Laurentiu Soitu, PhD
Hall of Fame Class of 2008
Laurentiu Soitu, PhD, is an outstanding leader in developing adult education, particularly during a dramatic transitions period in his country of Romania. He has created university and community programs to develop adult education both as an academic discipline and a practical offering to the public in need.
For the first time in the Romanian Higher Education System, Soitu introduced pioneering courses in adult education for license and master’s degree levels at the University of Lasi, the first modern university in Romania. He was also one of the initiators of the Management of Adult Education program, a Europe-wide master’s program. Soitu organized research oriented to rural education institutions in Romania, referring to experiences from the inter-war period, but also to the new learning contexts within the extended Europe. His academic and practical work has helped negotiations with government and parliament for more substantial support to adult education at the university and community levels.
To extend the services of his university to the public, including persons with special needs, inmates, the elderly and other marginalized people, Soitu helped create the Adults’ Education Regional Centre, funded though the Worldwide Bank. His work made local, regional and national decision makers aware of the practical work in adult education. Soitu has developed manuals of good practices for diversity education actions; and he developed programs for those with special needs in at-risk situations due to economic difficulties. He also initiated in partnership with Danish foundation, a center with specialized services for older people open to public interaction with center residents. Soitu has helped many adult educators to become aware of and get knowledge from the international adult education community.
One of his greatest contributions to the field of adult education is his work with Lasi’s International Conferences of Adult Education. These conferences, held every two years, gather more than 200 participants from Europe, Asia, the U.S. and many other countries. Using national and international contacts in higher and adult education, Soitu has coordinated, organized and led the conferences all with a purpose of opening international dialogues among educators. Permanent biannual workshops have been developed to analyze objectives and upgrades and retrain educators within the field. Durable learning partnerships and mutual relationships have been formed from these gatherings, including professor and student exchanges.
During the last two decades, Soitu has created sustainable and visible changes within a framework of lifelong learning on university and community adult education. His intercultural and interreligious approach recognizes a world of diversity. Soitu is an integrator in both directions by emphasizing Romania’s role and traditions to international conferences as well as by introducing the larger European context of adult education in his country.