Paul Bélanger, President of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) spoke at the opening of the International Civil Society Forum (FISC) in preparation for the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education that takes place in Belém do Pará, Brazil, 28-30 November.
"The right to lifelong learning is still a privilege"
November 28, 2009
By Ana Abelenda ICAE
Da UFPA Convention Center, 18.00
Here are a few excerpts from the speech:
"It wasn´t by chance that we decided to meet prior to CONFINTEA VI. We know that we social movements can make a difference only if we work together in solidarity, never if we act isolated. We also know that we cannot achieve our goals if we do not seek the active participation of women and men with practices that favor the autonomy of the people"
"Education is one of the major preventive measures against discrimination. For example, learning to organize and manage collectively the products of the soil. Trade unions also claim the right of workers of all ages to education for decent work and to preserve that right"
"We agree that education is a fundamental right essential to the exercise of all other rights"
"We will discuss a wide range of issues during these two days of FISC. The first one is: What kind of change is necessary to ensure that the 2009 commitments are implemented? In this forum we will discuss first of all, the practices and policies in adult education that need to be developed or strengthened"
"Yes, in 1997 at the CONFINTEA V in Hamburg, member states of the United Nations adopted an Agenda for the future. But nothing has really changed. We´ve seen some progress in several countries but we all agree that the right to lifelong learning is still a privilege"
"There are two key questions that we must answer in this two-day forum:
1. What vision of lifelong learning should guide our actions and our public and private actors?
What are those successful practices that have had an impact?
2. How can we monitor that the commitments made by States and international actors are actually implemented? "
"This forum is not opposed to the CONFINTEA VI, it is preparing it, articulating civil society voices so that they are better heard. Let´s get to work, then"