The North Carolina Center for Creative
Retirement, a nationally recognized thought leader in lifelong
learning and retirement planning based at the University of North
Carolina Asheville, is one of just six programs and the only U.S.
group selected to participate in the International Forum on
Promotion and Practice of Elder Education to be held in Taipei,
Taiwan on October 20-21.
“Just as the U.S. is experiencing the graying of 78 million Baby
Boomers, Taiwan is concerned with an unprecedented maturing of its
own population,” said Ron Manheimer, Ph.D., executive director of
NCCCR and a noted writer and lecturer on the issues of aging and
lifelong learning. “This conference will be an opportunity to share
our experiences in the U.S. while also learning from the Taiwanese
and other nations.”
One of Manheimer’s books, “A Map to the End of Time: Wayfarings with
Friends and Philosophers” (Norton, 1999), is translated into
Mandarin Chinese by a Taiwanese publisher and helped create a number
of personal relationships with individuals and groups there. These
relationships introduced NCCCR and Manheimer’s philosophies to
educators in Taiwan and helped prompt the invitation to participate
in the forum.
International programs presenting at the conference, which will be
attended by Taiwanese researchers, policy makers and the general
public, are from Japan, Korea, Singapore, England and the U.S.
Participants will share their own country’s approach to lifelong
learning and other issues associated with aging populations.
“We are eager to learn from successful international experiences,
such as the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, for
advancing the state of Taiwanese practice in elder education, as
well as relevant policy development and implications,” said Hui-Chuan
Wei, professor and program chairman at the Graduate Institute of
Elder Education of National Chung Cheng University in Taipei,
According to the United Nations, a country is considered an aging
society when 7 percent of its total population is aged 65 or older.
Taiwan became an aging society in 1993. The elderly segment has
continued to grow steadily since then, reaching 8.8 percent of the
population in 2001 and forecasted to jump to 19.7 percent in 2031.
The U.S. faces similar policy issues related to aging. The number of
citizens aged 65 and over is expected to double within the next 25
years. By 2030, almost 1 out of every 5 Americans — some 72 million
people — will be 65 years or older. The age group 85 and older is
now the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.
A panel of experts from the Taiwanese government’s Ministry of
Education selected NCCCR from hundreds of international retirement
education programs. The Ministry of Education is sponsoring the
forum and will cover all expenses for three representatives from
NCCCR, including Manheimer, Assistant Director Denise Snodgrass and
membership governance organization Chairman Bob Davis.
“Aging populations such as in Taiwan, the U.S. and numerous other
countries present crucial issues of public policy,” Manheimer said.
“The challenge is to find ways of helping older citizens remain
active and productive. Lifelong learning and meaningful work and
community service opportunities should be key components in any
nation’s strategy. We look forward to sharing our experience and
learning from other countries that have similar concerns.”
NCCCR is celebrating its 20th year as a not-for-profit lifelong
learning, service-leadership and research program sponsored by the
University of North Carolina Asheville. Residents throughout western
North Carolina are active members of NCCCR, which provides a wide
variety of educational and cultural activities for its members.
In addition to service to the Asheville area, NCCCR also sponsors a
program known as “Paths to Creative Retirement,” which is a
three-day workshop that attracts participants from all over the U.S.
who want to explore goals and personal values related to their
retirement years, including second careers, continued learning and
Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend (CREW) is another national
seminar series sponsored by NCCCR. Participants come to Asheville to
discuss issues related to relocation after mid-life. The newest
program by NCCCR is the Institute for the Future of Retirement,
which conducts ongoing research related to retirement issues and
For more information about NCCCR, visit