Peter Mayo

Peter Mayo

Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Peter Mayo has made distinguished contributions to the development of the theoretical foundations of adult education. As an interdisciplinary scholar, he has increased the presence of adult education through his publications in the fields of sociology, comparative education, cultural studies, and politics.

Mayo coordinated adult education projects in Malta’s Education Ministry, setting up an adult education unit and coordinating, with others, a national adult literacy effort, among other projects. This unit subsequently evolved into the Directorate of Lifelong Learning. He followed these accomplishments by joining academia and developing diploma, master’s, and doctoral programs in adult education. In 1993, he became the first full-time academic appointee in Adult Education at the University of Malta, where he was the first head of the Arts, Open Communities, and  Adult Education department. He was also involved in policy-making for Malta, serving on the National Lifelong Learning Strategy task force and promoting, through a 1994 presentation, the idea of developing Maltese schools as community learning centers.

His academic work won the 2005 American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Award and the 2013 Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education from the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. One of his published papers won the 2011 award, by the Higher Education (HE) SIG of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), for best published article on HE from an international and comparative perspective.

He has served as external examiner for doctoral theses at universities in the U.S., Italy, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, and has also been evaluator for tenure/professorial appointments at Canadian, New Zealand, U.S., South African, Cypriot and Botswanan universities. He has been appointed a visiting professor for two years at the UCL/Institute of Education, London, and short-term visiting professor at the University of Alberta, Bogazici University, University of Cyprus, UBC and University of Gdansk. He was also Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, in 2014.

Mayo is widely considered a leading international authority on Gramsci, Freire, and Lorenzo Milani. His major work, Gramsci, Freire, and Adult Education (Zed Books), has been published in several languages and has over 778 citations to date, according to the Google Scholar Citation list, for the English version only. On the basis of this work, he was invited to contribute to the International Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education and on Antonio Gramsci for the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Educational Thinkersand the Routledge Handbook of Social Work. In all, he has published 22 books and well over 100 articles and chapters in adult education, language, sociology, and comparative education. One of his edited volumes on adult education attracted papers in the area by leading sociologists, namely Zygmunt Bauman, Oskar Negt, DW Livingstone, and Ursula Apitzsch. He edits, for Brill-Sense, the only international book series on adult education available at present.

He has been a keynote speaker at numerous conferences and lectured at universities around the world, as well as serving on the editorial advisory and consulting editorial boards of numerous journals, such as Adult Education Quarterly (AAACE), Research in the Education and learning  of Adults (RELA, ESREA), International Journal of Lifelong Education, International Review of Education (UNESCO), Convergence (ICAE), Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE), Journal of Transformative Education (AAACE), Focus on Lifelong/Lifewide Learning (Italy),  Dialogos (Barcelona, Spain), and Quaderns d'educació continua (Xativa, Spain).

Mayo has published in areas that include educational research in general, as well as museums and heritage, sociology and the sociology of education, international and comparative education, and political studies. He is an active member of the consortium for the Erasmus Mundus International Master in Adult Education for Social Change, which won the UALL award in 2019.