It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragic and untimely death of Raúl Leis. So many active years should have still lain before him, years that he would have lived to their fullest with so much energy, so much creativity, so much humour, and so much vision.
At the German Association for Adult Education we came to know Raúl from the very beginnings of the Latin American Council for Adult Education, CEAAL, whose work we have always supported. We value the tremendous contributions he made toward furthering the work of the Red de Comunicación Popular which he promoted with such enthusiasm alongside Mario Kaplún. And we hold him in high esteem for the role he played during the difficult times of dictatorship and oppression in the founding of one of the main pillars of the civic engagement movements in Latin America, the Centro de Acción Social Panameño. With Raúl’s support, CEASPA has gone on to become a mainstay in the network of Latin American popular education. He made invaluable contributions toward building the Alforja network together with other prestigious organizations such as IMDEC in Mexico with Carlos Nuñez, SERJUS in Guatemala with Manolo García, and CEP in Costa Rica with Oscar Jara.
When Raúl offered his services as Secretary General of CEAAL in 2004, and when he was re-elected to the post by the VII General Assembly in Cochabamba in 2008, we felt reassured knowing that the largest network of Popular Education in Latin America would be in the capable hands of a person with such a vast range of experience in management and leadership, a man of knowledge, wisdom, and commitment. Our confidence was not misplaced.
But besides being a man of education who was versed in the art of administration, communication, and policy-making, besides his strong sense of commitment and solidarity with the people of rural and urban Latin America who are oppressed, excluded, and marginalized, Raúl, as we came to know and appreciate him, was a man of letters with a passion for history, literature, theatre, and poetry. He has left us a remarkable legacy.
CEAAL has lost a great leader. On the other side of the ocean, and in another world, we have lost a loyal and reliable partner, a valuable advisor in the field of international cooperation, and an unforgettable friend.
Director DVV International
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