J. Roby Kidd was a humanist, teacher, and adult educator. In 1935, he began his work with adults at the YMCA. This experience initiated his lifelong interest and commitment to the education of underprivileged adults and learner-centered education. A Canadian by birth, he became the first of his countrymen to earn a doctorate in adult education, and subsequently he taught the first graduate course in adult education in Canada at the University of British Columbia. From 1951 to his death in 1982 he served as Director of the Canadian Association for Adult Education.
Dr. Kidd was also strongly committed to improving professional practice and the overall field of adult education worldwide. In so doing, he served as Chair of UNESCO's advisory committee on adult education, and in 1960 was President of the UNESCO Second World Conference on Adult Education. In 1966, he served as the first Chair of Adult Education for the newly organized Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He created--and served as its Secretary-General--the International Council for Adult Education in 1972, to address the concerns of equity and practice in Third World countries. He authored many articles and a benchmark book on How Adults Learn (1959), which has been published in nine languages.
The life and works of J. Roby Kidd will continue to be an important influence on students, teachers, and leaders in adult education well into the 21st century. His intellectual, creative, and stimulating achievements of this century have helped to shape the future of adult education worldwide.
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