The University of Pécs in Hungary is the only university in Europe with a Faculty of Adult Education and Human Resources Development. It also has the largest student body of any university faculty of adult education, with a total of 1,602 students of adult education alone  This faculty therefore has a strong influence on adult education research, not only in Hungary, but throughout Europe. Following the launch of the EU’s 2020 Strategy for Growth and the Revised European Agenda for Adult Learning in spring 2012, the Faculty is now looking to Asia and to UNESCO in order to expand its international profile and develop a new European research agenda for lifelong learning. It therefore hosted, in partnership with Europe Direct Info Point Europe of Baranya County a conference entitled “Adult Learning and Education in Europe – Promoting the EU 2020 and the UNESCO UIL goals in the scope of the ASEM partnership” from 5─6 June 2012.
The conference was attended by 80 university lecturers and researchers. In his keynote speech, Arne Carlsen, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), made reference to Hungary hosting the CONFINTEA VI preparatory conference for Europe. He highlighted the human rights basis of UNESCO’s work, its humanistic values, and relevant responses to new trends and developments in the world. He pointed to the enlarged roles of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education in relation to lifelong learning, and to the growing need for research within and outside the education sector, as the understanding of learning expands. He envisaged a situation in which functional literacy would re-emerge as a major issue in Europe, which could lead to a new and more universal literacy agenda, in which developed and developing countries can meet.
Presentations by Mr Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Vice-director of the German Adult Education Association (DVV), and by Heribert Hinzen, DVV’s Regional Director for South and South-East Asia, focused on the civil society view of EU2020, and on cooperation between Europe and Asia in the field of adult education and lifelong learning. The organiser of the event, Mr Balazs Nemeth, ended the conference with a presentation on “Adult Learning and Social Democracy”.
More information on the conference can be found at http://hrdconf-pecs2010.eu/?page_id=7.