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Letters From ~ 10 

Letter from Hungary

How Personality Made it Real and Valuable to Promote Learning in and through Communities:  A Tribute to Chris Duke 

Balázs Németh

I got acquainted with Chris Duke in 2006 at the Pécs Conference of PASCAL International Observatory which opened the way to a special project work, namely PURE – PASCAL Universities in Regional Engagement.

Chris really impressed me by his genuine curiosity, human nature with an open mind, critical thinking and social sensitivity. Not only his accurate focus, but also a reflective approach indicated a well-prepared man with great experience in international collaborations amongst higher education institutions to deliver effective knowledge transfer. He always reminded folks in university lifelong learning of having to stay collaborative, sensitive and innovative to understand both economies and societies based on diverse cultures and traditions.

Chris Duke has taught many of us in adult and lifelong learning the importance of understanding trends and issues and, accordingly, relating experience to realities. Thereby, as an educator recognising the necessity to stay sensitive to participation, but also to non-participation. Chris highlighted the impact of adult learning through communities, cities and regions - the benefits of collecting and sharing amongst active citizens to develop for work and for community engagement, at the same time engaging vulnerable groups of adults to enhance a more tolerant, equitable and socially democratic society.

Chris Duke has demonstrated that higher education institutions are just one of the stakeholders of learning communities which enables universities to formulate quality education based on flexibility, innovation and partnership.

This is what I have learned from an academic character, an adult educator and from a friend!


Balázs Németh is associate professor and leader in adult learning and education (ALE) at University of Pécs, Hungary and a member of PIMA’s EXCO.

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