Biennale Committee 2022

Dr. Ruud Duvekot

Ass. Professor ‘Leren Waarderen’, UNESCO Research Fellow

Dr. Ruud Duvekot (1960) studied Economic and Social History in the Netherlands. His track record shows a continuous focus on research, implementation and capacitation of policy and practices in ‘the wide world of lifelong learning, especially concerning the validation of prior learning’. His thesis (2016) [in Dutch] was on: Valuing Learning. A qualitative research into the concepts of personalised learning and of Validation of Prior Learning.

At present he holds various functions:

  • UNESCO Research Fellow (since 2010) for research on Recognition, Validation and Accreditation (RVA) of non-formal and informal learning.
  • Associate Professor, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands ( Topics: assessment, personalised learning and curriculum-innovation.
  • Managing-director, Centre for Lifelong Learning Services ( The mission is strengthening all forms of bottom-up steered learning by & for the learner.
  • Chair (since 2002), Foundation European Centre for Valuation of Prior Learning ( Tasks: management and research of European projects on lifelong learning (ERASMUS+, a.o.).

Ernesto Villalba-Garcia

European Center for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Cedefop)

Ernesto Villalba (@ernvillalba) works at the European Center for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Cedefop) since 2011. He is responsible for the area of validation of non-formal and informal learning, where he coordinates studies and projects and works together with the Commission in the updates of the European Inventory and the European Guidelines. He holds a Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education from Stockholm University and is in the editorial board of the European Journal of Education.

Antra Carlsen

Nordic network for Adult Learning

Antra Carlsen is the head-coordinator of the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL), established by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) in 2005. The network unites all the Nordic countries and works according to the strategy of the NCM on e.g. adult educators’ competence development, validation of prior learning (VPL), guidance counselling, education for sustainable development. NVL is responsible for creating and coordinating Nordic networks with the goal to gather evidence about as well as compare the situation in different fields of adult education in the Nordic region. The results from NVL work support the development of policy and practice of adult learning.

1995 – 2005 Antra has been a project leader for Nordic – Baltic co-operation under the NCM. Antra Carlsen has a degree in English Philology from the University of Latvia.

Anni Karttunen


Anni Karttunen has worked with adult learning for over 20 years. Previously she was the head of unit of EUedu – Centre for European Educational Policy and worked for the Finnish National Agency for Education as a Programme Manager for Adult Education. Anni was one of the founding members of the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL). She is still active in the network as an external expert in validation of non-formal and informal learning.
Currently Anni is an entrepreneur specializing in developing Adult Learning policies, consulting, training and writing on issues relevant to Adult Learning.
In the 4th VPL Biennale, Anni will launch the Nordic Quality Compass and present the tools and their use.

Fjóla María Lárusdóttir

Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) in Iceland

Fjóla María Lárusdóttir works with R&D at the Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) in Iceland. The main focus of her work is development of the national strategy for VPL and related pathways as well as career guidance and support for people on the labour market with low-qualified background. Fjóla has coordinated and participated in various European/international projects and research on VPL and guidance in cooperation with stakeholders and is a member of the NVL network for validation. In addition to practice- based learning in the field through the years, she has a degree in Career counselling from California State University in Long Beach. 

Haukur Harðarson

Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) in Iceland

Haukur Harðarson works as a specialist and project manager at the Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) in Iceland. Haukur has been involved in validation practices and development of the national strategy for VPL for the past 15 years. Now with a specific focus on validation in working life in cooperation with employer organisations and trade unions.

Haukur has been involved in analyses of competence needs within the labour market and linking to the National Qualification Framework (ISQF). He is a member of the NVL network for validation.

Aline Juerges

Aline Juerges

European Commission

Aline Jürges has been working at the European Commission since 2001. She is currently working as Policy Officer in the ”Skills Agenda” Unit within DG Employment, which is devoted to co-ordinating the European Skills Agenda, working across the Commission to make sure its 12 flagship actions deliver on the ground. Aline has been focusing in the past years on policies to empower individuals to learn, notably on career guidance and more recently on validation. Her work on validation is closely linked to the Unit’s work of making people’s skills and qualifications more easily understood across borders, notably through the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). 

Marie Macauley

Marie Macauley

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Marie Macauley is Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning where she leads a number of different projects, including the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, the programme on the recognition, validation and accreditation of prior learning of migrants and refugees around the world, and an international project on education in prison. Before UIL, Marie was a manager at the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) where she contributed towards the development of policy in K-12 and adult education in Canada and internationally.

Raul Valdes Cotera

Raul Valdes Cotera

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Raúl Valdés-Cotera is Team Leader at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and manager of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. For more than fifteen years, he has been working in international organisations in the field of public policies, lifelong learning and adult education. He has led various research and advocacy projects such as the Regional Report of Adult Education in Latin America (2007), the Conceptual Evolution and Policy Developments in Lifelong Learning (2011), the Glossary for Adult Education (2013), Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities (2015 & 2017) and the Handbook for Lifelong Learning (2020). Before joining UIL in 2008, he was Deputy Director of the Center for Regional Cooperation for Adult Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CREFAL). Previously to that, he worked as assistant professor in the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. Raúl holds a doctorate in Education from the Ibero-American University.

Anna Kahlson

Senior Advisor at the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan – MYH)

Anna has extensive experience working with lifelong learning, VET, adult education, and validation of prior learning. At MYH her main area of responsibility is the National Qualifications Framework and the Swedish National Coordination point for the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Anna heads several projects at MYH, the most resent one being a 3-year pilot developing a validation pathway within Higher Vocational Education (YH-flex) as well as the NOVA-Nordic Erasmus+ project looking at links between VPL, National Qualifications Frameworks and non-formal learning/qualifications.

During part of 2017 and 2018 she served as a committee secretary for the Swedish National Delegation for Validation. From 2012–2016 Anna was employed as a qualifications expert at the European Training Foundation (ETF). Prior to that she worked as a national coordinator for VPL at MYH. She also has experience of working with VPL at municipal level, mainly working with validation for refugees.

Hildur Betty Kristjánsdóttir

Managing director of The Education and Training service centre (ETSC) and adjunct in The University of Iceland and a doctoral student.

The aim of her research is to examine the benefits of recognition of prior learning for individuals in life, work, and study.

For the last 15 years Betty has been working in the field of adult education as a manager, career counsellor and a specialist and her main focus has been on VPL developments