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The 43rd EUCEN European Conference takes up two major aspects of University Lifelong Learning (ULLL): its diversity (the "lifewide" dimension) and its potential for providing learning opportunities throughout one’s life (the "lifelong" dimension).


ULLL in all its diversity...
Universities all over Europe are at present intensively developing institutional strategies for Lifelong Learning, thus progressing to a Lifelong Learning University. All the individual strategic development processes and the results of European strategic projects supporting universities show clearly that there is no single definition or approach to University Lifelong Learning and that the concept covers a wide range of activities. Best and good practices also demonstrate that this diversity is positive because it allows institutions to find their own answer, at institutional and regional level embedded in an international university environment, to positioning themselves when it comes to ULLL. EUCEN developed a wide definition for ULLL which is more an encouragement for an institution’s development than a definition in the traditional sense:


"ULLL is the provision by higher education institutions of learning opportunities, services and research for: the personal and professional development of a wide range of individuals – lifelong and lifewide; and the social, cultural and economic development of communities and the region. It is at university level and research-based; it focuses primarily on the needs of the learners; and it is often developed and/or provided in collaboration with stakeholders and external actors." (EUCEN BeFlex Project)


 With this 43rd EUCEN European Conference we would like to offer an open and stimulating forum for practitioners, policy makers and researchers. We will explore this wide spectrum of contributions University Lifelong Learning is making to societal development. We will look at the contribution ULLL is making to stimulate and accompany innovative processes in regional business and industry, in NGOs, and in the public sector. We will also look at the contribution ULLL is making to Civil Society in a more general sense, providing learning opportunities for individuals and groups for active citizenship and community development, aiming at a democratic development in our societies. Developing ULLL successfully means that more and more "new faces" are knocking at the doors of Higher Education – learners who were usually not considering Higher Education but pursuing other educational and professional paths. As institutions we need to look at how welcoming we really are – marketing is not enough. What do we do with these "new learners"? How can we support them efficiently and effectively?



Universities as "learning spaces" throughout one’s life...
2012 is the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity promoted by the European Commission and other stakeholders; it is intended to raise awareness, identify and disseminate good practice and to encourage policymakers and stakeholders at all levels to promote active ageing. Within the framework of this conference, we would like to look more closely into this topic by exploring the role of ULLL in individual wellbeing, civic engagement and second careers in later life. Here Higher Education Institutions need to act in a responsible way to include all groups of society and encourage older people to take an active part in society in all areas. However, it is our sincere opinion that the future challenge is "mainstreaming ageing" – learning in later life is not only referring to learning after retirement, but also to people still in employment who want to actively shape their career at a later stage. As ULLL institutions we need to develop new learning opportunities for this group. This is not only to support those wishing to pursue individual career paths, but it is a necessity in view of the decreasing labour force within the next decades in almost all our European countries.

Within the broad theme of "Universities’ Engagement in and with Society. The ULLL contribution", the conference will address the following topics:



 The objectives of the conference are to:

  • provide participants from practice, policy development and research with the opportunity to explore the whole range of diversity in University Lifelong Learning;
  • share research results and best practice;
  • prepare and discuss recommendations on policy, research and practice for universities and other Higher Education Institutions in Europe, ULLL stakeholders including the European Commission as well as other organisations at national, European and international level.


Zentrum für Weiterbildung der Universität Graz Dr. Andrea Waxenegger Telefon:+43 (0)316 380 - 1101


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