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AONTAS to explore how adult learning can address societal challenges at Lifelong Learning Summit

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation will explore how adult learning can address the critical issues that society faces from climate change to the challenges facing our democracy at a Lifelong Learning Summit taking place on Monday, 18th November 2019 at Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3 from 10 am.

The Summit marks 50 years since AONTAS was founded and brings together nearly 250 international and national speakers, learners, policymakers and adult and community education providers.

Speakers include Lene Rachel Anderson, author of The Nordic Secret; Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary-General, Department of Education and Skills; Patricia King, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; and Professor Tom Collins, Chair of the National Water Forum. The summit kicks off with a panel of learners sharing what adult learning has meant to them and the impact that it has had on their lives.

A photocall will take place at 11.15 am at the Hogan Mezzanine in Croke Park, Dublin 3. For the purposes of the photocall, learners from the Roscommon Women’s Network (RWN), a community project dedicated to supporting women and families, will pose with pieces they created as part of a Textile Upcycling Training Project. As part of the project, learners upcycle unsold textiles from the RWN charity shop into different products for sale.

The Summit is a chance to celebrate the advances made in lifelong learning and explore a bold vision forward. Speaking at the summit, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “Adult learning contributes to the betterment of our society by supporting a more active and engaged citizenry. Now, more than ever, the ability to think critically about our world is a vital skill that adult learning can foster. In a world facing the threat of climate change, adult learning organisations have responded through innovative projects such as the upcycling project from Roscommon Women’s Network. This is just one example of how adult learning can contribute to environmental sustainability. As well as learning new sewing, pattern making and cutting skills, it’s also about encouraging us all to think about the impact that textile waste has on the environment.

In the afternoon, the new Network for Adult Learning Across Borders will also be launched. It consists of adult learning advocacy organisations from across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

The full conference programme is available here.

The Lifelong Learning Summit is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) in Ireland. The Summit is the closing event of the current project; Increasing Pathways, Increasing Participation 2017-2019.