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SIAE Awards 2001
Gojka Pajagič Bregar MA from Ljubljana

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2007

Awards to groups for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Žar Group at Most Society - University of the Third Age Ajdovščina

Proposer: Dr Dušana Findeisen


 "I called the group Žar (Fire), because all our girls and boys regularly come to practice, with great fire and responsibility, even though they have much work, being busy in various areas." (Ada Bačar, group leader)

The quality of life in old age depends greatly on maintaining a lust for life and curiosity, on the quality of social contact, and particularly on the feeling of being needed in your own environment, as well as a willingness to acquire new knowledge or to pass on your own knowledge to others. It was for this very reason that the lively Ajdovščina pensioners (mostly women) established the University of the Third Age, which has now been working for ten years. Membership has grown from the initial 65 to 280 members, 245 of whom are involved in educational and creative workshops. They publish their own magazine, they learn foreign languages, history, art history, stonecutting, embroidery and creative writing, they organise walks ... but they are especially popular in Slovenia and among their compatriots in the Trieste area for the performances staged by the Žar theatre group. Work in the group is based on independent, experiential and project/group learning. It is run by former teacher Ada Bačar, who for many years successfully ran a school puppet group, which received international recognition. She is a trained study-circle mentor, so she is a skilled leader of adult learners' groups, and she also has a natural gift for writing and performance. Other group members also have a gift for the stage, although some have to put more effort into preparing speaking appearances, as they are more musically talented. The group also revives musical traditions, and enhances each performance with singing. Every year they study a new play, which they prepare entirely by themselves except for inviting an outside associate to help produce costumes. Material for performances is chosen from Slovene cultural traditions, preferably from their local area. The group's work also includes studying sources on the life of notable people in the Vipava valley as well as preserving authentic Vipava speech (dialect). They have taken the fruits of their labour and study to surrounding areas (we attended their performance in the Cultural Centre in Prvačina) and retirement homes, and last year they were also invited to the Festival of the Third Age in Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana, something of which they are particularly proud.

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