Saliem Patel

General Secretary



Saliem Patel is the former IFWEA Education Programme Manager, a position he has held since 2016. During this time he has developed a diverse and innovative education programme with the active participation of IFWEA affiliates and global unions. He has introduced online courses to numerous trade unions and community organisations, and has been in the forefront of promoting and developing popular online pedagogies within the labour movement. His hands-on approach has made him a mentor of numerous worker educators from all regions, many of whom are the first online worker educators in their countries.

Saliem has over two decades of service in worker education. He was previously (2002 – 2015) with the Labour Research Service, a trade union research and education NGO in South Africa, affiliated to IFWEA. He served on the IFWEA executive committee between 2008-2013 as Director of the Labour Research Service.

Saliem majored in Philosophy (1993) at the University of the Western Cape and has a master’s in African Studies (1998) from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). His active participation in youth, student and community organisations during the 1980s and 1990s in South Africa shaped his outlook on learning through doing and his commitment to informal education in working class membership-based organisations.


I am standing as General Secretary of IFWEA because I am committed to building a global knowledge community in the labour movement, which strives to make continuous education accessible to all workers.

I commit to working openly and honestly with my fellow executive committee members to build a sustainable and active IFWEA which champions the voice of worker educators around the world.

I will encourage the participation of IFWEA affiliates in our education programmes, and draw on educators from our affiliates to lead education projects that promote democracy, interaction and participation on themes which seek to overcome the challenges posed by the 4th industrial revolution.
Finally, I will seek partnerships with other organisations in the labour movement who are prepared to make education accessible to workers, in order to build a diverse and innovative global knowledge community “of workers, by workers and for workers”.