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Gardener's Corner ~ 1

    Thank You Brother!               

From Roger Boshier 


I first met Chris Duke 50 years ago at an adult education conference at the University of New South Wales.  Having landed a job as Director of Continuing Education at the Australian National University Chris Duke (from the not-so-United Kingdom) would have to learn to distinguish wombats from kangaroos. There was also the need to squeeze CCE staff into two Holden Kingswood station wagons. With Chris at the helm, there were road trips and “search conferences.”  My boss in the University of Auckland CCE in New Zealand said, “Go and check out this Chris Duke chap at ANU.”  It was 1972 – a very significant year because of the Faure Report, the Third UNESCO Conference on ADED and, in New Zealand, a vitally important Educational Development Conference.  

Chris Duke and others had organised a participatory conference around “stations.”  When told to move from one activity-station to the next, delegates did what they were told.  For example, Dina Mellor taught us to make videos and Pacific islanders led us in arts and craft activities from their island homes.   At other stations there were discussions about concepts – like “learning society”, “andragogy”, “conscientization,” “dreamtime.”

In the 1970s not many New Zealanders were interested in the academic study of (or theory about) adult education and I derived considerable comfort from the fact Chris Duke was across the Tasman, shaking-up Australia and reinvigorating ASPBAE (the Asia-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education).

In 1991 Chris and I sat in the front row of a Taipei ceremony signalling the launch of the Year of Lifelong Learning in Taiwan.  We all rose to acknowledge the arrival of Lee Teng-Hui, adult educator and President of Taiwan.   The president would surely talk about semiconductors.  Wrong!   First, there were special greetings for foreigners in the front row. Next, he said “you foreigners teach us how to get people out of houses and apartments and into clubs, associations and community groups where they can work together to build a better world.  How do we do this?”


Not one word about semiconductors!

Lee had a Masters in Agricultural Extension from Cornell University and, after his speech, came off the flower-festooned rostrum and chatted with foreigners. 

“Chris Duke, Australia. Welcome to Taiwan. Thank you for coming here. We can learn from you!”

If President Lee Teng-Hui’s warm welcome was designed to foster friendship, it worked.  Chris and I both developed a profound appreciation for the congeniality, warmth and democratic tendencies of Taiwan people.

Chris Duke! Thank you, brother!

Many thanks for everything you have done to build a better world.

Kia ora Liz, thinking of you too!

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