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Paolo Federighi

Paolo Federighi

Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Since 1972, Paolo Federighi has been committed to developing adult education in Italy and Europe, concentrating on research, action, and policy, maintaining a constant link between them. His applied research, studies, and written work are a reference point for regional adult education policies in Europe and international cooperation on the subject.

In the early 1980s, he was among the promoters of the Italian Association of Adult Education, and later in the first Mediterranean Association of Adult Education. He became the president of the European Bureau of Adult Education and later founded the European Association of Education of Adults (EAEA).

Without Federighi’s expertise, communication skills, knowledge, and contacts, the EAEA would not exist. He brought together the national associations for adult education in a common European umbrella organization that was accepted by the European Commission as the legitimate representation of the adult education field, including not only the organizational and financial aspects, but also agenda setting, the focusing of the policies of Europe and of many member states on upgrading qualifications, integrating cultural and political education, and supporting underprivileged target groups. He contributed to the sustainability of EAEA’s organizational structure and the relevance of the topics by extending this work in other international contexts and continuing to further his conceptual and advising activities.

From 1992-2000, he built up and implemented EAEA within the European Union. From 1993-2013, he acted as consultant and expert for the European Commission in the fields of research, education and training, evaluating, writing reports, and advising. From 1996-2013, he was also responsible for developing education, training, jobs, and research policies in the region of Tuscany, Italy. He also contributed to research and policy-making for adult education in the context of UNESCO, UIL Hamburg, OCDE and the Council of Europe from 1979-2000.

Starting in 1999, he began a new commitment to applied research, dedicating himself to studying the training of workers inside organizations such as Tecnogym and Ferrari. In 2001, he oversaw the establishment of EARLALL, a network of regional ministers that became a construction of European regional policies and interregional cooperation in the adult education field.

Federighi has published more than 200 articles and books chapters and 30 books on adult education related to policy transfer, regional educational management, valorization, study circles, museums, and upgrading skills, always research-based and focused on policy counseling. His research seeks connections between adult education, labor policies, and political economy. His books and articles are available in several languages, such as Spanish, French, English, German, Romanian, and Italian.

He has run several national and international research projects, presented lectures and held conferences in many European countries, as well as in Japan, South Africa, Brazil, and Canada. He has also advocated for the role of the development of museums and libraries as cultural institutions, stressing that the access to them plays a large part in the cultural development of adult learners, both individually and societally.