EAEA Annual Conference: Learning to exercise democracy in a digital world

EAEA Annual Conference on digitalisation and democracy will take place virtually on 17-18 November at 10:00 – 1:00 pm CET.

Digital transformation is a reality and adults across Europe see an urgent need to adapt to new expectations. Spaces for learning and for exercising democracy have shifted to new environments. How does the rapid digital transformation affect our daily life as adult learning professionals and as citizens? Has it democratized access to knowledge, or has it left some of our learners behind?

During the EAEA Annual Conference we will have a conversation about building democracy in a digital world, and the role of adult learning in creating a human-first digital society.

Registrations will be open until 16 November. Please register early if you would like to participate in the workshops. More information on the workshops and speakers will be available soon. 

Annual Conference 2021 programme (pdf) 

Programme 17.11.2021

10:00 – 10:10 CET

Welcome words. Uwe Gartenschlaeger, President of EAEA

10:10 – 10:50 CET

Building democracy in a digital world: a conversation. Keynote presentation.

Antonio Dias de Figueiredo, emeritus professor of Information Systems at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and senior researcher of its Center for Informatics and Systems (CISUC).

Antonio Dias de Figueiredo

10:50 – 11:30 CET

Digitalisation as an opportunity to democratize knowledge and recognition of learning. Panel discussion.

Alek Tarkowski, Open Future
Aleksandra Czetwertyńska, Centrum Cyfrowe, Poland
Marion Fields, Sivis Study Centre, Finland 

11:30 – 11:45 CET

Away from the screen

11:45 – 12:00 CET

Presentation of the Context Paper on Digitalisation and Democracy – EAEA Working Group on Digitalisation.
Angeliki Giannakopoulou, Dafni Kek, Greece

12:00 – 12:30 CET

Group discussions on key issues raised in the Context Paper on Digitalisation and Democracy.

12:30 – 12:45 CET

12:45 – 13:00 CET

Reporting from the group discussions.

Closing words. Uwe Gartenschlaeger, EAEA President

Programme 18.11.2021

10:00 – 10:45 CET

Grundtvig Award Ceremony with the
participation of the winners of 2020 and 2021:

2020 Outreach and Access: Citizens’ University of Larissa

2021 Digitalisation and Democracy: the GEMMA project and the DIGIT-AL project

10:45 – 11:00 CET

Away from the screen

11:00 – 12:15 CET

Parallel workshops:

  1. Competences for active citizenship and digital transformation. Facilitated by Helder Touças, Lisbon City Council, Portugal.
  2. Is there a right to an analogue life? Spaces for learning and citizenship outside of online environments. CANCELLED
  3. Power dynamics in participation and exclusion in a virtual space. Facilitated by Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten, Germany
  4. Artificial Intelligence in adult learning: the way forward? Facilitated by Maja Maksimović, Adult Education Society and University of Belgrade, Serbia

12:15 – 12:45 CET

What is the role of adult learning in creating a human-first digital society? Fishbowl discussion facilitated by Gina Ebner, EAEA Secretary-General.

Sofie Doskarova, DG EMPL, European Commission

Sabine Lauwers, adult educator at LBC Volwassenenonderwijs, Belgium

Altheo Valentini, All Digital & EPALE, Italy

12:45 – 13:00 CET

Closing words. Uwe Gartenschlaeger, President of EAEA


The facilitators of the workshops 18 November are presented on the workshops page.

Antonio Dias de Figueiredo is an emeritus professor of Information Systems at the University of Coimbra, where his research is devoted to IT in Learning & Education, Research Methods, Science and Technology Studies, and Philosophy of Engineering and Design. 

He was Vice-President for Western Europe of the Intergovernmental Informatics Program of UNESCO and member of the NATO Special Program Panel on Advanced Educational Technology. He chaired the PROMETEUS memorandum of understanding of the European Commission and the Context & Learning SIG of the European Kaleidoscope network. He has been awarded a Honoris Causa by the Portuguese Open University and the Sigillum Magnum by the University of Bologna. He is the current chairman of the Ethics and Deontology Committee of the University of Aveiro. He was a speaker at over four hundred national and international events and authored over three hundred national and international papers.

Dr Alek Tarkowski is a digital activist, strategist and sociologist of technology. He is the co-founder and Strategy Director at the Open Future think tank. 

He also sits on the Board of Directors of Creative Commons and chairs the Oversight Board of Centrum Cyfrowe, a Polish digital think-and-do tank. He is member and co-founder of Communia, a European advocacy association supporting the digital public domain. His work focuses on strategies and public policies through which digital technologies are shaped to maximize public benefit. New Europe Challenger 2016 and Leadership Academy of Poland alumnus (class of 2017).

Angeliki Giannakopoulou holds a joint BEng and Meng degree from the Computer Engineering and Informatics Department of the University of Patras and a Certificate of Specialisation in Mental-Health and Counselling by the University of Ioannina. 

She is currently a European Project Manager and Proposal writer at DAFNI KEK and Cyclisis NGO. She has published academic articles in the Dig.Ed Journal Formamente and JRTDD while having published reviews and articles in the ELM Magazine and EPALE.

smiling woman with long hair looking at the camera

Sofie Doskarova is a policy assistant in the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. She is responsible for adult learning in the Unit dealing with the Skills Agenda. 

Prior to this, she worked in public sector in her country of origin, the Czech Republic, providing input for Eurydice education reports and later managing and overseeing the implementation of the Erasmus+ youth programme.
Sofie Doskarova has a background in public policy and human resources as well as the European social security holding a master´s degree from the Masaryk University in Brno and an advanced master´s degree from the Catholic University of Leuven.

Altheo Valentini
“As a sociologist and communicator, I deeply believe in transformative social change! Four years ago, I’ve been captured by the magic world of Hackathons and I’ve launched the first Social Hackathon Umbria, a 48-hour digital marathon for the co-creation of innovative solutions aimed at solving different societal challenges.”

“I am a member of national associations and networks in the field of innovation (General States of Innovation) and digital cultural heritage and I am part of the board of some international organizations, including: All Digital, EAQOM and the Europeana Education Community.”

“I have M.A. in “Publishing, Media and Journalism” and I have been working for more than 15 years as a project manager in the framework of various financing instruments of the European Commission, with a particular focus on digital and social innovation. To do my job in the best way, 8 years ago I founded the European Grants International Academy Srl, a training agency in the VET and Adult education sector and a consultancy company in European projects design and implementation.”

“I have worked with and for different target groups, always starting from the assumption that high-quality education and training are fundamental to the whole realization of the individual. “Education for all”, in my case, has meant in particular the realization of training courses and other formative interventions for disadvantaged groups. You can find my blogposts and news on adult education in EPALE, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe.”