Adama Ouane, PhD

Adama Ouane, PhD

Hall of Fame Class of 2008

Adama Ouane, PhD, has served as director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg, Germany since 2000. Over the years, Ouane has put together an unusual blend of research, policy, practice and advocacy at the national and international level. Among his most notable achievements is the strengthening and transformation of the UNESCO Institute for Education (UIE) into a leading adult and lifelong learning resource center of UNESCO (ALADIN, Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network).

Ouane is an extremely accomplished person in the field of continuing education and was a driving force for the first academic training for professional adult educators in French-speaking West Africa at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. As a founding member of the Conseil regional pour l’alphabétisation et l’éducation des adultes (CREAA – Regional Council for Literacy and Adult Education, including 16 West and Central African countries), he made financial and academic support available from both the Belgium and Switzerland government. 

Chairing the Editorial Board of the African Perspectives of African Languages (APAL) he initiated a unique collection of textbooks on adult learning by African scholars from African perspectives. Ouane spearheaded the development of a major international research-based training and network in post-literacy and continuing education. Case studies were conducted in 58 countries and training held for more than 4,000 practitioners, specialists and decision-makers from more than 120 countries. 

He has contributed to the methodology of adult education by fostering and detecting empirical studies from a global approach on a significant qualitative level and has gained an international reputation for his studies and seminars on literacy, non-formal education and adult education in the framework of lifelong learning. 

Ouane has contributed in multiple ways to the development of adult education with national and international significance – most notably, his leading role in the transformation of the former UNESCO Institute for Education (UIE) into a fully-fledged international institute of lifelong learning, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). The worldwide significance of the institute is incredible: The traditionally renowned, leading institution is in charge of the whole adult learning field of UNESCO with one of the world’s greatest network of specialists and institutions. They also head up their cumulated knowledge base, the expertise of the human resources available and a unique collection of materials. This institutional transformation was very comprehensive going beyond pure institutional aspects and demonstrates the conceptual capacity of its acting director. 

Ouane is a truly international person and an advocate for adult and continuing education. He has dedicated his life to serving adult and continuing education and has built quite a list of achievements from publishing books, authoring them himself, passing policy or heading organizations.