the world of reality, democracy has in the South and the East got a bias as a new cultural imperialistic mission from the West. The reality is that democracy has many faces, and not all of them are pretty. Jakobs definition is just one of these faces, and an idealistic one. One of the things we need to discuss in AWE, when we meet again to the next International Council Meeting – hopefully in October in Denmark:
What does globalization, good governance and human rights mean in an emerging South – South perspective and what is World Education about. Which values do we want to fight for in AWE in the next decade – the 2010s.
Up till the next International Council meeting we are preparing two issues of Journal. One issue is edited in India by Sujit Kumar Paul and it will be about the emerging countries with focus on development in Brazil, India, Russia and China – the BRIC-countries.
The other issue is edited by Ana Maria Barros Pinto in Brazil. This issue will focus on the Confintea meeting in Belem and the Paulo Freire inspired pedagogical approach.
The best wishes for future corporation in 2010 from Rikke Schultz, AWE-DenmarkAWE advocates World Education, AWE Travels & Exchanges, Organisational, World Education in action Adult Education, Ana Maria Barros Pinto, Brazil, BRIC, China, CONFINTEA VI, COP15, Democracy, Edugame, EU, Grundtvig, India, International Civil Society Forum (FISC), Jakob Erle, Mexico, Paulo Freire, Rikke Schultz, South Africa
Posted on April 27th, 2009 1 comment
CONFINTEA VI is UNESCO’s 6. World Conference on Adult Education, it takes place in Belem, Brazil from May 19-22 2009. AWE hosts a workshop at the conference with the title: “Democratic participation in a globalised world – an innovative and participatory approach to global challenges, with climate and financial crisis governance as examples”.
The workshop uses the platform of the edu-game on Globalization and Democracy that AWE has worked with together with International Academy for Education and Democracy