Paul Belanger

Paul Belanger, PhD

Hall of Fame Class of 2006 - European

Paul Belanger, PhD, celebrates more than three decades of leadership, service and participation in the field of adult and continuing education, most notably as secretary-general of the 5th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V), held in Hamburg, Germany in 1997. The event was sponsored by the UNESCO Institute for Education, of which he was a director from 1989 to 1999. The conference brought together more than 1,500 people from 135 nations to examine the significance of the transition taking place globally in adult and continuing education and included examinations of everything from democracy and cultural diversity, to the empowerment of women and information technology.

Belanger helped the conference produce two guides for the future of the field: The Hamburg Declaration and The Agenda for the Future. 

In 1999, he led UNESCO to implement International Adult Learners’ Week, a celebration festival of adult learning which has been adopted in 50 countries. In 2000, Belanger became president of the International Council of Adult Education. In that post, he has helped research the adult learning policies, strategies and plans of 24 countries throughout all regions of the world. Also, he instigated a six-year review of the impact of the CONFINTEA V accomplishments and results, reported it to the world and proposed needed changes and adjustments for the future.

Belanger has done much to enhance the visibility and stature of adult and continuing education as a field of practice. He has developed and offered an adult learning policy framework with eight categories of policies: expression of learning demand; ensure continuity of learning throughout life; provision-focused, accessibility; work-related; social issues-related; financial; and the role of the state and non-governmental agencies.