Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Balázs Németh has contributed significantly to the field of adult education and lifelong learning as an outstanding researcher, committed practitioner, and engaged researcher and activist who contributes to the policy making area.
As a researcher, he became famous for his work in the history of adult education and comparative and international adult education, but he also played an important role in European policy making in the field of adult education and higher education. Policy is both in his research focus and his professional commitment, with politics and adult education as one of his research areas. Németh has published and edited several books and articles in periodicals and magazines about adult and lifelong learning, continuing education, and the politics of adult education.
His contribution to the practical field is related to his role as professor at the University of Pécs, Hungary. He was committed to transfering traditional faculty to a modern adult education institution, recognized far beyond national boundaries, with hundreds of students coming from other cities and regions to the renowned Faculty of Adult Education and HRD, where he was the main pillar of its work. He recently succeeded in getting the UNESCO Learning Cities Program recognized in Hungary and organized the first Learning Festival in Pécs in 2017, as well as Pécs becoming an UNESCO Global Learning City.
Németh’s largest contribution to the field is his networking of adult education experts, researches, and universities. The list of networks and projects he initiated, coordinated, and participated in includes Hungarian Universities Lifelong Learning Network, European Universities Continuing Education Network, European Universities Lifelong Learning Network, European Grundtvig programme TEACH (Teaching Adult Educators in Continuing and Higher Education, 2003-2006), European LLP Erasmus ESRALE project (European Studies and Research in adult Learning and Education 2014-2016) and the Erasmus+ COMPALL project (Comparative Studies in Adult and Lifelong Learning 2015-2018). He established several exchange activities among professional continuing education organizations and adult education research groups in countries in Central-East Europe where none had previously existed. Németh tirelessly worked on the promotion of comparative studies and professional development in adult learning and education by connecting respected university-based departments and institutes researching adult learning and education. He has played a distinguished role in the development of research collaborations in the field and his efforts have enlarged university lifelong learning and adult education research with professional development of adult educators and comparative studies.
With both his research work and papers, Németh increased the visibility and recognition of adult and continuing education. He greatly contributed to the contemporarily neglected field of the history of adult education, proving the deep roots of the field, helping the scientific identity of adult education and shaping its profile in the field of scholarship and research. He supported networks of comparative researchers, which helped the common European (and international) understanding of the field of adult education and cooperation, and made the voice of researches in the policy spaces much stronger.