Honourable guests and dear hosts! Dear members of the European Federation of Older Persons! It is a great honour and pleasure for me, as President of EURAG, to welcome you all and to thank you very warmly for your participation in this international conference on “Lifelong Learning - the right of access to education for older persons” and your commitment to make it a memorable event with very significant results that can inspire policies and strategies in the domain of the guarantee of the fundamental right to ongoing education and learning all over the entire lifespan. This basic right, its concrete implementation and its proper use are the key prerequisites for personal development and the use of individual potentials – but also for the enjoyment of the achievements of our societies and, very importantly, active and responsible citizenship. I look forward to the great pleasure of listening to your contributions to the conference, the exchange of ideas and experiences – and then to the outcome of our debates. We shall certainly present our conclusions and recommendations to decision-makers at various levels in order to motivate and help them to create adequate conditions for the full realisation of the right of access to education, especially for older persons.
About the Forum
The Forum was initiated by the Russian Union of Pensioners and the European Federation of Older Persons (EURAG) in order to exchange Russian and international experience in the area of older age learning, develop recommendations for political authorities on how to give the elderly wider opportunities to learn, and foster humanitarian co-operation between social organizations in Europe and Russia.
The life expectancy is on the rise in Europe and Russia, and consequently the share of elderly people is increasing among the general population. In line with these changes the post-industrial society develops the concept of ‘active ageing’. In modern society elderly people are a new stratum with their specifics and requirements related to the social status and the conditions to enjoy their rights and opportunities. A lot of national governments and international organisations are striving to create favourable conditions for the elderly citizens so they can continue active life upon retirement. In a constantly changing environment this is a daily challenge, which can be met through the development of lifelong learning system for the elderly generation. The Forum will focus on this issue and other related questions. We hope to initiate a discussion on how to remove the threats of social isolation of the elderly citizens, how to transform and change the traditional paternalist approach, preserve and develop human personality during the whole life span.
In 80´s I iniciated the first U3A in Prague and triggered the lifelong learning for older persons in Czechoslovakia and I am active in this field ever since.
Pensioners are rightly an integral part of any society. For the sake of society, they have worked and lived, and societies must now meet them. Free access to Lifelong learning is one of the ways in which society demonstrates its respect for the elderly.
Only dead bodies don't need the opportunities of learning and development.
Life long learning - a constant of present and future time for all generations. I would like to illustrate our approach and measures for implementing the Active Ageing Strategy, relevant to older people, with particular reference to learning and training. I am a member of the governmental Council for Ageing and Intergenerational Cooperation on behalf of ZDUS. The Council deals with issues relevant to an ageing society and the situation of older people. Maybe my example will give you some ideas and encourage you to take actions.
I am most happy to have the possibility of this big opening represented by the exchange of views with Russian seniors and /or pensioners about active and healthy ageing.
Moscow, RF Civic Chamber,
7/1, Miusskaya square