In the 21st century, the rapid pace and complexity of economic, technological and cultural changes require women and men to adapt and re-adapt throughout their lives – all the more so in the context of globalisation. In this era of the knowledge society – where production structure is shifting towards greater knowledge use and away from reliance on physical capital, manufacturing and agricultural production – growth in personal, national and regional incomes is increasingly defined by the ability to create, manage, disseminate and innovate in knowledge production. The new information and communication technologies (ICTs) intensify the rate of exchange of information. They also allow users to participate actively in virtual networks that can easily be mobilised to shape public opinion. Globalisation means that individuals and families are crossing national borders in large numbers. They, as well as the receiving communities, need to learn new ways of living together amidst cultural differences. These developments not only highlight the importance of continuous learning in general; they also demand that adults keep on acquiring more information, upgrading their skills and reexamining their values. The critical role of adult education in the development of society has long been recognised. Since the First International Conference on Adult Education in 1949, UNESCO member states have dedicated themselves to ensuring that adults are able to exercise the basic right to education. Later Conferences in Montreal (1960), Tokyo (1972), Paris (1985) and Hamburg (1997) reaffirmed this right, and proposed ways of making it a reality. In 1976, the UNESCO General Conference approved the Nairobi Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education (UNESCO, 1976) which enshrined governments’ commitment to promote adult education as an integral part of the educational system within a lifelong learning perspective.