Professor Chris Duke
- Visiting Professor (School of Education)
Chris Duke is an Anglo-Australian, born in London, who studied at Cambridge University (BA hons, MA, CertEd) and King’s College London (PhD) as a historian and sociologist. He qualified in Education, History and Sociology, he has since in Britain, Australia and New Zealand bee a n Professor of Adult and Continuing Education, later in Lifelong Learning, and University President of UWS Nepean: in turn at Woolwich Polytechnic now the University of Greenwich 1961-66; the University of Leeds 1966-69; the Australian National University 1969-85; the University of Warwick 1985-96; University of Western Sydney 1996-2000; University of Auckland 2000-2002; RMIT University Melbourne 2002-2007. His main experience is in Asia and Europe, with shorter periods in other world regions. He was Director HE for the UK national adult education organisation NIACE. He is an Honorary Life Member of ASPBAE and ICAE. His final salaried position was Director and Professor of Lifelong Learning and Community and Regional Partnership RMIT. He is currently Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow and RMIT University, and he is active in civil society organisations and periodic consultancy.
With eight grandchildren in Australia and one in Thailand he divides his time between these countries, with homes in France and England. Comparing life, culture and values in different countries is good lifelong learning. French village life teaches much about indigenous knowledge and wisdom. Each country shows how differently and fast things change, and how difficult governments find it to keep up. He grew up in rural England among farm and gypsy communities, with German prisoners-of-war as adult friends, so learned multiculturalism early. He has also been a keen and traditional gardener from childhood. At the University of Leeds he worked with South Asian and Caribbean immigrants of the ‘Windrush generation’ in action research, applied social science doing as well as studying applied social science, and published with the Institute for Race Relations.
He has always worked for civil society-based democracy in local and global non-governmental organisations (NGOs or CSOs), and has held honorary leadership positions in UK and Australian as well as regional and international non-governmental or civil society organisations including ICAE (1978-85) and ASPBAE (1972-85).
He is currently Secretary-General of the global network PIMA (PASCAL International Member Association) and edits its Bulletin, which has recently been exploring experiences of indigenous communities and learning. This encourages new thinking about education, development and social progress. He is concerned for social justice and equity; about how democracy is evolving in this new century; and by the good and bad ways that new media can contribute.
He as worked from the early 1970s in a consultative capacity for intergovernmental agencies, especially UNESCO and UIL, the OECD, and the European Commission, and for universities and national governments in many countries. His main interests have been in the role of adult, non-formal and higher/tertiary education in development, local, regional and national, including access opportunities, civil society empowerment, and local community action. He played lead roles in projects over several years on universities and regional engagement for OECD and PASCAL, of which I was founding CEO and Secretary-General from 2002.
He is deeply committed to international collaboration, inter-community understanding, participatory and democratic action research, equity, social justice and civil society. He wishes to see good local and global government that supports social eco-sustainability; and really useful university systems that engage with the needs and problems of communities, societies and countries. He writes and advises often on lifelong learning and on these related matters.