Voices from around the world

Voices from around the world.

3 people sitting in front of a photography exhibition

"Education and lifelong learning are essential elements of the Sustainable Development Goals. Qualifications and skills are necessary to meet the global challenges of our time: the climate crisis, demographic changes, or the digital revolution. A global culture of lifelong learning is crucial."

Katja Keul, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Germany

"Over the years, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has made progress in both research and training and has developed itself as a leading institute of international eminence... UIL is in the unique position to prepare citizens with the skills and attributes needed to harness intrinsically motivated lifelong learners."

Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia

As the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning celebrates its 70th anniversary, the Philippine Department of Education looks forward to deepening our partnership as we level-up our action plans to ensure that the vision of lifelong learning in basic education becomes a reality, especially as we build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we can nurture and advance a lifelong learning culture that can confront the challenges of today and claim the opportunities of tomorrow.

Leonor Magtolis Briones, Department of Education Secretary, Philippines


"To meet global challenges - be it the climate crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, or demographic and technological change - a global culture of lifelong learning is needed. A rapidly changing world must provide learning opportunities for all, at every stage of life, to leave no one behind."

Katharina Fegebank, Deputy Mayor and Science Senator, UNESCO Learning City and UIL host-city of Hamburg, Germany

Hartwig Lüdtke, Vice-President German Commission for UNESCO, Federal Republic of Germany

Having access to as much advanced education as possible has been of key importance for many generations. Any progress of society in former times would not have been possible without it. Over the last decades, we have seen new technologies, new forms of mobility and new ways of organizing professional jobs demand ongoing and consistent progress in education, requiring those in the workplace to learn throughout their entire lives. Due to this global development, the “Life Long Learning” concept has become an integrated principle and is more and more important in every society and country. Over the years, the UIL in Hamburg has obtained excellent experience in this field. The UIL is the right institution to face these challenges and give advice to everyone who is dealing with these topics and responsible for ongoing education planning both on a local or national level.

Hartwig Ludtke circular
Raquel de Oliveira, Professor of Public Policies in Puc Paraná, Brazil VP of Public Policies in Gigalime, Alternate member of the UIL Governing Board

Lifelong learning is vital in coping with a world that is constantly changing. It has to start from inside to outside. And to make it sustainable, we need public policies that guarantee learning rights.

My father was a criminal. Learning saved me from the life my fate had reserved for myself. My dream for lifelong learning is that learning becomes a new social contract for all.

Raquel de Oliveira
Per Magnusson, Senior Programme Manager, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden

During the last years, global school closures have made a whole world aware of the crucial role education and learning plays for individuals and societies. It is obvious we have to reiterate the call for education as a fundamental human right, and lifelong learning as a foundation for a more sustainable and equitable world. UIL’s contributions and relentless work in this area for seven decades has been crucial to place adult education and literacy on the global educational map. I would like to congratulate UIL for the first 70 years of hard work, and I wish the institute many more years of fruitful endeavours for a just and sustainable world for all.

per magnusson circular
Bahia El Youssoufi, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Benguérir, Morocco

Our city has a new vocation which is the digital knowledge economy. This vocation is reflected in the learning opportunities offered by the educational infrastructure of our city for students in the city of Benguerir, students in Morocco and students on the African continent.

Our first year as a member of UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities was full of learning activities for all categories, all ages and all social strata. These are complemented by other activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in 2022.

bahia el youssoufi circular
Stéphane Beaudet, Mayor of the UNESCO learning city of Evry-Courcouronnes, France

Lifelong learning is an opportunity! This city project allows us to mobilise all our resources and to bring our educational, economic, associate and cultural partners together with our inhabitants for everyone’s benefit. To me, the essential objective here is citizenship. It is about enabling our inhabitants to become autonomous citizens, actors at key stages of their lives, involved in and assuming ownership of the life of the city.

stephane beaudet circular
Wojciech Szczurek, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Gdynia, Poland

“Whoever stands still, moves backwards" - how often we find out about the veracity of these words. Each day brings new challenges and facing them often requires new skills. For years, we've been focusing on building the city in Gdynia, one which doesn't exclude anyone and includes an increasing number of inhabitants. Thanks to this, we are constantly moving forward together as a community.

wojciech szczurek circular
Goran Kesic, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Melton, Australia

Council recognises the importance of lifelong learning as a key to developing green, healthy, equitable and inclusive communities, providing opportunities for meaningful employment and entrepreneurship. We are committed more than ever to education and learning, the keys to successful economic recovery and sustainable growth. 

goran kesic circular
Masao Omori, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Okayama, Japan

We recognize that lifelong learning is the key to solving the various social problems and to building a sustainable society. In Okayama city, Japan, we have promoted Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and have fostered human resources who can think and act to realize sustainable development. As a basis of our ESD activities, we have established 37 Kominkans (Community Learning Centers) where all people can learn throughout their lives.

masaoi omori circular
Hon Van Nguyen, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Sadec City, Vietnam

Lifelong learning is an inevitable need, an obvious fact without controversy in the development process of human society and human civilization. It is not only the need but also the responsibility of each citizen for the wealth and strength of each country and people.

Many lifelong learning models have been implemented in our city in recent years, such as: learning family, learning community in the villages and communes; learning unit in the offices, schools and enterprises; citizen learning.

hon van nguyen circular
Ricardo Nunes, Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of São Paulo, Brazil

The City of São Paulo, which takes pride in being one of the most diverse cities in the world, believes in the changing potential of lifelong learning to promote citizenship and well-being. In our commitment to fight racism and discrimination, we see in the education system, from elementary schools to universities, the framework to eradicate structural racism -an effort in which we are glad to count on UNESCO’s technical support on the production of research and materials to guide this transformation. 

ricard nunes circular
Mingjing Ni, Deputy Director General, Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, UNESCO Learning City of Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Since 1952, UIL has adhered to UNESCO’s vital mission to promote mutual understanding and cooperation through education, science and culture, actively coordinated and promoted the development and international cooperation of education and lifelong learning from a global perspective, and made outstanding contributions to the world’s peace, security and the guarantee of the basic right to education. Here, I express my sincere respect to UIL for 70 years of staying true to this mission!

Read the Deputy Director's full letter to UIL here.

Mingjing Ni
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, I would like to express the gratitude of the City of Clermont-Ferrand for your ability to bring together, beyond the vicissitudes of time, our learning cities and their citizens, leaders of associations, trainers, academics, professionals in the fields of education, culture, the sports sector and health, in short, all those who have made this essential principle their own: never stop learning.
Olivier Bianchi Mayor of the UNESCO Learning City of Clermont-Ferrand, France
Malak Zaalouk, former Chair of the UIL Governing Board

Lifelong learning is as old as antiquity. The lifelong learning paradigm is a revolution that seeks to remedy the injustices, inequities, and constraints of education that has dominated out societies for the longest time. It is a liberation paradigm that allows all citizens to truly practice their right to learn in all walks of life and at all times. It allows the disadvantaged, the migrants, the refugees, the workers, Indigenous populations, the aged, and many more to grow to their full potential by accessing opportunities to learn which are perfectly tailored to their life situations. I heartily hail the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning for championing this universal paradigm shift and more importantly, making it happen visibly on the ground through their learning cities, adult education, and literacy programmes.

Malak Zaalouk
Sylvia B. Ortega Salazar, former UIL Governing Board Member and former Undersecretary of Higher Secondary Education, Mexico

A Celebration of UIL´s Accomplishments over Seven Decades

As a former member of the Board, I had the privilege of understanding the substantial contributions of UIL not only in the field of educational research and policy but also in advocacy and commitment to the causes of justice, equity and human rights.

Indeed, an outstanding performance, consistent and coherent over this long and distinguished period of service makes us proud and confident that, as a community, we will continue to pursue the human right to life-long learning.

Sylvia B. Ortega Salazar
Arne Carlsen, Former UIL Director

UIL has for 70 years been an important meeting place for policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners. The Institute has helped shape new agendas in adult learning and education, and in lifelong learning as well. The close relationship between the world congress of adult education CONFINTEA and UIL, has made UIL a privileged place for implementation of the commitments of CONFINTEA, often in partnership with the International Council for Adult Education. UIL is lately contributing to the role of lifelong learning in achieving all 17 sustainable development goals in the UN 2030 agenda. UIL's role in the future will be even more crucial, now that many other international organisations embrace lifelong learning in the new focus on quality education and lifelong learning.

Arne - former director of UIL
Active curiosity is essential to life quality. Learning has changed my life because questions have remained much more important than so called definite answers. My dream for lifelong learning in the future is to remain curious.  
Paul Belanger Former UIL Director
Angie Zafra, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Strategia Development Research Institute, Inc., Philippines

Lifelong learning provides disadvantaged individuals, who may not have completed their formal education, a chance to learn new skills that would be vital for gaining decent employment that would help uplift their lives and that of their families.

I am where I am today because of the continuous desire to learn and grow. I've held corporate positions, became a chef, a teacher, author, and now working in the development sector because learning allowed me to gain new skills...

My dream for the future of lifelong learning is to make it more accessible and inclusive so that those that need it the most will be able to access learning opportunities that would help them fulfill their potential and improve their lives. No person should be left behind and that is key to unlocking growth and development on a national level.

Angie Zafra
Thérèse Zhang, Deputy Director, European University Association

In the world where we live, it is no longer possible to envisage learning as a big package that one acquires towards the beginning of her/his life (say, by 20 yo or so). Instead, learning is a journey: sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger packages acquired throughout lifetime. Our civic participation to society and our changing worlds of work also require that we see learning as an ongoing journey

A school teacher used to ask my class, at the end of the day: What have you learned today? And we would brainstorm about that for the last minutes of the day. This has tremendously shaped the way I personally see lifelong learning as a journey: how to make learning visible, self-reflective, and enhancement-oriented.

Communities of practice involving different types stakeholders involved in LLL: education and training institutions, public organisations with a role in it, lifelong learners, etc. Lifelong learning covers multiple modalities; common challenges would need to be mapped in order to be worked on.

therese zhang
Brian Findsen, Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Lifelong learning is the strand of human existence that is essential for personal growth and societal sustainability. Such learning is not restricted to institutional engagement but is part of daily living. At all levels (macro; micro) learning throughout life provides a purpose for humanity. Lifelong learning feeds into life goals for governments, organizations, and social networks. As a child growing up in a working-class environment in a medium-sized city in New Zealand, learning/education only became important when I realized that school could be fun and challenging. Early school success propelled me into achievement-oriented groups as an adolescent. Further years at University and Teacher Training sustained my interest in finding out more about the world.  Little money is invested by most governments in learning beyond compulsory education. Greater collaborative investment by governments, the private sector and civil society should create better awareness of the power of lifelong learning for all.

Brian Findsen
Suzy Halimi, Honorary President of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, France 

Lifelong learning is the guiding principle of UNESCO's major programme, Education 2030, which examines all stages of the educational continuum. This ranges from early childhood, the cradle of social cohesion, to adult education, including initial and continuing education, formal, informal and non-formal education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education and research.

Read her complete testimonial here.

suzy halimi
Maureen Tam, Department of International Education, Director of The EdUHK Elder Academy, The Education University of Hong Kong, People's Republic of China

Lifelong learning keeps pandemic boredom at bay for elders: During the Covid pandemic, many elders are kept at home due to the social distancing restrictions, which have led to isolation for this vulnerable group. To help them reconnect with each other and the community, the Elder Academy of the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has teamed up with community partners to offer online alternatives, aiming to provide continued learning opportunities for elders who are isolated within four walls inside their homes.

Maureen Tam
Padma Bandaranayake, Director, National Library of Sri Lanka

Marking the 70th anniversary of UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is a landmark in the history of UNESCO during the implementation stage of UN’s 2030 agenda in achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The UIL facilitates the 4th SDG: “Education for all” in moving toward the 2030 Agenda. Mr. Walther Merck from Germany made history being the very first Director of the UIL during 1951-1955. With the motto “Education for Sustainable Development”, UIL has rendered a yeoman service to transform lives by fulfilling everyone's right to education that resulted in improving quality of lives. I am delighted to extend my warm congratulations to the UIL on its 70th Anniversary and continued success in its future endeavors.

Padma Bandaranayake
Non-formal lifelong learning is the global form of education. It takes place during one's lifetime and in courses, conferences, visits to museums, city districts, travels and stays. It does not foresee the stress of school performance. This is why it is so strong and powerful. Being a psychologist and gerontologist, I realized that I was learning from the people I visited. Their curiosity forced me to deepen themes, to do research, to attend cultural institutions. My dream for the future of lifelong learning is that learning outside the scholastic and academic world is recognized in Italy as all over the world.
Francesco Florenzano Psychologist and gerontologist, President of the People's University of Rome and Unieda, the Italian Union of Adult Education, national spokesperson for Italy for education
group of people's hands

“Previously, I thought learning was a gateway to my most cherished job and a good life, but as I’m growing older, I’m discovering that what I really want to gain from learning is knowledge empowerment and inspiration.”

Lylian Fotabong, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Limerick, Ireland

Learning changed every stage of my life and the one that stands out the most was when the confinement began because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the schools were closed and virtual classes began, I was not prepared to use the internet, it was a new and hard experience for me, I had to learn from my teenage children who are the ones who have the most knowledge.    
Evelin Brandy Cornejo Ramirez Educator from Tupiza, Bolivia
Lifelong learning is important because it enhances individual development through the principles and sound standards it promotes. Learning has changed my life by making me courageous enough to speak up when I see that others are being treated unfairly.
Ioanna Cosma Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
Brandon Douglas Johnson, Learner from Montreal, Canada

Learning something new is like discovering a puzzle piece that makes up who you are. Whenever I learn a new language, hobby, or skill, I feel like I am discovering an aspect of myself that I never knew existed prior. Knowledge truly is power, and the more you know, the more control you have over your own destiny.

It has made me a more caring, open-minded, and humble individual. You’d be surprised how much you can learn just by having a cup of coffee with a stranger, reading a book you’ve never considered picking up, or just by listening to someone with a different worldview than your own. With this mindset, I've started treating life like an adventure. There's always something new to discover, and I try my best to savour every experience.

Brandon Johnson
Alexander MacKinnon, Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Glasgow, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Every teacher of adults has seen the change, transformation even, that adult education can foster: a renewed sense of self, a deeper appreciation of the world and what they might give it. Experience of adult learning is a profound, positive assertion of their basic human natures. It should be a core element of any society aiming to enable the flourishing of all its members.


Alexander Mackinnon
Konstantina Papalexiou, Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece

As a powerful 21st century metacognitive skill, ongoing or lifelong learning enables people to learn to learn, leading societies to economic growth, and citizens to personal and professional development, by enabling them to acquire new skills crucial to meeting the challenges of our era. It also cultivates and enhances tolerance, empathy and respect among the peoples of the globalized world.

As a staunch supporter of lifelong learning, I have never stopped learning not only formally but also from all the sources around me because lifelong learning equally occurs not only inside but also outside educational institutions.

View multimedia here.

Konstantina Papalexiou
Manal Zeineddine, Educator from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Lifelong learning is simply learning for life. Its importance lies in being the best version one can be, for oneself, one's community and our planet. It is learning to live, rather than living to learn. To live means to sail through the joys and the challenges despite all the tough tides. Our planet and humanity needs this now more than ever.

When I started to work in education, I connected my personal experiences to what I was experiencing cognitively, emotionally, socially and spiritually and was fortunate to bring all these facets into one basket. As I was teaching and directing, I was learning. As I was living, I was growing. This is pure joy and the main target of learning.

Manal Zeineddine
Lifelong learning is important because it allows us to grow in many different ways: professionally, spiritually, emotionally as human beings. Lifelong learning is vital for us. When we learn, we feel we are alive.  
Ginare Uktvere Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Kaunas, Lithuania
My dream for the future of lifelong learning is that all people have access to education through different means, devices to achieve learning, and development that allows them to face all the obstacles of life.
Verónica Cuevas Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico

“When I decided to go back and do my QQI level 4, I found the most supportive and amazing people that you could possibly ever imagine. They encouraged me to study, they encouraged me to follow what I wanted to do. Everyone there was really open and I felt like I was welcomed with open arms. I was given the time and the freedom to take care of my own education, do it in my own way, in my own time and that was definitely something that made me extremely happy and motivated me to study even further.”

Anna Jakobek, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Cork, Ireland

My dream for the future of lifelong learning is that the entire population is educated so that our country can grow.
José Antonio Menchaca Alvarado Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Lifelong learning opens new horizons and brings you in contact with young people with many interests which helps to improve your personality. I feel like I am on a continuous journey that offers me endless experiences.  
Antonis Papantoniou Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
Malin Vestin, Learner from Stockholm, Sweden

I am curious and I love to learn! And the more I learn the more I feel empowered to create the kind of life that I find meaningful.

My dream for lifelong learning is an educational system that simplifies for people everywhere to pursue education independent of their socioeconomic status, and where educational institutions and labour markets are better integrated.

Malin Vestin
Namse Udosen, Educator from Kaduna, Nigeria

Lifelong Learning is a vital part of making education more useful and sustainable. It is important to universal and interdisciplinary learning. Learning has pulled me out of the doldrums of ignorance. It has made me less judgmental and more open-minded to new ideas. Especially, learning cloaks me in a garment of empathy.

My dream for lifelong learning in the future is that it becomes an integral part of curriculum development and classroom practice. I hope it becomes integrated into all forms of educational practice, especially non-formal education.

Namse Udosen
Mónica Marcela Giraldo Molina, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Medellin, Colombia

Finishing a university degree transformed my life, that of my family. Inspiring others to strengthen their life project is the greatest satisfaction.

Mónica Marcela Giraldo Molina

“I was never good at school. I left school quite early, 15 years of age, and had no education qualifications which I got on the 27th of October of the year 2021: my bachelor of honour’s degree. This is what it was all about and I thought I was going to be a dropout but I didn’t. I got through the 4 years and I managed to get my degree and I’m so proud of that.” 

Pat Fitzsimons, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Dublin, Ireland

Lifelong learning is important because life is such a test. There are many unpredictable things and problems we need to solve. Here we meet many kinds of people and face various circumstances. We need knowledge and insight to live here, in this world.
Intan Permata Educator from Semarang, Indonesia
Learning has helped me discover my purpose in life and has opened new doors for me.
Gilberto Rojas Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico

Learning gives me satisfaction and pleasure, a willingness to try to go beyond my personal limits, and an 'open mind' to deal with the daily problems in my life.”

Educators from the UNESCO Learning City of Corinth, Greece

Education is fundamental for human beings; thanks to it we acquire knowledge that we develop throughout our lives, and it helps us to solve problems. Education opens doors and helps us to have knowledge of our history and most importantly, gives us the tools for the future.
Brenda Garcia Molina Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Golam Rabbani, Learner from Maskanda, Bangladesh

In order to survive in the age of globalization, every human being must qualify as a Global Citizen. In this context, there is no substitute for lifelong learning to adapt our lives to the impact of technology and regular technological advances in the socio-economic context of the world.

Lifelong learning helps a person to- develop a level of competent, positive thinking, increase creativity, innovate, create awareness, understand self, evaluate, and keep professional.

Golan Rabbani
Monica Osorio Simons, Educator from Guarulhos, Brazil

As an educator, having worked for more than 30 years with all ages and seeing the results of accompanying different life stories, I am convinced that lifelong learning is very important because it is a totally liberating and empowering path, allowing people to have a greater possibility of exercising active citizenship and building their own future.

Lifelong learning has allowed me to be more critical about the facts that make up my personal history and the communities in which I have lived and worked so far. It has also allowed me to have a better professional performance as an educator, in socio-environmental issues and health promotion, allowing me to help people to adopt healthier and more sustainable habits to improve the quality of life of the communities to which they belong.

Monica Osorio Simons
Chunping Huang, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Lifelong learning is the basic requirement for self. Only by continuous learning can we make continuous progress. It’s the realistic demand of the macro environment. For me, learning, inheriting and developing Han Embroidery so that the old tradition can radiate new vitality and create new value in the tide of the times, is a road of continuous learning.

Because of years of efforts, I have gained a lot and won many honors. In the future, I will further guide, devote myself to promotion of Chinese embroidery culture, open Chinese embroidery classes to communities and schools, and bring Chinese embroidery into the lives of the general public

Chunping Huang
Nuria san Servando Hernández, Learner from Arnedo La Rioja, Spain

Humanity is constantly evolving as well as the knowledge we have of all subjects. Access to information is becoming faster and faster and the volume of information is increasing. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to find quality information about the area we are interested in as well as to combat disinformation that is becoming more and more sophisticated and personalised.

Learning equips people with the tools to have a more enjoyable life, as well as enabling conscious decision making and the pursuit of an improved quality of life.

Nuria san Servando Hernández

“We will continue to ensure that all citizens of our city of any age and condition can develop their abilities, they can make the potential they have in themselves blossom.” 

Ilaria Vietina, Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Lucca, Italy

Society must always learn and know in order to improve the quality of life. Everyone should be able to have access to education to improve their lives. 
Magdalena Alanis Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, México
Learning new things and transforming my own reality will help others to improve our environment by being aware of social problems.   
Adriana Reyes Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, México

“The importance of learning throughout life is vital if we are to meet new challenges in our learning cities.” 

Colm Kelleher, former mayor of the UNESCO learning city of Cork, Ireland

Lifelong learning is associated with wellbeing and social inclusion at all ages. Learning programs aimed at youth and adults even beyond formal education can make people more equipped to navigate through the uncharted waters of evolving social, political, environmental, health and employment challenges.    
Alexandra Velle Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece

“Wherever you are from, education is important and it will really help you to become prepared when you go out of prison. It will give you skills and confidence.” 

Mike Alvir, Former prisoner, Philippines

Learning has introduced me to "new worlds". I found new interests. I improved as a person and I got more satisfaction from life. Through lifelong learning, I feel younger.
Anna Siganou Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Athens, Greece
In a rapidly changing world, we must constantly educate ourselves and open new channels of communication to be able to communicate with other members of society and to participate dynamically as active and productive members, enjoying life and avoiding social marginalization.
Κωνσταντίνος Κορδώσης Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
Omar Sequera, Learner from Madrid, Spain

In a world where the jobs of our youth don’t exist yet, the pretensions of the traditional education industry are as obsolete as its results. There’s only one form of education, and that is lifelong learning. I believe we will be able to tackle these issues if we demand higher standards of personal responsibility at every company and institution, rather than outsourcing it to external agents.

Omar Sequera - learner
Laura Trujillo, Learner from Mexico

We now have new ways to learn, to do things, even new ways to think. We have to keep improving technology with a good aim!! To teach people to be better and make a better world.

My dream is to reach more people and teach them the way of good and truth and that through these pillars, they help build a better world for themselves and their families.


laura trujillo
Abdul Sattar, Learner from Lahore, Pakistan

Lifelong learning is important for the people who want to study more or upskill but can’t due to personal reasons or lack of opportunities. Lifelong learning provides a great platform for education especially for third world countries or developing countries, and it's very important for adults who need more free options.

abdul sattar
Arina Angerman, Learner from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

I remember telling my friends I don't have to learn new things in the beginning of the 90's. Later on I had to learn how to use the internet, how to use PowerPoint and how to become an (online) entrepreneur. During COVID-19 I had to learn how to Zoom and now I know I have to remain learning new electronic skills all my life.

My dream for lifelong learning is to be able to share information and learn new social media skills till 2030 in order to support the lobby within the EU for lifelong learning and gender equality.

Arina Angerman

"As UIL is 70, we asked 70 people one question and the question is: Lifelong learning is essential because it provides..."

Learners from the UNESCO Learning City of Sysert, Russian Federation

Lifelong learning is nothing new, and societies around the world have emphasised the need for cradle-to-grave learning. Today, in the twenty-first century, we find ourselves once again among the voices calling for the importance of lifelong learning. 
Sultan Soliman Alanazi Educator from Hail, Saudi Arabia
Lifelong learning opens your mind and keeps you up-to-date on the modern views of the world. My dream for the future of lifelong learning is to be able to learn things in a more experiential way.
Rania Boumi Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece

“Learning improves our cities and our lives. Wuhan will make unremitting efforts to promote continuously the construction of the city with well-developed cultural aspects.” 

Li Wanping, Researcher of Wuhan Education Bureau, from the UNESCO learning city of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Lifelong learning is the life wide, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for not only personal but professional reasons as well. It does not only enhance social inclusion, active citizenship and individual development, but also increases competitiveness and employability.
Ayoub Elhassouni Learner from Taounate, Morocco
Akin Akinpelu, Educator from Lagos, Nigeria

Lifelong learning has provided me opportunities which I may not have been qualified for in my career. It has kept me abreast of the latest innovations and kept me relevant at my workplace. As a self intuitive individual, lifelong learning has helped enhance my view of life and daily lifestyle, shaping my thought process and improving my communication standard as well.

Akin Akinpelu
Siya Bihari, Learner from Delhi, India

One day lifelong learning will become the global priority. One day the whole world will become a learning world. When the villages of the world also become learning centres.

Siya Bihari
Yanli Sun, Learner from the UNESCO Learning City of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Learning can increase people’s self-confidence. The more knowledge we learn, the more comprehensive our knowledge of the world will be, and the more adaptable we will be; learning will improve our self-cultivation and make us deal with people more decently; learning will strengthen our willpower and make us face adversity more bravely.

Yanli Sun
Maryem HourmatAllah, Learner from Fez, Morocco

Lifelong learning is important because it provides various opportunities. Through continuous learning, one can increase critical thinking as well as share awareness, positive energy and inspiration among one's surroundings. 

My dream for lifelong learning in the future is to develop strategies in order to provide every human being with the opportunity of continuous learning. 

Maryem HourmatAllah
The ability to learn is one of the most outstanding qualities of human beings; learning throughout our lives is constant and goes beyond the formal field of education, such as learning to know, learning to do, learning to live, and learning to be... we must all keep learning new things and keep renewing ourselves..
Yuliana Rodriguez Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Lifelong learning can help you succeed at your job, it can help your brain stay healthy, it can help you stay connected, it can help you stay fulfilled, and it can help you be happier. Education can also lead to more accurate health beliefs and knowledge, and thus to better lifestyle choices, but also to better skills and greater self-advocacy.
Hafsa Ben Amara Learner from Rabat, Morocco
Lifelong learning allows for the development of skills both professionally and personally, to be part of a well-rounded, motivated and integrated citizenry.  
Yaneth Guerrero Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico

“I don't think we should stop learning. I think there are a lot of ways to find learning that involves a group just like the Happiness Lab. I am sure any kind of learning, either for fun, to pick up new skills, or just to socialise would add value in everybody’s lives.”

Catherine Francis, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Derry & Strabane, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

I think that lifelong learning is a natural process for any individual. Our learning is integrated with our daily lives; going to school, life experience, and so on are all bound with us. Learning cannot be categorized as the main source for success. For me, the learning process continues until my last moment. Each day we learn something new which can change our lives, depending on how a person reacts, treats, and handles the situation.
Ghali Lehfid Learner from Fez, Morocco
Lifelong learning allows for the development of skills that a person may need throughout his or her life. The current situation in the world calls for new ways of thinking in society.
Cecilia Patricia Guerra Rodriguez Learner from Monterrey, Mexico

“I have very supportive friends and teachers who always encourage me to continue on my way and to move forward.”

Emad, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Belfast, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Lifelong learning is very important because if we don't learn we become obsolete and we cannot advance.
María Guadalupe Rodríguez Valdés Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
In all aspects, if I have an incorrect way of doing things and someone else teaches me how to do it in a better way, I will lead a healthier life.
Guillermina Morales Rodríguez Learner from Monterrey, Mexico
Nowadays, the world is facing many challenges such as global warming and new viruses. Lifelong learning will ensure that we always have continuous development in all domains. This can help us react quickly to new challenges.
Bakre Hourmat Allah Learner from Stuttgart, Germany
Sihan Chen, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Hamburg, Germany

In today's information environment, the knowledge we have is ephemeral, but it is rapidly losing its value. Worse, we don't even know when knowledge will expire. That is why lifelong learning is needed to maintain excellence in a rapidly changing field.

Learning has transformed my perception of things, deepened my understanding, improved my behaviour, and my ability to react. In  the process, it has allowed me to improve my understanding, my ability to express myself, and my thinking skills. Learning makes people change from the inside out.

Sihan Chen
Nora Josefina de Alejandro, Educator from Montemorelos, Mexico

Lifelong learning is important because it is the basis for every personal life project.

Nora Josefina de Alejandro
King Carl Tornam Duho, Learner from Accra, Ghana

Lifelong learning is the lifeblood of sustainable development and the future we want for posterity. Knowledge increases and as far as we exist in this world of many unknowns, there is the need for persistent and continuous lifelong learning. Lifelong learning helps to position learners to continue to learn into mastery and enables innovations over time.

I would have been in the village in the farmlands in my hometown, Xavi in the Volta Region of Ghana. Yet, with persistence in learning, I have moved from one stage of my education to the other. Through learning, I was able to contribute and continue to contribute to critical policy discussions at the national, regional and global levels.

King Carl Tornam Duho
Lifelong learning is very important in order to stay tuned with life and technology evolutions as well as to get the necessary knowledge and skills for new jobs.  
ΟΥΡΑΝΙΑ ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΥ Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
Learning day by day enriches us with culture, values, and knowledge of different subjects.  
Alejandra Gonzalez Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, México
Lifelong learning is important because it is a very valuable tool to face the challenges of our times. My ideal dream is to have equal opportunities and quality education.
Gamaliel Valdez Salazar Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, México
Because of my insistence on continuing my studies, I applied for a graduate program. Because of the graduate program, I was exposed to different majors and jobs for the first time and bravely went abroad to study. Because of continuing to study, I slowly changed the way I understand the world, trained my thinking, and broadened my horizons. By continuing to study, I have created infinite possibilities in my life, always looking forward to what is to come.
Rui Mei Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Hamburg, Germany
Lifelong learning is the basis for everyday life to create, and to learn how to transform things. My dream for the future of lifelong learning is that everything that is learned can be passed onto new generations.    
Alejandro Raul Cavazos Ramirez Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Garyfalia Christopoulou, Educator from the UNESCO Learning City of Corinth, Greece

Lifelong learning is focused on personal development and makes life more interesting. It is the light that lights the dark cave of our given states and prejudice and allows us to have a point of view to the future opportunities. Becoming each one of us more knowledgeable, we can increase our self-confidence in both our personal and social lives and that causes the improvement of our society.

My dream for lifelong learning in the future is the revival of the ideal Republic of Plato, where all citizens can learn and prosper.

Garyfalia Christopoulou
Santosh Kumar Mishra, Educator from Mumbai, India

Future directions in lifelong learning should envisage the learning needs of all people in our society. Lifelong learning is key to overcoming global challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There is a need for the recognition of an extended right to education throughout life.

Santosh Kumar
Ming Dong, Learner from the UNESCO Learning City of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

I converted all my helplessness, pain and desire for life into motivation to learn, and gained a “second life”. Learning is not just about changing one’s destiny, but also about using what one has learned to serve people and society. I firmly believe that it’s never too late to learn.

Ming Dong
Learning gives one confidence to stand more on one’s own feet and helps to add value to associates connected with you - within and outside your own organisation. Systems should be designed in such a way that learning is intuitive and does not require formal structured learning.
Biju Cherian Learner from India
As a human being with the need and possibility of more and always looking for the opportunity to begin again, correct, and change, with the desire to continue discovering that - despite the passage of time and physical deterioration - there is something in me that encourages me to appreciate the maturity achieved through the experience of life and learning.   
Victoria Hernandez Educator from Saltillo, Mexico
I got married very young and became a mother. By the time I was 40 years old my children were well on their way in life, and I decided to study for a university degree. Life sometimes gets complicated. My partner and I took care of his grandchildren (3 small children who had been orphaned) and I abandoned my studies to take care of them... while I was ill with cancer... when I was finishing my cancer treatment, my second son and my three grandchildren died. With a lot of pain, I decided not to let myself be defeated by anything and I resumed my studies. When you want to, you can, you just have to set your mind to it.  
Maria Magdalena Learner from City Bell, Argentina
Lifelong learning is important because our life is nourished by learning, which leads us to new experiences.
Marcela Cabello Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Lifelong learning is vital for me because it exposes us to new and noble ideas that help improve our personal and professional lives. Also, it helps our brains to stay active and sharp, contributing to innovation and creativity.
Reinhard Nangayo Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Nairobi, Kenya
Vanessa Watson, Educator from Wonthaggi, Australia

"I work in Wonthaggi which has one of the lowest literacy rates in Victoria and although we don’t really know why, we do know it’s a generational problem. So, if people are going to escape that poverty cycle we need to be teaching literacy at both ends — to children and parents — and I want to be part of changing that."

Read the full story from Adult Learning Australia here.

blank blue for voices from around the world
Qiutang Li, Learner from the UNESCO Learning City of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Human civilization is growing day by day, and we are advancing faster and faster. Only through lifelong learning - constantly accepting new knowledge and adapting to new changes - can we stay up-to-date and attain a sufficient sense of security.

Quitang Li
Cameron Waggett, Learner from Houston, United States of America

Lifelong learning is inseparable from all areas of my life - personal, academic, professional - and is thus inherently valuable to me. The COVID-19 era has also highlighted the indispensability of lifelong learning. The consequences of this global pandemic – such as increased remote learning; new global challenges; uncertainty  – have reinforced to me the importance of my lifelong learning mindset.

Cameron Waggett
Lifelong learning is like a skill belt for successful participation in progressive activities in our communities. Learning takes place intentionally and unintentionally as one engages in various community-based activities and real-life situations. It is made to be a conveyor belt and Lifelong learning acts as a facilitator and coach for knowledge and skill transformational processes in our modern e-society. In the future, lifelong learning should be a mandatory and non-negotiable life element complemented by digitalization of societal processes, systems, and activities.
Sadrag Panduleni Shihomeka Educator from Windhoek, Namibia
Lifelong learning is important because it constantly raises new questions about the world around us. Learning has broadened my horizons into new fields of knowledge.
Maria Mexia Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
Learning is continuous and for this reason we learn mostly from our experiences and from our mistakes, as these teach us lessons to be able to improve continuously.
Nydia Gonzalez Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Sodiq Berdiqulov, Educator from Almalyk, Uzbekistan

Lifelong learning is very important because it is a voluntary and self motivated pursuit of knowledge for not only personal but professional reasons as well. It can help us adapt to changes in our social society and also helps us find meaning in our lives.

Sodiq Berdiqulov
Brian Caul, Educator from Coleraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Continuous critical reflection and action are vital for the positive progress of humanity. Better understanding and awareness of the sources of prejudice and discrimination will lead to greater appreciation of the benefits of diversity and equality for everyone. Through life, it is crucial to society and the learner that there are opportunities to develop new practical and intellectual skills.


Brian Caul
Bettina Caron, Educator from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Learning as a way of life moved me to feel that while I was teaching, I was learning from pupils. Later, I published a reading literature program - Children promoting reading - for Primary School. As a Director in a Secondary University College I made with pupils a Reading Literature Program: ILSEBOOKTUBERS. Finally, I became a researcher about reading and writing in prison’s libraries and during the COVID-19 pandemic I wrote my last book: Reading Literature in Prison (2021). And that’s the reason why I’m here with my 79 years old celebrating UIL’s 70 years of LLL!

Bettina Caron
Lifelong learning is important for the growth of our knowledge and a better education system.
Alejandro Ochoa Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
It is very important to improve yourself every day and to be a better human being. It always motivates you more when you learn new things and you grow as a person.
Cecilia Veronica Cavazos Salazar Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Shiny Christy, Educator from the United Arab Emirates

The ebb and flow of life demands constant and constructive learning. This is only possible if we subscribe to the lifelong enhancement of human experience through active learning. Each new day opens up a million possibilities.

The future of learning: Equity of open educational resources, better networking and consistency. These approaches to learning will enable a community rested in peace, justice and oneness above all.

Shiny Christy
Zengning Hu, Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Beijing, People's Republic of China

I work in the educational field and particularly teach adult learners. To be a qualified teacher, I should be a role model of a lifelong learner. Then I can make impact on my learners. Learning builds my confidence and qualifies me as an educator in a university. My job enables me to study abroad and have a broader view and experience that I would never have had access to if I had given up learning.

I can research and enhance my teaching to make myself a competent teacher and make my students empowered adult learners. I enjoy the experience of learning as my job requires me to learn continuously.

Zengning Hu
Yinhua Huang, Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

There are two sources of happiness for a people, from career and family. At the career level, we need lifelong learning, and if not, we can’t keep up with market changes. At the family level, it is a lifelong lesson to make a happy family. Because of lifelong learning, I can integrate continuously into the new era and fulfill my dream.

Yinhua Huang
Knowledge gives us many tools to be able to develop and improve ourselves constantly.
Mario Alberto Pérez Zertuche Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
I believe learning begins and ends with life which implies there is no life without learning. I think that is why the word is coined as lifelong learning. As long as we are living we ought to be learning.   
Archana Vadeyar Educator from India
Ngozi Osuchukwu, Educator from Onitsha, Nigeria

I believe in lifelong learning because it dissipates ignorance and mediocrity. When one is empowered with learning, it opens all secrets to knowledge because you will read it as you learn and act accordingly. To me, learning never ends so it should be encouraged with provision of learning resources and access to sharing. Learning from early age creates the desire to learn more until old age.

Ngozi Osuchukwu
Wu Yanfen, Educator from the UNESCO Learning City of Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Learning made me realise the true meaning of life, and what is more, understanding that education should be committed to the lifelong development of people, for the lifelong development of students. We should pay more attention to the sustainable development of students. Learning allowed me to improve as an educator so that I can teach with ease. Learning fills me up. It gives me peace of mind and focus.

Wu Yanfen
Luisa del Pilar Cruz Hefti, Educator from Switzerland

Lifelong learning is important because the world, technology, everything evolves and you have to keep up to date. It is also important to learn from each other and to bridge the gap of social inequality.

My dream for lifelong learning in the future is that all education systems in all countries integrate this approach as a mechanism for the restitution of rights and allow access to personal development, with a focus on inclusion.

Luisa del Pilar Cruz Hefti
The pursuit of knowledge in an always complex reality is continuous, complex and value-laden. How we define and apply lifelong learning is important because the structure of the learner and the structure of the society reflect each other. Depending on our definitions, different kinds of society may sprout.
Nick Nikolaou Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Corinth, Greece
As a Muslim, I am a lifelong learner: ''The search for knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim''. One cannot experience everything, and that is why one learns through the experiences of others.
Ahmed Agoujil Educator from Beni Mellal, Morocco
Fabiola Colmenero Fonseca, Educator from Guanajuato, México

Learning in my life, specifically in the culture, arts and heritage sub-system has broadened my way of looking at sustainability and impact of social transformation: what we do about strengthening communities in terms of social relevance, the needs of the global world and of each and every person seeking equity.


Fabiola Colmenero Fonseca
Angela Shapiro, Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Glasgow, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

We all need to engage in lifelong learning. The world 's population is sadly more conflicted than ever and through lifelong learning we can learn to understand each other’s cultural norms. Although we may not be able to meet in person, through the internet we can at least engage and interact. UNESCO has an important role in this by encouraging engagement despite the political differences that exist.

Angela Shapiro
Suwithida Charungkaittikul, Educator from Bangkok, Thailand

Lifelong learning is a process of gaining knowledge and learning throughout life. It is a responsibility as a human being to be a lifelong learner. Learning helps me to become a better person in all aspects, physically and spiritually.

My dream for lifelong learning in the future is to be able to massively share and promote lifelong learning concepts and practises from Asia to different people in societies worldwide.


Suwithida Charungkaittikul
Lifelong learning is important because it allows you to have a vision of a good future and to have a broad understanding of what is going on around you; every day you learn new things.
William Villalon Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Anette Mjöberg, Educator from Lund, Sweden

If you want to grow as a human, to learn more or change your whole lifestyle you have to think of lifelong learning. Your age has no importance as long as you are open to learning new things. Libraries have a huge and important role in lifelong learning when people of all ages visit us. In Sweden, we have good possibilities to study at all ages.

Anette Mjoberg
Chris Roland, Learner from Australia

My kids asked me recently why I go to school when I don’t have to. I said “When you go to school when you are older you are learning because you want to. It’s completely different to when you’re younger.” I am a very positive person and I think that the opportunity for learning is in every situation. So you can either be a victim or you can learn a lesson from what you’ve experienced and be empowered.

Read the full story Adult Learning Australia here.

blank blue for voices from around the world
Long Zhan, Educator from the UNESCO Learning City of Wuhan, People’s Republic of China

I think lifelong learning is a bridge between people and the world. Lifelong learning helps us to keep pace with the changes of the time. We can better realize our self-worth and be a person who contributes to society.

I was impressed by the performance of the blind children playing music carefully on stage ten years ago. I am determined to become an excellent music teacher for blind children and open their door to the world through music.

Iong Zhang
Lifelong learning gives you different perspectives on the experiences you have had.
Olga Arriaga Educator from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico
Lifelong learning is important because it helps people develop skills.
María Guadalupe Guerra Rodriguez Learner from Monterrey, Mexico
Lifelong learning is important so we can be better in our lives, have a better lifestyle and better education in our country.
Gerardo Alejo Lozano Garza Learner from the UNESCO learning city of Santiago, Mexico