Learning Cities, Learning Regions and Learning Communities
Prof. Dr. Balasz Nemeth
Learning city-region and learning community development has become an important goal both for the European Union, for the UNESCO, and, likewise, for some distinguished professional networks (e.g. PASCAL Observatory; ESREA). The 2002 call of the European Commission on ‘European Net¬works to promote the local and regional dimensions of Lifelong Learning. The R3L initiative‘ (Call for proposals, (EAC/41/02) .2002/C 174/06. EC, Brussels) and the UNESCO.s Belém Framework for Action (UNESCO, 2009) made it clear that adult and lifelong learning and community develop¬ment should develop learning platforms for collaboration amongst generations and that institutions and organizations should develop quality learning and raise participation.
Accordingly, this particular initiative was well promoted by several cities and regions inside and outside the EU, during adult learners’ weeks, over the Lisbon decade and beyond. Moreover, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) transformed the model into a global initiative called Global Learning Cities Initiative and a network around its call (Source: learningcities.uil.un¬esco.org/home). PASCAL Observatory has also opened an online platform with special working group actions of ongoing learning city-region developments in economic, social, cultural and other dimensions. (Source: lcn.pascalobservatory.org/). Another exciting group of examples is the learnfest/learning festival movement. One example from Bavaria is the Lernfest of Benedikbeuren (Source: lernfest-online.de/); another is the lernfest of the Swiss Federation of Adult Educa¬tion, SVEB (Source: www.alice.ch/de/lernfestival/). Germany developed several lernende re¬gionen (learning regions) during the Lisbon decade. Examples can be collected through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF.
This working group will aim at collecting a number of specific learning city-region and community development examples from Europe by putting the following analytical and comparative questions into focus so as to examine how those models may be of help to promote adult and lifelong learning in the context of the EU 2020 goals.