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Uwe Gartenschlaeger

Uwe Gartenschlaeger

Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Throughout his career, Uwe Gartenschlaeger has focused attention on adult education on the national, regional, and international levels. In March 2023, Gartenschlaeger became director and chief executive of DVV International, an institute of the German Adult Education Association, but his contributions to the field as both practitioner and policymaker have enriched the lives of trainers and students across Europe, Asia, and Russia for decades.

Gartenschlaeger joined DVV, the largest organization for adult education in Europe, in 1995. Within the organization, he served as country director for Russia, regional director for Central Asia and Southeast Asia, and project manager for East-Central Europe. He became deputy director in 2019. Through his work for DVV, Gartenschlaeger has played a significant role in restructuring adult education systems in partner countries and has been instrumental in policy creation.

In a standout contribution to the field, Gartenschlaeger managed and monitored several training cycles for adult educators in Laos and Cambodia in Southeast Asia from 2015 to 2019. Over two years, some fifty adult educators were trained in six modules by mixed local and international trainer teams. The project created adult education communities of practice in both countries, linking academics, practitioners, ministry staff, and civil society representatives. This initiative has since been duplicated in other countries in Africa and Asia.

Another of Gartenschlaeger’s significant contributions to adult education is outreach to prisoners. In many Global South and Eastern European countries, prisoners have poor prospects for reintegration into society. Gartenschlaeger began working in Uzbek prisons in 2003, and prisoner outreach remains an important part of DVV International’s work today. Beginning in 2005, Gartenschlaeger also established networks of vocational training providers in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that still exist. These networks help to generate crucial job offers for the unemployed and for migrants searching for work.

During Gartenschlaeger’s more recent years as deputy director of DVV he was responsible for the development of standardized training curricula and instruments for organizational development and system building, which are now freely available on DVV International’s website. The “Curriculum globALE” he co-developed for the training of trainers is now a UNESCO-recommended tool widely used in developing countries.

In addition to his work for DVV International, Gartenschlaeger was elected president of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) in 2019. As EAEA’s president, he is the voice of European civil society networks and engaged in advocacy, especially in relationship to the European Commission and the European Parliament. While serving as president, he saw the European Union’s adoption of the New European Agenda for Adult Learning (NEAAL) in 2021. This agenda reflects Gartenschlaeger’s holistic understanding of adult education, in which education not only equips individuals for roles in the workforce but also to be engaged citizens who will influence their environments to build a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Gartenschlaeger studied history, political science, and philosophy at the Universities of Berlin and Cologne. As a member of Germany’s postwar generation, he is passionate about nurturing a culture of remembrance and reconciliation in his home country, Eastern Europe, and beyond. He served in Germany’s Green Party in several official capacities in the 1980s and early 1990s before going abroad with DVV International. Since 2019, he has been a member of the German-Lao Society, which brings together people of both countries to disseminate knowledge for better international understanding.