Editorial Foreword

This special issue of Rencontres Transdisciplinaires is entirely dedicated to human learning. The immediate prompt to the various contributions you will be reading were the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States. As they were televised life around the world their impact was felt almost universally. Confronted with what appeared to be the unthinkable, the events raised questions in many people.

The Learning Development Institute (LDI —, with which CIRET has had a collaborative relationship since 1999, launched, ten days after the September 11 events, an initiative inviting a select group of scholars, thinkers, writers, and artists from around the world to contribute to a collaborative reflection on the implications for human learning of these and similar events throughout the history of humankind. The current issue of Rencontres Transdisciplinaires is based on the state of that collaborative reflection as of January 2002. A large proportion of the contributors to the collaborative reflection is from among the membership of CIRET.

While naturally all authors make explicit reference to the September 11 events, it is also generally recognized that those events do not stand on their own and that, as the letter of invitation indicated, "it was not the first time that human ingenuity was used to cause harm to humanity." In addition, the need to rethink human learning has been a concern from long before September 11, 2001. Several initiatives during the nineteen-nineties, such as UNESCO’s Learning Without Frontiers (, mirror that concern. To do justice to the broad implications of the collaborative reflection, as it now appears in print, we have opted for the title "Learning in the crucible." In the interest of the natural flow of dialogue, with later contributions referring back to and reflecting on ideas advanced by others at an earlier stage, we have retained the same chronological sequencing of the various contributions as the one used on the Web site of the Learning Development Institute.

Basarab NICOLESCU, Président du CIRET
Jan VISSER, President of LDI
Paris and Eyragues, February 2002

Bulletin Interactif du Centre International de Recherches et Études Transdisciplinaires n° 16 - Février 2002

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