Prior to the 20th European Seminar on Extension Education in Finland, September 2011, I visited one of the founding fathers of extension education, my old professor Anne van den Ban, in Wageningen.

 

He was the one who inspired me to study human relationships in what was then called Extension Education (Voorlichtingskunde) at Wageningen University. This was back in 1974.

It turned out to be a life changing decision.

 

The professor was 83 years old when I visited him, but still very healthy and clear of mind.  Assisted by emerging film-maker Jotte den Dulk, we made a video message for the ESEE participants, many of whom still know him personally.  He speaks in his typical English and you can also see him cycling through town and rowing on the river Rhine. (Watch it here)

 

Personally, I own him a lot. Soon after I started to follow his lectures, he asked me to be a student assistant and shortly afterwards to take the notes of staff meetings in his department. In this way I became engaged in internal discussions about the profession, which were especially interesting as the professor had wisely created a team made up of quite different characters and scientific backgrounds.

 

Upon my graduation in 1981 he asked me to work for the department, in a newly initiated collaboration with the Agricultural Faculty in Bénin National University, West Africa, setting up a curriculum in Extension Education.

 

When I finalized my PhD  (“Networks as Living Tissue”) in 2001 he had already retired, but nevertheless he went through my drafts with great precision and gave me 112 helpful questions and suggestions for improvement. "Retired but not tired," as his late Philippine friend, Professor Dolly Sison, used to say.

 

Anne van