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Letters From ~ 7 

Letter from Germany

Bringing the personal and professional together

Heribert Hinzen

This story cannot be told without mentioning the cooperation between ASPBAE and DVV. Chris had moved from England to be the founding chair of adult education at the Australian National University in Canberra. The job was not big enough to keep him busy for 24 hours seven days a week. He had to give a wake-up kiss to the Asia Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) which had been a sleeping beauty ever since its foundation in 1964 alongside a major conference in Sydney. Interestingly, the treasurer of the European Bureau of Adult Education Helmuth Dolff was also invited; at the time he was Director General of DVV, the German Adult Education Association.

In 1975 Chris travelled to Iran to participate in the historic

gathering of A Turning Point for Literacy. He and Bernd Pflug as

the representative of DVV met and made use of the creative

atmosphere to develop ideas for a program of cooperation

which is still strong enough today to be influential on the

development of adult learning and education globally as well

as for both organizations.

Chris and I met first at an ASPBAE meeting around the later part

of the 70s in Indonesia, myself representing DVV and observing

first steps of our new cooperation. Liz and Chris had decided to

have a few days off to be spent in Bali. At that time their son Alex

had started walking, but could not do for long.  Therefore, while

we were climbing together in the hilly forest area of Ubud we

shared carrying Alex on our shoulders. While being based in Laos we met Alex and his wife Annie in Bangkok, and this time my wife Siggi and I enjoyed carrying their little daughter Alicia, by then only a few months old. This family friendship has lasted till today and when Chris and Liz had an extended European tour in summer

2022 their final stop was our village close to Bonn, including a visit to the Cologne cathedral and our local environmental campaign area. In between we had stayed in their house in Leamington Spa, they came for birdwatching while we were based in Hungary, we visited their mill in France, and they came to us during our years in Laos. A highlight was certainly a joint stay in an ecological farm in the North of Thailand with Alex and his family and our three sons.

During all those years or better decades that lie in between, enlisting the number of projects we did together, the number of publications, the joint participation in conferences – all that would fill too many pages easily. No need to mention here as we both are reminded about it often enough, not only via google messages. However, one book called Knowing More, Doing Better, a title suggested by Chris I will never forget as it was so close on how I understood the motto Knowledge is Power as it was part of the movements towards our first German democracy, and even close to Sharing Knowledge which was the motto of the 100 years celebrations of the Volkshochschulen in 2019; we find also in the PRIA logo.

I think it was good that in the midst of all the consultations and reviews on CONFINTEA and the SDGs, lifelong learning strategies and voluntary study circles we did together during our retirement period we lent back for a moment and wrote that piece together on Adult Learning and Education: Active global citizens for sustainable development - a political, professional and personal account which was published by CR&DALL.

No doubt in one aspect you have always been far ahead - in cultivating the fruits and vegetables of your large allotments compared to our little organic garden.


Heribert Hinzen is PIMA Vice President and a long-time friend and colleague of Chris Duke.

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