The national and international significance of the contributions of Joachim H. Knoll, Ph.D., Ph.D.h.c., as an internationally respected scholar of adult education, pioneer, and founder of International and Comparative Adult Education in Germany, is documented in many ways – by his publication work, participation in UNESCO initiatives in the field of adult education, cooperation with national and international organizations of higher and advanced studies, and findings of his research program. A now-resident of Hamburg, Germany, he has moved and transformed adult education into a respected university discipline.
As a professor of education, he has continuously contributed to the field of adult and continuing education for nearly half a century. Knoll can be seen as a trail blazer in the development of adult education as an academic subject at universities in Germany. He was awarded the first university chair of adult and continuing education in Germany in 1964 at the University Bochum. There he was highly respected and continuously developed adult education as an academic discipline in research and teaching. His main research areas include: International and Comparative studies in Adult Education; Legislation of Adult and Continuing Education; Political Education; Media education and youth-protection; and New Media-Technologies for Education and Entertainment.
Knoll has cooperated in, and contributed to, many international projects, often under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), and other national and international institutions. During this time of transition in some Eastern European countries, Knoll has used his expertise to contribute to their legal and administrative redesign of adult education.
He inaugurated the International Yearbook of Adult Education in 1967, a forum of international scholarly exchange, and edited 26 volumes. He has contributed to an ambitious joint project of UNESCO and the Czech Academy of Sciences, “Organisation and Structure of Adult Education in Europe,” the first scholarly investigation in the adult education system of 21 European countries. For several decades Knoll served as deputy chair for the educational branch of the German UNESCO Commission.
Knoll, who served in a post-doctoral position for a German broadcasting corporation (Südwestfunk) in the Department of Cultural Affairs, established links between education and the dissemination of knowledge via electronic media. One of these activities was closely connected with further and continuing education for academics in different professions (Ullstein AV Publisher), where he was responsible for the educational design and presentation of programs. He also was a member of the advisory board for the school television of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR-Germany) in the late 1960s.
In the 1990s he was asked by the president of the German Red Cross Association to establish a “Red Cross Academy”, which was thought to become the center of all educational activities within this large organization. He was member of the board and founding member of this academy until 2004.
For his professional and honorary activities he was awarded the Order of Merit 1. Class of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse) and the Order of Merit of the German Red Cross Association (Ehrenkreuz).
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