Rosa M. Falgàs
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Rosa M. Falgàs began her career in adult education in 1975, during the first years of democracy in Spain. Following a union meeting where she spoke about literacy in Girona, she developed a deep-seated commitment to teaching people the value of literacy and education. Her ability to combine literacy-based work with policy-making at the international level, often lobbying and working to make the right to lifelong learning a reality for everyone, has been the defining quality of her professional life.
Her curiosity about the educational efforts being carried out in Barcelona early in her career led her to joining an adult learning association, where she met a team of teachers who published the first materials used in literacy classes in Spain.
Falgàs participated in the establishment of the Spanish Federation of Adult Education Associations and served as its representative in the European Bureau of Adult Education (EBAE). As EBAE was restructuring into the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), she opened an office of the organization in Barcelona with the support of the Catalan government. In 1988, she was elected to the EAEA Board of Directors and served as its liaison to the International Council for Adult Education and as a member of UNESCO’s Collective Consultation for Literacy. She has also been active in committees of the European Union, where she represented the interests of Spanish adult education.
She has been continuously involved in the development of Catalan legislation and has led numerous projects in the fields of adult education, literacy, and migration. In 1997, she established ACEFIR, the Catalan Association for the Education of Adults, to maintain her relationship with EAEA and to put into practice everything she had learned during her service at the European and international levels.
As Falgàs oversaw her commitments to national and international initiatives, she maintained her work in Girona teaching and continuing her literacy efforts. This was never more important than in the 1980s, when migrants from Africa began arriving in Spain with no knowledge of the Catalan language. With the support of many colleagues in the field, she created and published the first method to learn Catalan for newcomers, which was presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006 and 2007.
She has been the president of ACEFIR since 1997. She also serves as the coordinator of the Catalan Language Learning Course “To Live and Work in a New Country” and as the manager of the Google+ Community “Literacy and Basic Skills.”