A century on from Hamburg visionary Albert Ballin’s death, what connects him to UIL?

9 November 2018

The death of Albert Ballin on this day in 1918 marked the end of the life and career of one of history’s greatest shipping magnates. The Hamburg native is regarded as the inventor of modern cruise shipping, but what ties him to the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is his former residence on Feldbrunnenstrasse, which is now home to UIL.

Built at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Villa Albert Ballin, which is owned by the City of Hamburg, has been the headquarters of the Institute since 1978. His former home now houses UIL staff from all world regions, who work together to support lifelong learning. The Institute’s activities place particular emphasis on promoting inclusion and equity in and through education, two dimensions which are the core of the transformative agenda reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 4 on lifelong learning.

UIL’s Director David Atchoarena said: ‘It seems appropriate that UIL is hosted in the villa of Albert Ballin, who is remembered both as an internationalist and a defender of peace. He was ahead of his time in many respects and left a rich legacy to the history and identity of UIL’s host city of Hamburg, a city open to the world. We recognize in his legacy some of the values promoted by UNESCO, starting with building peace, our fundamental mandate, and promoting international dialogue and understanding.’

Ballin’s villa saw many notable visitors during his lifetime and has since been visited by leading figures in educational reform, including Maria Montessori and Paulo Freire. More recently, Ballin’s great-grandson, Heinz Hueber, visited UIL in June 2018. During his tour of the building, he stated: ‘UNESCO promotes lifelong learning here now in this house. This is something that would wonderfully fit Albert Ballin, as a visionary for globalization.’

To find out more about Albert Ballin, visit: http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2011/109/pdf/HamburgUP_MfW6_Ballin_EN.pdf.

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