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  • Association for World Education @ A World Worth Living In

    Posted on June 14th, 2011 admin No comments

    Turning Torso is the landmark of Malmö, SwedenAdult educators from 80 nations are gathering in Sweden at this very moment. The headline of their gathering is A World Worth Living In, and AWE is there to share.


    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.

  • Educators shall rediscover World Education

    Posted on April 14th, 2011 admin 1 comment

    A large scale process within the AWE has been launched. AWE educators are going to reflect systematically on the relevance of World Education in the 21st century.


    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.

  • Journal of World Education revives CONFINTEA

    Posted on March 5th, 2011 admin No comments

    In the new Journal of World Education the Association for World Education reports from CONFINTEA VI and FISC. The conferences took place in late 2009 in Belém do Pará, Brazil.


    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.

  • First AWE News compilation issued

    Posted on December 4th, 2010 admin No comments

    AWE NewsOn November 22nd the first issue of AWE News was distributed. World Education stakeholders do now have the possibility to follow how AWE and its members perform and advocate for World Education.


    To subscribe to the AWE News from issue number one, fill in and submit the subscription form. Subscribers get a compilation of AWE News forwarded to their email addresses two-three times a year.

    AWE News are interesting for those who teach, learn about or researcher in world issues, those who are looking for world educators, write or think about the world, or people who miss a vision or educative inspiration about world issues.

  • AWE and Bibliotheca Alexandrina sign Memorandum of Understanding

    Posted on November 21st, 2010 admin 1 comment

    The Association for World Education (AWE) and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 10th. The intention is to strengthen the professional relations between the two parties.


    The memorandum that was signed between AWE and Bibliotheca Alexandrina is strategically important to AWE’s work explains president Jakob Erle, who visited Bibliotheca Alexandrina in October together with Global Capacity Director Noël Bonam.

    “The Bibliotheca Alexandrina means an opening to new contacts, new networks and hopefully to new cooperation partners,” says Erle.

    On the other hand AWE has obliged itself to “promote cooperation in the fields of training and internships provided to the staff of Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” says the memorandum. And moreover, the AWE will “provide internships and training for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina staff in the fields of education and dialogue.” The Memorandum is valid for three years.

    Bibliotheca Alexandria is more than a library

    The Bibliotheca Alexandrina that is dedicated to recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original Bibliotheca Alexandrina is an impressive institution that contains much more than a library. It contains as well an internet archive, six specialized libraries, four museums, planetarium, research centers, exhibitions and a lot more.

  • Millennium Development Goals bring World Education into the classroom

    Posted on October 30th, 2010 admin No comments

    millenium-development-goals-in-vejle“Millennium Development Goals are easy to understand, they are measurable and they tie the world together without reducing complexity,” wrap up AWE teachers.


    Five schools in Vejle, Denmark, had visiting guest teachers from AWE in India and Tanzania this week. About 300 students in grade seven to nine had the opportunity to learn about the situation in India and Tanzania in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The AWE teachers are happily concluding that the MDGs are easily understood in the classrooms.

    The guest teachers Dr. Sujit Kumar Paul and Livingstone Beykwaso were in Denmark due to an exchange program by Association for World Education (AWE).

    Pupils introduced to third world living conditions

    Through figures, pictures and dilemma stories the pupils were introduced to living conditions in the third world and to programs that are meant to lead people out of extreme poverty and illiteracy.
    Better housing, better education and better health care among the poorest are important steps in this direction. Self help groups are now implemented in both countries.

    MDG facts from Tanzania and India

    Among the many Tanzanian and Indian facts and opinions presented by Livingstone Beykwaso and Dr. Sujit Kumar Paul were the following:

    • In Tanzania a great effort is done to organize elderly people and to give the access to resources, so they can assist orphans that have lost their parents due to Aids/HIV.
    • In India women are supported to form self help groups. Women empowerment improves the economy of the families, motivates to send the children to school and help to reduce domestic violence.
    • The only goal that both India and Tanzania are expecting to achieve before 2015 is goal number two about education. Both countries are very close to a situation, where all children between six and 14 years will attend school.
    • However, one optimistic guess is that the eight goals can be reached before 2025 if the right political decisions are made.
    • To support a sustainable development it is important, that resources from the developed world are distributed through local organizations.
    • It is also important that the national governments support the local work. Both in India and Tanzania there should be more joint obligations between the government, the local administration and the NGOs to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

    Dr. Sujit Kumar Paul is a professor at Shantiniketan, India
    Livingstone Beykwaso is a board member of the Local Radio of Karakwe, Tanzania

  • Happy New Year from AWE Denmark

    Posted on December 30th, 2009 Rikke Schultz No comments

    December 2009


    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.

    Emerging economies

    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

    Leila Magalhães and Kirsten Bruun - Belem Soft Hotel

    Leila Magalhães and Kirsten Bruun - Belem Soft Hotel

    “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

    brazilien-2009-2-191“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-Denmark

  • Revisiting Belem

    Posted on November 24th, 2009 Rikke Schultz No comments

    Preparing Confintea VI in Belem

    Our mission: To get closer to the social movements in Para State – Brazil

    Ana Maria interviewing Teofila Nunes and Mercedes from MST

    Ana Maria interviewing Teofila Nunes and Mercedes from MST

    MST are present in 24/27 states in Brazil.

    They have given land to 350.000 families in Brazil. The next five year, they will figth for Land reforms leading to social justice and popular sovereingty.

    Teofila in her house in Icoaraci

    Black Movement

    Leila Magalhães and Kirsten Bruun - Belem Soft Hotel

    Leila Magalhães and Kirsten Bruun - Belem Soft Hotel

    “Is is about beeing black – to retrieve your black soul”

  • Jørn meets Guarani indigenous people in Brazil

    Posted on June 9th, 2009 jorn No comments

    Some days ago Ana Maria (AWE representative, Brazil) and I attended a regular class in Guarani language and culture in the federal university in Porto Alegre. The teacher was Vhera Poty, a young, 22 years old man, Guarani, who taken a high school exam and wanted to study film at the university. See picture.

    Jorn reporting from Brazil

    The next day we visited him in the area of the tribe about 100 km. from the city Porto Alegre, where he lived.

    They lived in small houses of bricks or stone or wood– about 180 people- 32 families.
    There was a school at a central place with the forms 1-4 and two teachers –one white (Portuguese speaking) living outside and one indigenous teacher speaking Guarani. See picture of the class. The new school buildings and the salaries to the teachers and the school food were provided by the local municipality, as well as a separate house which served as a health clinic.

    The area was characterized by people being active with something – some women were weaving baskets producing things which could be sold in the market places of Porto Alegre; the men were building several houses in wood, and they fetched all the material in the forest which surrounded the area. It was evident that they knew the methods and techniques of indigenous house building.

    Jorn peporting from Brazil

    The children attended the school, which also gave them a warm meal at the middle of the day.
    Older children, form 5-9, were collected by school busses – with the name eschola – and taken to a nearby regular nearby school.

    Around in the village there were strolling freely around groups of chicken, dogs, ducks, pigs, and other animals.

    Jorn reporting from Brazil

    They grew the crops they needed for their existence – bananas, sugar cane, maize, different vegetables.

    The money they needed they got from making crafts and weaving baskets, but they did not work outside, with a few exceptions.

    They were also like the rest of the indigenous peoples supported by a state Foundation for Indigenous people, in which indigenous people themselves are represented, and which administer social programmes for indigenous peoples.

    To sum up: It was a big experience to see the natural harmony between humans, free animals and the nature (fields, the forest), of course, existing within a context of poverty measured by normal Western standards. But the way of life and the social philosophy in the area I visited were clearly determined by age-old traditions and administered by a 7 persons – council from the area, which had to meet the next day under the chairmanship of the young 22 –years old and educated young man, Verah.


  • Paulo Freire ideas about education are still important in Brazil

    Posted on June 1st, 2009 Rikke Schultz No comments

    Wagner and Kirsen discussing Paulo Freires ideas about education

    Wagner and Kirsen discussing Paulo Freires ideas about education


    Alphabetization is an important issue when it comes to mobilization of the civil society in Brazil, and we visits schools for adult education in two favela’s in Belem and in the river area close to Saô Domingos do Capim – a smaller city south of Belem.

    Mova is a public adult education movement and NEP (Nucleo de educacaô Paulo Freire) is a civic organization, both organizations are in the business of alphabetization based on the ideas of Paulo Freire.

    Mova provides school education equivalent to primary school level – and passing the exam (5 level) is necessary if you want to register any kind of private business. But this is not the only reason for signing in. One of the students we speak with wants to continue education in the health sector others are there just to educate themselves and being part of the community in the evening classes. Wagner Magno – their teacher – stresses the importance of enlightenment and empowerment. Everybody need to see the possibilities for improving their own life, nobody benefits from sitting and waiting for the government to do something for them. We need to find our own way out of poorness and suppression.

    Sâo Domingos do Capim

    Saturday morning meeting with the alphabetization team

    Saturday morning meeting with the alphabetization team


    It is the same attitude we find in the rainforest Saturday morning, where we are meeting the volunteers working with alphabetization in the river region around Saô Domingos do Capim. Pascaô is one of the volunteer’s, he is organizing landless people and he is educating him selves as teacher in the NEP- alphabetization program. “I am here, because I need to know more about the society and how issues are connected”, he stresses, “But the school is also a refuge, where you can enjoy a moment of community, a place, where someone’s are wise and everybody can participate”.

    The school is a refuge, where you can enjoy a moment of community

    The school is a refuge, where you can enjoy a moment of community


    Sergio Xorrêa is coordinator of NEP-activities in the area. He is born in Saô Domingos do Capim, he has studied at the university and he is a member of Salomaô’s research team. He knows the importance of a sustainable development of the rain forest. But he blames the University for doing too little research about how people can improve their daily way of living. There is money enough in research about intensive exploration of the forest where big companies are involved, but when it comes to small-scale development, there is no interest or resources for research. But it is positive, that land claims has been easier for the cooperative movements, and the parliament has now decided, that only 20% of the forest can be used for development in big scale.

    Amazonas - Sâo Domingos do Capin

    Amazonas - Sâo Domingos do Capin