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And eventually… Bonn!

September 2012

All the versions of this article: [English] [Français]

It’s hard to sum up three of work. Nevertheless, we – learners, tutors and project managers – tried to show the richness of exchanges and the variety of activities of the network in only three days. To keep a record of the event, here is an extract of our log book.

Sunday 2 September

Some of us arrived early: we enjoy a nice dinner and each other’s company.

Monday 3 September

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Team-working for the handling of the publications

It’s the “dress rehearsal” before the D-Day. We set up the stands, rehearse the theatre play and get our bearings. Then, we take the opportunity to finalize the brochure: slip the Manifesto, the Charter and the DVD inside. Without mixing up the English and the French versions! Spirits are high and the 600 brochures are packed in no time.

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Concert of ’Lady Talk’

After all these efforts, we spend an exceptional evening with ‘Lady talk’. Chills guaranteed thanks to their exquisite voices and original repertoire. Scandinavian sounds, jazz and R&B are coming together to the delight of all.

Tuesday 4 September

The big day is here, we welcome the external public. We fix the very last details trying not to show how nervous we are.

First of all, Monika Kil and Monika Tröster welcome the participants on behalf of the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE, Eur-Alpha partner and conference host). Then, the speakers keep rolling: Thomas Bartelt from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Nadia Baragiola and Catherine Stercq from the Coordination team of Eur-Alpha Network, Ulrike Hanemann from the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and finally, Martina Ni-Cheallaigh, from the European Commission.

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From left to right: Catherine Stercq, Martina Ni-Cheallaigh and Monika Tröster

The speeches were really diverse: institutional and factual for some, militant and autobiographical for others.

On the second part of the morning, the tutors and the learners come in. The tutors explained how the Charter was designed, presented a tool to develop the reflexive analysis and emphasized the need to promote creativity. “Fun is a serious business!” they say.

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Learners reading the Manifesto

Afterwards, the learners brought their claims to life (Manifesto) by means of their action-theatre. The sketches mix German, English, Spanish, French and Dutch. So many languages, so many voices to try to be heard. Finally, the multilingual reading of their claiming book and the final ‘we want!’ –shouted by the learners– was the perfect end to the morning.

In the afternoon, the participants could visit the associations’ stands, the tutors’ hands-on workshops and the learners’ presentations of the self-determination practices that take place in their associations.

To conclude the day, we came back to the plenary room. Eunice Macedo from the Paulo Freire’s Institute highlighted the key moments of the conference and the lessons to be learned. Michael Power from the Learners’ Scientific Committee provided the learners’ perspective about these three years. A touching moment further reinforced by the distribution of roses to the Eur-Alpha partners (thanks, Radu!).

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The Eur-Alpha partners with their roses

Wednesday 5 September

The Wednesday morning was devoted to the evaluation of the final conference but also of the project as a whole. The following questions were discussed: How to highlight and make the network known but most of all, how to keep it alive! Lots of good ideas were shared.

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Evaluation day

Then, it was time to say goodbye, between smiles of satisfaction for our accomplishments and some tears due to the uncertainty of the future of to this wonderful experience.


A video made by our Germans hosts.

Eur-Alpha final meeting, Bonn

See also the publications issued during this meeting.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Education and Culture DG