Heribert Hinzen, director of the Institut für Internationale Zusammenarbeit des Deutschen Volkshochschul-Verbandes (IIZ/DVV – Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association) in Bonn, Germany, is an active leader in adult and continuing education both in Germany and internationally. His work represents three decades of combining theory and practice, local and global concerns.
He has a respected position in his home country as well as experience working in adult education abroad (Sierra Leone 1984-1987, Hungary 1996-1999). In a variety of hands-on, face-to-face contexts, cooperating with students, adult learners, adult educators, adult education institutions, and adult education administrations and policy-makers, he has helped institutions to build sustainable structures and programs with innovation and continuity.
As director of IIZ/DVV he heads an organization with a complex structure of offices and staff in many parts of the world (currently e.g. in Ethiopia, Guinea, South Africa, Mexico, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria). Responding to the challenge of intercultural exchange, he has helped to develop a purposeful, respectful form of cooperation between partners in many different countries and projects.
He has built on and continued his commitment to adult education as a field of practice, profession and academic discipline in managing a large non-governmental adult education institute. In various leadership roles he has assisted IIZ/DVV to grow as a respected and stable international institution in changing times. As keynote speaker on research and policy matters, as presenter, convener, and coordinator of numerous symposia, conferences and seminars, and in discussions with colleagues and associations in many countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America, Hinzen has helped to develop professional competencies, knowledge, and awareness.
He has made adult education visible to a wide audience as writer, editor and publisher of books, series and journals. For 25 years he has edited Adult Education and Development, a widely disseminated adult education journal. Environmental policies and practices also are of serious concern to him, not only as an issue for the global development agenda, but as a matter for local action as well. In his own home community he is a member of an environmental association successfully struggling against the destruction and exploitation of nature. He is active in sports, playing tennis in tournaments and on a team competing regionally and nationally.
He has initiated numerous adult education projects, supported partners in many countries with practical matters including fundraising, strengthening professional capacities, teaching and researching at several universities, and played an advocacy role for better adult education policies, legislation and financing.
Hinzen earned a degree from the University of Bonn and a doctorate in pedagogy from the University of Heidelberg, with a dissertation on comparative adult education in Tanzania.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Pécs, Hungary, and received the title as honorary professor from both Universities of Iasi, Romania, and Pécs. He serves currently as a vice-president of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), Brussels.
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