"Experiences from the organization of the World Assembly in Sweden 2011" Britten Mansonn-Wallin & Mats Ehn

(This is a transcription of the interview content)

Britten Mansonn-Wallin, Secretary-General of the Swedish National Council of Adult Education

Mats Ehn, Secretary of FOLAC (Folkbildning Learning for Active Citizenship – international mission for 151 Swedish folk high schools)

The decision to host WAAM was taken by the National Council of Adult Education together with its three member organisations. It was important to have broad based decision on hosting.

Matz was project leader, from beginning. The organizing was facilitated through cooperation of ICAE secretariat and international organising committee; there were frequent Skype meetings

WAAM also took place at the same time as other European, Nordic and national events; there were more than 800 delegates from 80 countries present. There was cooperation with local and government organisations and civil society organisations which helped with financing.


WAAM had 4 themes:

* right to education for adults;

* adult education and sustainable development,

* adult education and decent work;

* Nordic tradition of folkbildning,

And these themes will be reflected at the Montreal WAAM.

What was achieved? On one level, it has not been very successful: adult education and learning still not visible on a global level; without the voice of ICAE it would be totally silent. Now we are heard at global meetings but we are not strong in the educational sector nor in the civil society sector.

When we look at our national level, lifelong learning is still a strong sector. By hosting the conference, we used the global meeting to strengthen the lifelong learning sector in Sweden.

We published a book: good examples and best practices from folkbildning as an adult education activity.

The Government decrees in 2013 and 2014 for folkbildning in Sweden contain chapters dealing with international perspectives. That chapter would not be there without WAAM 2011.

2015 is crucial year for global development. The Post-2015 agenda is to be adopted by the UN in September; the climate summit will take place in Paris before year’s end. The WAAM 2015 in Montreal is grand opportunity to show the relationship between adult education and the global crises we are facing. In is important that we seize this opportunity.

For the future, it is vital to prioritise the work of ICAE because we are capable doing everything that interests us.

We are looking forward with great hope to WAAM2015.

Mariane Sawan

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